Tag Archives: road safety

Video: dangerous police rider pursuit

Video of a dangerous UK police pursuit of three unregistered trail bikes through city streets has again put police pursuits under question.

The officer pursued the three riders who rode at almost triple the speed limit, on footpaths, through red lights and the wrong way down streets because the bikes were not registered and therefore not insured.

Seems like a flippant reason to endanger the life of the rider, other road users and pedestrians.

It follows three rider deaths in the past year in Australia after high-speed pursuits were started, but then called off.

In the UK pursuit, West Midlands Police caught only one of three riders, Owen Guest, 20, by using a stinger to deflate his Kawasaki’s tyres.

He was charged with dangerous driving and driving without a licence or insurance.

He was given 14 months in a young offenders institute, suspended for a year, and ordered to abide by a curfew and do 80 hours of unpaid community work. He was was also given a two-year driving ban and his bike was crushed.

The video does not show at what speed the riders were illegally riding their bike before the pursuit started, but it seems they went wild once they were pursued.

Dangerous pursuits

A leading police study has found the three most pressing issues for police reform around the world are use of force, policing of violence in families and high-speed pursuits.

A 2009 Australian Institute of Criminology study found deaths in custody at police stations are declining but “deaths in custody” as a result of high-speed pursuits were rising.

While less than 1% of police pursuits results in a fatal crash, 38% of the people killed are innocent bystanders.

It’s much worse in the USA where one person dies every day as a result of a police pursuit. Of those deaths, 1% are police, 55% suspects and 44% bystanders.

Most police procedures acknowledge the judgement of the officer at the scene to begin a pursuit.

However, continuation of a dangerous pursuit is then deferred to a senior officer at the station or headquarters.

They have to make a quick judgement based on how dangerous the pursuit is to the community versus the lethal risk to the community of letting a serious offender escape.

This must be backed by information, not just mere suspicion.

Queensland police figures show only about 3% of pursuits involved imminent threat to life or a suspect escaping after a homicide.

Police have a duty to not only prevent and control crime, but more importantly, they have a duty to protect the community and that includes from their own reckless behaviour and judgement.

Click her to read about a police and media pursuit that encouraged a motorcycle rider to perform stunts for the cameras.

Police pursuit pursuitsTV chopper captures pursued rider performing stunts

Restrictive practices

Despite criticism from police unions, most pursuit policies around the world, including the USA, are becoming more restrictive.

In many jurisdictions, pursuits are only allowed if there is a serious risk to public safety or in relation to a major crime involving death or injury.

However, there is an issue about making these pursuit policies public. Some say they should be public to show transparency while others believe it would give criminals clues on how to evade police.

Those who support pursuits point out that the number of people evading police is rising as a result of more restrictive pursuit policies, despite higher penalties for evading police.

Making the issue more complex is the degree of the pursuit.

Should there be an upper speed limit for police? Should police be allowed to break other road rules in the pursuit?

There have been incidences of police driving at more than 200km/h in a pursuit and on the road side of a major highway.

Another issue is whether police should be criminally culpable in the instance of a death resulting from a pursuit.

To a degree, technologies such as CTV, helicopters and number plate recognition cameras, negate the need for pursuits, anyway.

* What do you think about police pursuits? Leave your comments below.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Minimum rider age limit increased

The minimum rider age for South Australians will be raised by two years with some concessions, but they have dodged a plan for mandatory hi-vis vests as in Victoria.

Around the nation it is getting tougher and tougher for young people to get motorcycle licences with Queensland even requiring them to first hold a car licence for a year.

The Australian trend to make it more difficult for younger riders runs contrary to Europe.

In Germany, the minimum rider age has recently been lowered from 16 to 15 while the moped and restricted motorcycle licence (up to 125cc) minimum age in Latvia and Estonia is 14; 15 in France, Czech Republic, Spain; and 16 in Portugal, Romania.

These countries believe that getting teenagers on to motorcycles teaches them a sense of vulnerability and roadcraft before they are let loose on larger bikes or cars.

SA Police Minister Corey Wingard said they would introduce the new bill on graduated motorcycle licensing in the next few months.

Minimum age

The Minister said that last year there were 17 fatal motorcycle crashes in SA with 11 aged under 31 while the youngest was 16.

