Saturday, 29 July 2017


" NEW wire rope barriers on the Goulburn Valley Highway are already saving lives ..."

This is the latest propaganda from the tax-funded spin doctors at VicRoads. It come via Roads Minister Donnellan in Melbourne's Herald Sun this time. Please note, the lack of advice from anyone who might offered a balancing comment.

The key word in this article is "may".

I know from Parliamentary Inquiries and from personal experience at the Victorian Coroner's Court that crash site investigations in this State do not always yield reliable crash data. In this case the Minister parrots opinion, he does not present facts. I thought Donnellan MP was better than this.

The data from these seven WRB strikes almost certainly does not come from forensic investigations of crash sites by specially trained officers. Most likely bent WRB post are spotted by VicRoads' staff who drive the road every few days to check the new barrier. No training. No method.

If just one of these seven vehicle strikes on this part of the Goulburn Valley Highway was a tired driver who drifted into the fence in the small hours of the morning, bent ten or fifteen posts and kept driving then there was no threat to anyone in one in seven of these crashes.

And reduced speed limits may mean there were fewer, less-severe strikes than will occur when normal highway speed return ... if they ever do.

If speed limits do return to normal how will this WRB perform? Legitimate question. There's no test results available for reliable, independent experts to study. 

The old WRB test videos I have seen show the WRB stretch when hit by a car.  It allows cars that are caught just right, that do not cross the WRB to move to the other side of the WRB post line then get slung back into same direction traffic. Cars that cross the post line face oncoming traffic. And they do cross WRB post lines too often. This fact this is rarely identified in police crash reports. The data is "cleansed" by a team at Vicroads. 

Cleansed is a quote from the 2012 Parliamentary Inquiry transcripts. That Inquiry recommended that a road crash data authority be set up independent of VicRoads and VicPol. That is unlikely to happen, regardless of public safety, because the Victorian Government's response to Parliamentary Inquiries into road safety matters is mostly written by VicRoads/VicPol/TAC.

IF a dividing barrier is required, and I'm not convinced it is, then a smooth concrete barrier is more effective at stopping head-on crashes. It lasts a lot longer and requires far less costly maintenance and repairs. All round a much better deal for tax payers and road users. 

The bonus for us is that smooth concrete barriers are safer for motorcycle & scooter riders. BUT, the culture at VicRoads is to discourage motorcycling. Making roads safer for us is less likely if there's no positive spin to be gained from it for VicRoads.

Damien Codognotto OAM
Independent Riders Group 

Sunday, 23 July 2017


Hi Damien
This is Colleen - Hirsty's wife
I am writing to you because I know that you had special connection with my husband Greg.  
I apologise if this feels intrusive - but I am hoping you might be able to support Greg's last project.... (so it will be the very last time Greg ever asks you for a favour 😊). 

Greg had just started filming series 6 of Temporary Australians. And I am really determined to get this to air. I want to honour my husband and finish the show well. The final episode will be his farewell service/tribute.

But - as you are probably aware - Greg made no money from this show. It was all funded through sponsors. I don't know anything about organising sponsors - but one of our daughters has set up a GOFUNDME page so we can try and raise the money to put the last series together. It will only be 4 episodes - but there's still a lot of work to be done.

I would be very grateful if you could consider even a small contribution, even just a few dollars would be great! Or, if you were able to pass on the info about the GOFUNDME page that would be wonderfully appreciated

Or just go to the Temporary Australians Facebook page
                      Colleen Hirst 

Sunday, 16 July 2017


TASSIE PROPOSES TOUGH NEW LAWS making some driver/rider behaviour criminal offences with tough penalties. OK. But did they include using a hand-held mobile phone while driving?

The Hobart Mercury.


If you are travelling and you want to ride a motorcycle or scooter, make sure you travel/medical insurance covers motorbikes and makes sure you wear the proper gear. Shorts and thongs while riding do nothing for you at the equator or the poles.


Wednesday, 12 July 2017


1976. GEOFF "THE DOCTOR" BOBBINS. Elizabeth Street, Melbourne.

Not the Federation of Australian Motorcyclists (FAM) protest rally promoted on the bike shop window. I those days there were lots of smaller bike businesses who supported the riders who were the reason the businesses existed.

The shops behind Geoff are gone. Now it's Melbourne Central. That's my Honda 4.

Geoff is no longer with us but he is well remembered. Vale Geoff.

These shots were taken when the Elizabeth Street  motorcycle strip was the heart and soul of Australian motorcycling. The gatherings of riders on Friday nights and Saturday mornings were world famous.

The first motorcycle shop was opened by the Milledge Brothers in 1903. In 2003 the Centenary Celebrations were held.


Monday, 10 July 2017


The prototype signs presented to VicRoads in the late 1980s.

In 2009 I was carer for my parents and so somewhat out of touch with motorcycle & scooter politics. The government of the day quietly footpath parking laws for motorbikes in Victoria. Rider reps at that time did not do much. Perhaps they did not see the longer term effects of the parking law change. The change was subtle. The wording remained the same or similar but the game changed.

Put simply, in 1988 riders were allowed free footpath parking, with no time limit, as long as they did not block or hinder pedestrians. This was in after an 8000 bike MRA protest/park-in in 1986.

The system worked very well for around 20 years with few complaints. Few complaints about motorbikes on footpaths were in writing. Most were verbal from the big end of town. Every few years a corporate type or a developer would try to get motorcycles & scooters off Victorian footpaths. Each time rider reps successfully opposed these moves.

The 2009 law/policy change effectively took motorcycle & scooter footpath parking control away from state government and put it in the hands of local councils. This change did not happen overnight but I believe the change was calculated.

The signs, pictured above, were designed and made by the MRA in the 1980s. The artist Robin Redman. Lost track of her. 

Anyway, from memory, in those days VicRoads (or the nearest equivalent), jealously guarded its’ right to approve all road signage. BUT, there were few motorcycle specific signs. Road surfaces, paint, tram tracks and road grooving, among other things, were considered hazards by riders. The MRA designed and produced 4 prototype signs. Two were left with VicRoads, two hang in my garage.

VicRoads had a fit. No one was allowed to design their own road signs, especially not bikies! it could be seen as legitimising motorcycling.

VicRoads admitted its' anti-motorcycle policy at the 1992 Parliamentary Inquiry into motorcycle safety. It claims to have scrapped the policy but in 2017 there is little evidence of that.

The grooving sign went nowhere but VicRoads produced a slippery-for-riders sign similar to the Redman design some time later. They never acknowledged the origin of “their” design.

What I put up on Facebook about the change in parking laws was, in hindsight, inadequate and possibly misleading but the effect of the law policy change happened. If a person did not know the background from the days of the Motorcycle Safety Forum in Victoria in the 1980s they may have been confused by the change claim when the Ministers letter claims the footpath parking rule just moved from one raft of legislation to another. There was more to it than that.

When the motorcycle footpath parking law was changed (read moved) in 2009 the VicRoads policy to strictly control signage councils could use was further relaxed.

The St Kilda footpath parking bans are an example of that law/policy change. Unfortunately, it's an example other Victorian counciuls may follow. It's also an example of what happens when riders do not have strong rider reps, as bicyclists do. It's an example of things to come in the nanny state.

Riders can't complain about the anti-motorcycle lobby doing long term damage to motorcycling when rider apathy is rife and when our reps proclaim their non-confrontationist policies as if that's something to be proud of.


Saturday, 8 July 2017

Thursday, 6 July 2017


HEATHER ELLIS will be in Hobart from October 27 to October 29 to promote her motorcycle adventure book UBUNTU.