MOTORCYCLE SAFETY IN NSW
NOVEMBER 2015 vii
It is irrefutable that motorcyclists continue to be over-represented in NSW road trauma. The persistently high number of rider fatalities is a particular concern. Nevertheless, when taking into account the rate of increasing popularity of riding in NSW, the risk of motorcycling in NSW has decreased. This mixed message requires a refined, multifaceted and holistic policy approach, not only to further improve the overall safety of motorcycling in NSW, but also to reduce the number of rider fatalities in the State.
This report, the first Staysafe report tabled in the 56th Parliament, seeks to shape that policy response. To that end, the Committee has made a number of recommendations across four streams of policy responses: safer road measures; safer people measures; safer vehicle, equipment and gear measures; and licensing and training.
One of the key areas, which the Committee examined, is the hazard reporting system. Staysafe emphasised that there is scope for innovation and greater use of technology in improving the hazard reporting system. Integral to that is not just a closer cooperation, but a true partnership between the State road authorities and Local Councils in delivering road safety systems of the 21st century, which the people of NSW demand and deserve.
The Committee noted that overall, high risk rider behaviour appears to have decreased. The combination of enforcement, education and consultation seems to have played a vital role in this context. In particular, the fruitful partnership with the motorcycling community, which Transport for NSW has established, has become a vehicle for making a positive difference to riders’ safety in the State. This is a good achievement and Transport for NSW can be rightfully proud.
Nevertheless, the Committee made it clear that there is no room for complacency. Addressing persistent crash risks such as speeding, alcohol and drug use and fatigue are just some of the areas that require continued effort. Moreover, Staysafe investigated whether a more holistic approach is required to address interaction between the different road users and improve road safety, not just for riders but also for drivers. To that end, Staysafe has made a number of recommendations to enhance driver skills, behaviour and awareness.
Another area of focus of the inquiry was protective clothing and gear for motorcyclists. While recognising that a significant amount of work has been completed to educate riders about protective clothing, Staysafe urges Transport for NSW and others involved to expedite and complete the development of a star rating system for protective clothing for motorcyclists. In this context, the Committee also recommended that the State Insurance Regulatory Authority works with the insurance industry to examine insurance price signals, which could incentivise the usage of protective clothing by motorcyclists and scooter rides.
The Committee did not recommend mandatory use of high-visibility clothing and acknowledged that this is a complex area and that conspicuity is also about rider positioning on the road. However, Staysafe considers that the effectiveness of mandatory high-visibility clothing in Victoria and France needs to be monitored and evaluated.
In relation to motor vehicle design and systems as ways of improving rider safety, the Committee stressed that – given rapid technological advancements – it is vital to monitor and continuously assess the usefulness and potential implementation of Intelligent Transport Systems as methods for improving road safety in NSW – not only for motorcyclists but for all road users in our State.
Lastly, Staysafe made a number of recommendations to renew and elevate efforts in reviewing the NSW Graduating Licensing Scheme and related matters to reflect best practice and recent developments in other jurisdictions. A particular emphasis in this context is the need to address the issue of unlicensed riding, possibly via an amnesty, in order to bring unlicensed riders into the licensing system. Furthermore, the Committee called for a multi-faceted
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