How does increasing the minimum age have anything to do with those figures, except for maybe that one fatality?

He also says that between 2014-18 young motorcycle riders were over-represented in serious crash data with 10% involving riders aged 15-19, 11% involving riders aged 20-24 and 10% riders 25-29.

So those over 29 represented 69% of serious crashes!

In fact, national statistics from 1995 to 2019 show a steady decrease in fatalities among under 30-year-old riders from 562 in the five-year period from 1995 to ’99 to 312 from 2015 to ’19.

Over the past five years, under 30s have not had the largest number of fatalities, being overtaken for the first time by over 50s with 323 deaths.

This could be the result of tougher licensing laws.

However, it could also be due to the fact that the number of young riders getting licenses has declined while the number of returned riders has increased.

The statistical trends are similar in all states including Queensland and South Australia where under-30s fatalities have halved since 1995.

New rules

The new SA rules will allow various exclusions for students, workers and regional residents.

For example, regional resident aged 16 and 17 can get a restricted motorcycle learner’s permit to travel to tertiary education, vocational education and training or for work.

Also 17-year-olds with a current provisional car licence can get a motorcycle learner’s permit.

There will also be a night curfew on under 25s from midnight to 5am unless the rider has an exemption which is in line with current rules for p-plate drivers.

Rider advocacy group Ride to Review says the restrictions could have been worse.

Rode to Review Tim Kelly learn licence licensing plans incorrectTim Kelly of Ride to Review

Spokesman Tim Kelly says they worked hard with the government to secure the concessions and to avoid the planned mandatory hi-vests.

Full details of the new Bill have not yet been released, but previous recommendations included: displaying correct plates, restricting pillions, mandatory carriage of licence, zero blood alcohol, a lower demerit point threshold for disqualification and no mobile phones.

Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) motorcycle spokesman Rhys Griffiths says tougher licensing laws across the nation have put the motorcycle industry under “more pressure than we’ve ever had in the past”.

He says the tougher licensing laws have dramatically increased the price of obtaining a motorcycle licence and may have led to an increase in unlicensed riding.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Should drivers ride light motorcycles?

A new survey has found a large majority of European riders believe drivers should be allowed to ride light motorcycles up to 125cc on a full car licence.

In Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory, licensed drivers have been able to ride a 50cc scooter or moped for decades without having to do any sort of extra test.

However, in some states there are restrictions such as not carrying a pillion or riding on freeways or motorways.

Some European countries allow drivers to ride motorcycles up to 125cc and 15 horsepower such as the Honda Grom and Monkey bikes and the Kawasaki Z125 with little or no extra training or licensing.

Jake Dolan on the Honda Grom light motorcyclesHonda Grom

The Federation of European Motorcyclists’ Associations conducted a survey to see whether this should be extended to all of Europe and found riders largely agreed.

However, they say drivers should take some motorcycle lessons. There is no such requirement in Australia.

Training for light motorcycles

The Adventurists Monkey Bikes Monkey Runs Romania tall returned riders light motorcyclesMake sure the bike suits your needs … and your height!

Several rider representation groups have called for competency training for car drivers to be allowed to ride.

University safety researcher and Triumph Street Triple ride Ross Blackman confirms that many riders believe moped riders should be required to have a motorcycle licence.

“I’m not sure that this is supported by the stats, acknowledging that non-injury crashes are generally not reported,” he says.

“Something that muddies the waters here now is the rise of electric bicycles which, operationally, are similar to mopeds in terms of trip purpose etc.”

CARRS-Q QUT researcher dr Ross Blackman Motorbike online survey moped mopedsRoss Blackman

There have been no changes to the moped rules over the past few decades, despite most states reviewing their motorcycle licensing.

A Queensland Transport and Main Roads spokesperson says a 2012 review of moped licensing found the severity of moped crashes was lower overall compared with motorcycles.

This research determined there was no requirement for changes to licensing requirements.

Crashes involving mopeds within Queensland, 1 January 2013 to 31 May 2019.

Crash severity
























Medical treatment








Minor injury








Total crashes







Compare that with motorcycle and scooter crashes (excluding mopeds).

Crash severity 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Fatal 42 37 54 64 50 41
Hospitalisation 930 932 968 966 935 960

However, we note that there may be significantly fewer people riding mopeds on car licences.

