Motorcycles are a great, affordable alternative to cars for many Australians, not to mention easier to find parks for.
Yet the safety issues faced by motorcycle riders are numerous and in the case of a collision with another vehicle, they and their passengers are more likely to suffer injury simply because they are less protected.
This fact is played out in the statistics: despite making up just four per cent of registered motor vehicles, motorcyclists account for 15 per cent of the road toll.
The NSW government aims to reduce that figure and has released a new Motorcycle Safety Strategy to help reduce death and injury as a result of motorbike accidents.
The strategy, part of a larger ten year road safety plan for the state, aims to improve the awareness and risk management of both motorcyclists and other road users, as well as develop other initiatives over the next decade to find safety improvements.
That includes reviewing the safety of popular motorcycle routes, with audits already completed on a number of roads and highways.
As part of these audits, the government has identified where improvements could be made to the Oxley Highway, Bruxner Highway, Summerland Way and Thunderbolts Way.
Centre for Road Safety general manager Marg Prendergast says that the motorcycle riding community will join with a group of industry, state and national bodies to implement the new strategy.
“Targeted communication will be developed to highlight that motorcyclists need to be risk managers and that motorists need to check twice for bikes,” said Ms Prendergast in a March 27 statement.
Motorcyclists in Sydney’s CBD are already part of a trial to measure the safety of a strategy to improve traffic congestion on the city’s streets.
Since March 1, riders have been permitted to lane filter in the north of the CBD, that is, ride past stationary vehicles at intersections.
Lane filtering is against the law in NSW, but until April 30, motorcyclists will be able to use the technique as part of a trial to see if traffic flows improve without sacrificing safety.
“It’s the first such trial ever conducted in Australia,” said Ms Prendergast.
“If this works for all road users, and doesn’t compromise safety it will be a good outcome for the motorcycling community who want to move through the city more efficiently.”