Tag Archives: road safety

NSW emergency speed rule extended

Despite criticism from motoring organisations and a motorcycle cop being hit by a driver, NSW has extended its rule to slow traffic to 40km/h past emergency services.

The 12-month trial will be extended to a permanent law on September 26  but with some changes.

It will now include tow trucks and and motorway recovery vehicles, police will stop in visible locations and new warning signs will be deployed by emergency services.

However, it will no longer apply on roads with speed limits of 90km/h or more.

Instead, motorists will have to slow to a “safe and reasonable” speed, give “sufficient space” to emergency workers and “change lanes to keep the lane next to the vehicle free if it is safe to do so” as is required in most US states.

Concerns

Then Motorcycle Council of NSW Chairman Steve Pearce told us when the trial started that it was “just a matter of time until a serious incident occurs as a result of this rule”.

He was right. In December 2018, a NSW motorcycle cop was hit by a car when he pulled over another car on a 100km/h highway.

Cop injured under new speed rule crash police emergency 40km/h extended
Cop injured during speed rule trial

The 70-year-old female driver was one of 936 fined $446 and three demerit points during the trial period.

Steve’s major concern with the rule was that vulnerable motorcyclists, such as the NSW police officer, would be at risk of being rear-ended.

In fact, the person the rule was meant to protect became the victim.

Confusing rule

The extended rule could be confusing for motorists travelling interstate during holidays.

Emergency vehicles are defined as police cars, fire engines and ambulances displaying red and blue flashing lights and/or sounding their siren.

In Victoria it includes all “escort vehicles”. In SA, SES vehicles are included and in WA it extends to all emergency vehicles, including tow trucks, RAC roadside assistance patrol vehicles, and Main Roads Incident Response Vehicles removing road debris and broken-down vehicles.

The rule does not apply if the emergency vehicle is on the other side of the road where there is a median strip.

Fines also vary

Cop asleep on motorcycle extended
Would you slow down for this?

In South Australia, you can cop a maximum fine up to $1007 and some motorists have been disqualified for six months. In WA it is $300 and three points.

Victoria’s fine is $272.05, but there is a maximum court penalty of $777.30 if you unsuccessfully challenge the fine. The RACV says it could be difficult for motorists to see flashing emergency vehicles’ lights over a hill and have enough time to slow down to 40km/h.

The Queensland Government has rejected Police Union calls for a similar road rule.

Tips for avoiding tail-ender

If riders see the flashing lights of an emergency vehicle, there are several things they can do to avoid a rear-ender.

  • Look at traffic behind you to assess the danger;
  • Indicate and change lanes away from the emergency vehicle, if there is a vacant lane to move into;
  • If not, switch on the hazard lights;
  • Brake as smoothly as possible, perhaps activating the brake light on and off to attract the attention of following traffic; and
  • Search for an escape route, possibly between lanes or on the road edge.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Rider 24 dies in head-on with SUV

A 24-year-old male rider has died in a head-on crash with an SUV at Marom Creek, near Ballina, NSW, yesterday (15 September 2019).

NSW Police could not provide any more details and say a report will be prepared for the Coroner.

The accident occurred about 4pm at the T intersection of Marom Creek Road and Youngmans Creek Dip Road in a rural area.head-on crash with SUV

The rider, who was travelling east on Marom Creek Rd, collided head-on with a Nissan Navara SUV driven by a 69-year-old man.

“The man was thrown from his bike and sustained serious injuries,” Police say.

“Despite attempts by members of the public to resuscitate him, the man died at the scene.”

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

The SUV driver was uninjured, but was taken to Lismore Base Hospital as a precaution and to provide a blood sample.

Officers from Richmond Police District are investigating the incident.

We contacted police for further information, but none is available at this stage.

Anyone with information about this incident is urged to contact Crime Stoppers online or 1800 333 000.

Information is treated in strict confidence. The public is reminded not to report crime via NSW Police social media pages. 

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Rider flees after pedestrian hit and run

Usually motorcycle riders are the victims in hit and run accidents but one trail biker is giving us a bad name after hitting a 77-year-old pedestrian and fleeing the scene.

Queensland Police are appealing for witnesses to the incident in Kin Kora, near Gladstone, around 5pm on 31 August 2019.

The local man was walking along the pathway that runs between Emmadale Drive and the soccer field at the end of Pioneer Drive when he was struck by a blue trail bike as it sped past him.

“The man fell to the ground while the rider of the bike failed to stop and render assistance,” police say.

The man was transported to Gladstone Hospital and treated for his injuries, then later discharged.