It is impossible to gauge exact numbers given many may only hire them.

Queensland registration statistics also don’t different mopeds from motorcycles.

Western Australia’s Department of Transport also reviewed moped licensing in 2014.

“Discontinuing moped operation on a car licence was not supported due to there being little evidence that moped riders in WA were overrepresented in crashes compared to other powered two wheelers,” a spokesperson says.

“DoT would reconsider moped operation on a car licence should data show that moped riders are overrepresented in crashes in WA, and that there was evidence to support that discontinuing the approach would result in considerable road safety benefits.”

WA registration stats show a 33% increase in moped registrations from 2011 to 2015.

“This could have been attributed to an increase in traffic congestion, lack of available parking, need for economical and convenient transport and that the holder of any valid class of driver s licence is also authorised to ride a moped,” the spokesperson says.

Pros and cons

Repsol Honda Racing Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa race mopedsMoped racing

We can see pros and cons in allowing drivers to ride mopeds.

On the positive side, it’s great for tourist areas where foreigners can hire a moped to get around.

It also allows drivers to experience the thrill of riding and hopefully encourage them to go for their full licence.

The licensing also allows inner-city residents to get around cheaply and conveniently without the expense of a motorcycle licence they may never need.

There is also a host of great light electric motorcycles and scooters hitting the market that qualify under the moped rules.

On the negative side, we see a lot of stupid moped riders doing some dangerous and illegal things on the roads.

An example is filtering. It is illegal to filter unless you are a fully licensed rider, for a start.

Secondly, we see moped riders filter to the front of a queue of traffic at the lights only to hold everyone up when the lights go green because of their slow acceleration.

Unfortunately, the ire drivers feel toward some idiot moped riders filters across to legal and sensible motorcyclists!

  • What do you think? Should moped licensing be extended to other states? Should there be some sort of competency course first? Leave your comments below.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Riding course free for returned riders

Returned and mature-aged riders are invited to attend a free Back on Your Bike riding course based in Newcastle.

The course on Friday 14 February 2020 is the idea of local rider Chris Tola who ran a similar course in 2015 which was a finalist in the National ACSR Road Safety Awards.

Last year Chris noticed there was funding available in the NSW Community Road Safety Grants to run safety focussed events, so he wrote up an application and was granted $4500.

“So, with the help of friends and family, we’re staging Back on your Bike 2020,” Chris says.

“We’re hoping for around 60 attendees.”

Some quote statistics that show returned riders have the highest proportion of representation in motorcycle crash statistics.

However, Australian Motorcycle Council secretary John Eacott disputes the figures.

He says returned riders are not the major safety risk they have been labelled and is concerned that road safety initiatives are directed to the wrong group.

This Newcastle course is also open to those thinking of becoming a rider.Riding course free for returned riders

Free course

The free one-day Back on Your Bike course is based in Newcastle, but open to any riders who can get their by 8am on the day.

It consists of five sessions focussed on creating greater awareness in road safety, active conversations in best practice motorcycle riding and the sharing of experiences.

There will also be a motorcycle display by Brisan Motorcycles of Newcastle and a short ride to Grahamstown Dam for lunch.

Registrations through Eventbrite are essential as breakfast, coffee and lunch will be provided at no cost – and numbers will be limited.

All participating riders must have a valid licence and a registered motorcycle. Non-riders and pillion passengers are also welcome to attend.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Honda plans airbags for smaller motorcycles

After the problems Honda had with the massive global recall of dangerous Takata airbags in their Goldwing, the company is now filing for a patent on a smaller airbag suitable for smaller bikes.

Instead of deploying in front of the rider like a big bean bag, it goes straight up to stop the rider being flung over the bars.

While the rider in this video says his airbag suit was a lifesaver, we wonder what effect a vertical motorcycle airbag would have had, preventing him being flung clear of the vehicle.

Airbags trend

Airbags seem to be the flavour of the times for the safety “experts”.

A host of airbag leather race suits is now available, airbags are mandatory in most motorcycle racing and some companies such as DaineseAlpinestars and Furygan, are now releasing aftermarket airbag vests that go over or under a normal jacket.