Sadly, the man passed away on Tuesday (September 10).

Police investigationsDayGlo Queensland Police witnesses single

Police investigations are continuing to determine whether or not the incident contributed to the man’s death and the matter has been referred to the Coroner.

Gladstone Police are appealing for anyone who may have witnessed the incident or who have seen a blue trail bike in that particular area at any time to come forward.

Police believe the trail bike has been seen in the area several times in the past, particularly along the roadway that leads from the end of Pioneer Drive to the soccer field.

The rider is described as wearing a dark coloured helmet with dark goggles.

Anyone who may know the rider of the bike is also urged to contact police.

If you have information for police, contact Policelink on 131 444 or provide information using the online form 24 hours a day.

You can report information about crime anonymously to Crime Stoppers, a registered charity and community volunteer organisation, by calling 1800 333 000 or via crimestoppersqld.com.au 24hrs per day.

Quote this reference number: QP1901698798

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Rider has lucky escape in oil spill crash

An 81-year-old rider is counting his blessings after hitting an oil spill and sliding his BMW until the front wheel hung over a precipitous drop into a deep gorge.

Allan Shephard of Brisbane says he was enjoying a midweek ride on his old R 80 RT on the Sunshine Coast hinterland when the frightening incident occurred.

He says he reported the oil spill to the Main Roads Department and was surprised at how quickly they responded to fix the dangerous spill and warn other road users.

How it happened

Mary River Valley a motorcyclist’s haven Harley-Davidson Street Glide Special oil spill
Obi Obi Rd is bitumen uphill and gravel downhill

“I left Mapleton after a pie and coffee at the bakery and approaching the unsealed divided down section on Obi Obi Rd I was being pushed by a four-wheel-drive ute in a hurry,” Allan says.

“I pulled over and let him go, then proceeded fairly slowly down the gravel section.

“Midway down the top section there is a sealed section through some tight down hill corners. On a left-hand turn a bit tight and steep I hit a lengthy oil spill that covered the left hand side of the road all around the corner.

“In the instant I saw it I thought it was water on the road.

“I was under gentle brakes just to steady my speed. The old R 80 had a very quick lie down, losing the front wheel.

“The left crash bar dug in and spun the bike across the road ending with the front wheel hanging over the drop into the gorge below!

“I bumped along behind the bike, covered my left side in oil and severely scratched my new Shoei visor. I said a big ‘bugger’, I think.”

Allan says he was pleased that about 10 vehicles stopped to help.

One woman helped him pull the bike back on to the road and a truckie helped him stand the bike up in a safe place and bandaged his right hand.

Oil spill

Oil spill
Contractors clean oil spill

Allan says that on his ride home he noticed many more streaks of oil all the way to Kenilworth where “the offending vehicle turned towards Imbil”.

Concerned that another rider may not be as lucky as he was, Allan rang 000 to report the spillage.

“The 000 lady was concerned that I was ok and said she would report the hazard,” he says.

“One of the guys who witnessed my fall reported the hazard to the off-duty police officer at Kenilworth.

“He reported to me that he had gone to the Council Depot at Kenilworth to report the hazard and was told that it was not a matter for the council but for the Main Roads Department.”

Main Roads action

Allan says he is pleased to find that Main Roads had a team on site by 3.30pm to deal with the spill and erect warning signs at the top of the range.

“Well done, I would think,” he says.

“I’ve put the Main Roads Traffic Hazard reporting number (13 19 40) in my wallet for future reference.”

A Queensland Transport and Main Roads spokesperson says they “responded immediately” and their maintenance contractor applied an absorbent treatment to the oil.

Hazard warning signs were put in place and a message published on the QLDTraffic website to advise road users of works underway,” the spokesperson says.

We are continuing to monitor the site.

All state-controlled roads are regularly inspected to ensure they are safe and traffickable, however, road conditions can change quickly.

We encourage the public to report safety hazards on the road, so they can be urgently assessed.

We had not received a road hazard report for this location before this incident.”

Report hazards 

Riders are urged to report hazards on roads by contacting the relevant authority.

The problem is that it can be difficult to ascertain whether the road is controlled by a local council or the state department.

If emergency services are required due to a crash with injuries, call 000.

If Triple Zero doesn’t work, call 112. You don’t need credit on your mobile phone to call 000 or 112 as it is free.

Motorcycle Council of NSW secretary Steve Pearce has called for a phone app for riders to record and report road conditions.

Steve Pearce chairman of the Motorcycle Council of NSW Look for motorcyclists in Motorcycle Awareness Month roadside assist ignores compulsory oil spills
Steve Pearce

There are various public, transport department and motorist club apps available.

However, the best advice is to phone the local council (use Google search) or state authority first.

How to report dangerous road conditions

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Varied protection for country and urban riders

Urban and country riders need different levels of abrasion, impact and seam-bursting protection in their riding gear, according to MotoCAP chief scientist Chris Hurren.

He explains the differences in this video from MotoCAP, the world’s first safety and comfort ratings system for motorcycle clothing which launched on 18 September 2018.

Jackets and pants tested

Almost a year after launching, the Australian testing facility has now rated 146 items.

The latest inclusion is comfort and safety ratings for four jackets and seven pairs of pants.

Alpinestars SP-X perforated leather pants four stars for thermal comfort, the highest rating for leather pants in this category yet.

The pants also obtained three out of five stars in protection.Chris Hurren Varied protection for country and urban riders MotoCAP

The MotoDry Advent Tour textile pants received the maximum score of 10 for water resistance, only the second pair of pants so far to earn the highest score.

The pants only scored half a star for protection, but were awarded three stars for comfort.

The Merlin Hamlin Zip-up Hoodie jacket was awarded the highest rating for thermal comfort in this release, scoring three out of five stars, and one out of five stars for protection.Chris Hurren Varied protection for country and urban riders MotoCAP

MotoCAP ratings explained

The brief MotoCAP video follows recent seminars across the country by MotoCAP researchers from the Deakin University.

If you are interested in having a MotoCAP researcher talk to your riders group, click here to contact them.

Chris says he briefs riders on MotoCAP aims, how a rider can use the service to select the right gear, what is tested and why, plus “some of the science that we do to back up our work”.

Typical rider questions are:

  • Q: Who funds the program?
  • A: MotoCAP is a not-for-profit organisation in partnership with and funded by: from NSW – Transport for NSW, SIRA and the NRMA; from Victoria – VicRoads, TAC and RACV; from South Australia – DPTI, MAC and RAA; from Queensland – TMR and RACQ; from Western Australia – the Western Australian Road Safety Commission; plus the Australian Motorcycle Council and the New Zealand Accident Compensation Corporation.
  • Q: How many garments are tested a year?
  • A: It was launched in September 2018 and has so far tested 146 articles of clothing.
  • Q: Are any companies getting on board with the program?
  • A: Despite invitations, no manufacturer has yet come forward to have their gear tested. Instead, they use a system of secret buying.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Automated cars a ‘danger to riders’

The coming revolution of automated cars and trucks is supposed to create safer roads, however a new report raises concerns that motorcycles will not be detected.

The European Association of Motorcycle Manufacturers report says the automated technology is still new and untested in the real world.Automated cars lane filtering lane splitting road safety

“In some cases, modern cars do not have robust enough equipment to detect motorcycles,” the report says.

“Several accidents in Europe and the US with cars ‘on autopilot’ indicate that some cars failed to detect motorcycles in all situations.

“Today, in some driver handbooks, one can find statements such as ‘the system may not detect small vehicles like motorcycles’, which is simply not acceptable from a safety point of view.”

Automated cars

There have been varying reports over the past few years that say automated cars will make roads both safer and more dangerous for riders.

The EAMM report says the motorcycle industry is “open to discussion, recognition and appeals to the car industry and legislators to take this issue seriously and start dialoguing with the motorcycle industry on how to ensure that future cars react to motorcycles in a safe manner”.

However, motorcycle companies are also working on self-riding motorcycles and interventionist technologies to make riding safer.

Damon X electric motorcycle transforms automated cars
Damon X electric motorcycle with vehicle sensors

In fact, Damon Motorcycles CEO and founder Jay Giraud has produced a white paper about the future of the motorcycling industry in which he says advanced safety systems may save motorcycling.

He predicts a future “where the idea of rider accidents being inevitable and unavoidable will be a thing of the past.

The EAMM report concludes:

In the future, increasing levels of automation in passenger cars will shift the task of dynamic driving further and further away from the driver and towards the vehicle itself. The technology used should be reliable and has to compensate for ‘taking the human driver out of the loop’. Therefore, the development of automated assistance systems will have to be designed and validated as motorcycle compatible covering all the requirements, from situation recognition through to execution of manoeuvres.

  • Do you think automated cars will make riding safer r more dangerous? Leave your comments below.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Driver free after causing rider death

A driver who caused the death of a rider has walked free from court over a technicality that allows motorists to dangerously pull over on the side of multi-lane highways and motorways.