And Brooklyn start-up Airbag for Bike even has a patent pending for a motorcycle seat that ejects a rider in a crash and then cocoons them in a full-length airbag suit to protect them from injury.

Smaller airbags

As for motorcycles airbags, we can see they may be a safety device in crashes where the rider hits something head-on or is hit from behind, but not glancing blows or being hit from the side.

The Goldwing airbag in the “tank” area is bulky and would only fit big tourers.

Honda Goldwing GL1800 airbag radical Goldwings incentive smaller airbagsHowever, Honda’s new patent is for a much smaller airbag.

It would be suitable on smaller motorcycles as shown in this patent drawing of a scooter published by Visor Down.Airbag Honda

We imagine this will also be a cheaper airbag than the one in the Goldwing.

It’s not the first time Honda has considered adding airbags to smaller bikes.

In 2017, the company exhibited an airbag designed for scooters at the Honda Meeting in Tokyo. (See image at the top of this page.)

The danger of this type of cheaper technology is that safety experts will one day deem it as a mandatory fitment on all bikes just as they have with ABS!

Honda patent blitz

Honda has been having something of a blitz on patents in the past couple of years.

While this idea seems quite reasonable and may make it into some future motorcycles, a lot of the others are less likely.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Not So Easy Rider safety film

This 1973 safety film starring Easy Rider star Peter Fonda and legendary stuntman Evel Knievel is not only hilarious, with some great period music, but also still surprisingly relevant today.

While the film doesn’t endorse lane filtering or splitting, most of the information supplied is still as relevant today as it was in the 1970s when the film was produced.

That is not to say that you will agree wth everything they say; for example that you should wear a white helmet to be more visible.

However, it’s an entertaining 17-minute video that features a segment with Evel.

Evel Knievel Harley-Davidson XL 1000 Sportster
Evel Knievel

We particularly love the reference to defensive motorcyclists treating all drivers as either “asleep, blind or drunk”.

There is also some great LA motorcycle police synchronised riding. It’s fascinating to watch, but it doesn’t have much to do with the message about how police cops “riding by the book” are actually safer than police in patrol cars. They quote the statistic of 18 accidents per million miles on police bikes compared with 27 in patrol cars.

There is also a true/false quiz to test your motorcycle knowledge.

And it finishes with a cringe-worthy safety message from Mr Easy Rider himself: “Have a good trip and don’t ride too easy.”

Could the Easy Rider Captain America chopper soon become the most expensive motorcycle in the world?
Peter Fonda on Captain America in Easy Rider

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

10 New Year resolutions we’d like to see

Each New Year we make resolutions to do something new, better or at least different for the next year.

This year we thought we would do something different for the new decade and compile a wish list of 10 New Year resolutions we would like others to make.

We know most of these are just vain wishes, but we thought we would present them anyhow in the hope someone out there takes up at least one of them!

The list includes other motorists, but is also aimed at other riders.

Resolutions we would like others to make:

  1. Drivers should resolve to pay more attention to riders and looking out for their safety. Get off your phones, stop playing with the touchscreen on your cars instruments and use your mirrors.
  2. Caravan and truck drivers could resolve not to try to pass other vehicles on the only double-lane uphill stretch for miles around, blocking a string of traffic behind them who could have passed a lot quicker.
  3. How about riders resolving not to make disparaging comments about other people’s choice of bike? We are part of a small community, so we should stick together and support each other.

    Pink Hello Kitty Ducati Scrambler revenue male slips
    That’s an unusual pink slip!

  4. Some riders could also resolve to ride within their abilities. Don’t show off or try to get your knee down on public roads. Take some responsibility for your own safety and don’t just blame other motorists.
  5. Wouldn’t it be great if cyclists resolved to not use the road as their own personal racetrack and take up most of a lane on a narrow mountain road?Cyclist identification call rejected
  6. We would also love it if governments at all levels resolved to listen to riders and include them in their planning.
  7. Drivers of all vehicles should resolve to understand that lane filtering is legal and not only a benefit to riders, but to all motorists as it reduces the number of vehicles in the commuter queue

    roadside lane filter filtering ad sign billboard
    Here’s a sign we’d like to see

  8. Instead of adding performance parts to your motorcycle to squeeze out more power, riders could resolve to lose some weight to improve the bike’s power-to-weight ratio, or maybe take some riding lessons to sharpen your skills. Admit it; you don’t use anywhere near all the power your bike already produces!