Burpengary rider Luke Harris, aged just 25, died on 28 December 2017 in a crash caused by a ute pulling out in front of his Honda on the Bruce Highway.

Ute driver Cameron Woodvine was charged with dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death.

He told police he had pulled off on the right side of the highway to look for his wallet in a narrow roadside area that is not a designated stopping bay.

Luke’s sister, Renee Harris, says Luke was riding his bike in the far right lane when he collided with the ute as it slowly re-joined the highway.

He was thrown from his bike into the path of a BMW car which also crashed into another car stationary on the other side of the road.

“Luke had nowhere to go,” Renee says.

free
Luke with his mother Sue and sister Renee

Free

Woodvine appeared in the District Court in Brisbane on 23 July 2019 and two days later was found not guilty.

“There were no other charges, court fees, disqualifications, etc,” Renee says. 

“Unfortunately this person walked free mainly due to outdated terminology in the current road rules,” Renee says.

Queensland Road Rules only allow motorists to pull over in a freeway emergency lane and only in an emergency. Otherwise, they must not stop on a freeway. 

Driver free after causing rider death of Luke Harris
Luke with his Honda

Petition

Family friend Cressida Fraser, with the support of Luke’s family, has now started an online petition to Queensland Parliament to add multi-lane motorways and highways to the rules.

Click here to sign her petition.

“Had this person not pulled over for a non-emergent reason then this accident never would have occurred and Luke would still be here today,” Renee says.

“We don’t want another family to have to suffer the way we have not only with the pain of losing Luke but also the impact the not guilty verdict then had on our family.”

Cressida says the current rule makes it “potentially dangerous” for all motorists.

“With traffic flowing at 100km/h, it has the potential to be fatal, especially on bikes with much less protection than cars,” she says.

“Luke’s accident was the result of outside sources and not having a way out.

“It could happen and has happened to many riders, experienced or new. We just hope this can be the start of making even a small difference to rider safety.”

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Riders warned to stay away from bushfires

Riders have been asked to stay away from bushfires in Queensland this weekend for their own sake and the lives of Fire and Emergency Services workers.

The Maranoa and Warrego and the Darling Downs and Granite Belt districts are facing extreme fire danger.

Severe fire danger warnings are also in place for the Central Highlands and Coalfields District, Wide Bay and Burnett, and the south-east coast.

By all means, riders should head out into the country to spend their much-needed dollar in drought-stricken areas.

However, they should also be alert to the bushfire conditions.

Fire and Emergency Services have specifically asked all motorists to stay away from Lamington National Park Road, Illinbah and Upper Coomera Road in the Gold Coast hinterland.

They say motorists “rubbernecking” are putting their workers’ lives at risk as well as the lives and properties of the public.

You can get live details on Queensland bushfires by clicking here.

Dangers of bushfires

Bushfires can spread rapidly and even outrun a vulnerable rider, no matter how fast you are riding!

Riders are also in danger from smoke inhalation, low visibility and eye irritation.Bushfires Harley Softail

Rural fire services also point out that fires have been sparked by motorcycles in the past.

They say about 40% of all bushfires are accidentally started by humans dropping cigarette butts, campfires, discarding bottles, sparks from machinery and motorcycles.

Most riders who accidentally spark these blazes are off-road and adventure bikes riding in the bush and on forestry tracks.Bushfires BMW R 1200 GS

However, there is also the possibility of fires being started by road bikes if the rider pulls over to the side of the road where they may be long, dry grass.

The bike’s engine, exhaust, or catalytic convertor can be hot enough to set dry grass alight.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

What does CE approved clothing mean?

(CE certification article contributed by Pando Moto)

Motorcycle protective rider gear has become a lot safer over the years since Europe introduced a CE legal standard for motorcycle clothing, known as EN13595, in 1994.

It was originally designed as a standard for professional racers, but now any motorcycle clothing that does not meet the standard cannot be sold as ‘protective’ wear in Europe.

This CE standard (Conformité Européene or European Conformity) is now used throughout most of the world.

In Australia, it gets a little more confusing as we also have an independent MotoCAP testing regime for safety and comfort. Click here for the latest news on gloves that failed their tests.

If you are confused with the various labels, CE markings, standards and information about impact protection, double-stitched seams, and abrasion testing, read on.

CE markings and regulations

When buying protective motorcycle clothing, it is important to know whether the garments you are considering are produced to at least a minimum CE standard.

A label should have a CE marking permanently attached to the garment.