    Harley-Davidson Fat Bob and Low Rider S at Champions Race Day Lakeside Park track day
    Track day riders at Champions Ride Day briefing

  9. We would appreciate it if some keyboard warriors would resolve to not fire off random abusive comments to us and other readers before thoroughly reading our articles, including this ironic list.
  10. Let’s all resolve to do our best to survive 2020.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Bike cop pings driver 34 demerits

A NSW Police Motorcycle Response Group rider has caught a female driver using a mobile phone while negotiating a roundabout, contributing to her incurring $1793 in fines and 34 demerits.

Motorcycles are considered an important asset to police, manoeuvring in traffic congestion, public event management, dignitary escorts, ceremonial duties, and speed and traffic offence patrols.

They have been particularly useful for patrolling for mobile phone offences as in the situation above in Katoomba yesterday (27 December 2019).

Cops mobile phone penalties day of action
Police patrol for mobile phone misuse

A motorcycle cop’s high position allows them to see drivers holding a phone in their lap.

Riders are well aware of this and often see drivers illegally using mobile phones.

In the Katoomba driver’s case, she was also pinged for having three children and a man in the car with her not wearing seatbelts.

Double demerits currently apply in NSW which resulted in the driver accumulating the massive penalty of 34 points.

We asked NSW Police what that would mean for her licence and they said they did not know, but referred us to the Roads and Maritime Services website.

It says motorists who accumulate 20 or more points in a three-year period will cop a five-month suspension or three months if they are on a restricted licence.

The RMS may also refuse to renew their licence for another five months.mobile phone demerits

Double demerits

Double demerit points now apply in NSW and the ACT until January 1 (inclusive) and January 5 in Western Australia.

Riders from Victoria, Tasmania, Northern Territory and South Australia passing through NSW, ACT or WA during any declared holiday period do not cop the double demerits.

Queensland motorists attract double points for speeding offences of 21km/h or greater over the speed limit and seatbelt offences if they occur more than once within a 12-month period.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Alpinestars airbag vest fits any jacket

Alpinestars has joined Dainese and Furygan in making an airbag vest that fits underneath any jacket.

Airbags were first included with a leather jacket or suit usually for racing where it is now mandatory in some categories.

They were followed by airbag vests that could be worn over the top of a jacket, or vests that were only suitable with a particular jacket.

Now this new age of airbag vests can be worn under any jacket, making them suitable for everyday riding protection.

We’re not sure exactly what happens when you wear one of these new vests underneath a tight motorcycle jacket. When it explodes, does it rip your jacket open like the Incredible Hulk?

The manufacturers say they work just fine if you zip out a thermal liner. They also say these vests provide thermal protection.

So in an Aussie summer, they could be awfully hot and uncomfortable, even with a flow-through ventilated jacket!

Alpinestars Tech-Air 5Alpinestars airbag vest

Alpinestars will unveil their Tech-Air 5 airbag at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on 7 January 2020. 

It works via accelerometers that detect a crash.

The vest connects via Bluetooth to the Alpinestars Tech-Air smartphone app which shows whether the vest is armed, unarmed or triggered. Not sure why you need that because surely you will know when it’s been triggered!

There are no more details such as price or how much it costs to have the airbag re-armed after it’s been triggered.

The most important detail is whether you can re-arm it yourself like the Furygan or you have to send it back to the manufacturer like the Dainese vest.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Rider dies in Bondi Beach crash

A male rider – as yet not formally identified – has died overnight after a crash at Sydney’s Bondi Beach.

Just before 1.30am (Friday 27 December 2019), emergency services were called to Glenayr Avenue, near the intersection of Hall Street, Bondi Beach, after reports a motorcycle had crashed.

NSW Ambulance paramedics attended and treated the seriously injured rider before he was taken to St Vincent’s Hospital; where he was declared deceased.

Our sincere condolences to the man’s family and friends.

Officers from Eastern Suburbs Police Area Command have begun an investigation into the circumstances of the crash.

A report will be prepared for the Coroner.

Anyone with information about this incident is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000 or https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au. Information is treated in strict confidence. The public is reminded not to report crime via NSW Police social media pages.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com