Pando Moto CE label

Any CE-approved product must come with a certificate of conformity.

What do CE standards mean?

If a product bears any type of CE marking, this means its manufacturer has constructed this garment to an applicable standard of safety and protection legislation.

This means the product is made to at least a particular level of quality for the consumer’s reassurance.

In 1995, Cambridge University played a big part in the development of CE marking, which aided an increase of knowledge for anticipated CE personal protective clothing regulations.

CE tested, certified or approved?

There is a huge difference between the terms “CE Tested”, “CE Certified”, and “CE Approved”:

CE Tested: The term normally implies that the manufacturer tested the whole or just a piece of a garment within their own facility that might meet certain standards. However, the garment is not necessarily tested in a certified testing facility to meet officially accredited standards.
CE Certified: This term is more secure, as it states that the garment samples were tested in certified testing facilities. In this case, you need to find out which part of a garment was tested.
CE Approved: This term means several parts of a garment were tested in certified facilities and are accredited to meet or surpass the required standards in all zones.

Garment testing zones

The certification test EN13595 uses two test levels, with the body divided into four zones (see illustration with zones below):

CE Testing zones

Zone 1: must-have impact protectors and needs to last 4 seconds on the Cambridge Abrasion Machine to meet Level 1 protection, and 7 seconds to meet Level 2.
Zone 2: must-have impact protectors and needs to last 4 seconds on the Cambridge Abrasion Machine to meet Level 1 protection, and 7 seconds to meet Level 2.
Zone 3: requires 1.8seconds for Level 1 and 2.5 for level 2.
Zone 4: can be used for ventilation and stretch panels, but must still last 1 second on the abrasion rig for Level 1, and 1.5 seconds for Level 2.

Cambridge abrasion machine

EN17092 has five test levels, covering three key zones of the garment – Zone 1, Zone 2 and Zone 3, with samples tested on a Darmstadt machine that spins them at a set speed until they’re dropped on to a slab of control concrete where they slow to a stop.

Darmstadt machine

Usually, you will see A, B or C letters on a label that indicates garments classification.

Classification AAA: The highest level, demanding four seconds of abrasion resistance with the machine spinning at 707.4rpm (the equivalent of 120km/h) in Zone 1, two seconds at 442.1rpm (about 75km/h) in Zone 2 and one second at 265rpm (around 45km/h) in Zone 3.
Classification AA: More suited to touring gear, this specifies two seconds in Zone 1 at 412.6rpm (about 70km/h), one second at 265.3rpm in Zone 2 and 0.5 seconds at 147.4rpm (the equivalent of around 25kmh) in Zone 3.
Classification A: Deemed suitable for urban riding, with Zone 1 requiring one second of abrasion resistance at 265.3rpm and half a second at 147.4rpm in Zone 2.
Classification B: same as A, but impact protectors are not required.
Classification C: covers garments such as the mesh under-suits that have impact protection for off-road riding.

Samples are taken from each zone to be tested for seam strength and abrasion resistance.

A company using the same materials and construction methods in two or more jackets, for example, could meet approval with one test, so long as the tested parts are put together in a tested way within the tested zones, and subsequent garments are added to the certificate.

Once these materials and construction methods are approved, they cannot be changed, and that includes the specific supplier of the material.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Victory in void helmet sticker fine

Police have waived a Bribie Island rider’s $400/3point infringement for having a void helmet sticker in a test case that proves riders can legally remove the external sticker.

Ian Joice, 63, says he was pulled over by police on Bowen Rd, Glass House Mountains, on 12 August 2019 at 11.38am.

He says the officer noted the external sticker had the word VOID across it from age and sun damage while the internal label was faded due to wear.

Helmet fine void sticker
Internal label

A week later he received an infringement notice in the post for “fail to wear helmet”.

So he contacted Motorbike Writer after reading our article which advised riders that is legal to remove the external sticker.

Click there to read our full article.

We contacted Queensland Police to ask why an erroneous fine was issued and how many other similar fines had been issued.

They replied:

The infringement in this matter will be withdrawn. This is an isolated incident and the officer has been given guidance regarding the matter.

Ian was greatly relieved when we passed on the news of his fine waiver.

“I have been very distressed with this situation and am greatly relieved that the notice has been withdrawn,” he says.

“I have had some black days since the notice arrived.”

Australian Motorcycle Council helmet law expert Guy Stanford says he believes police are not aware of the rules and standards that apply to helmets.

Guy Stanford - Mobile phone while riding - darrk visor helmets tinted visor youtube withdrawn void
Guy Stanford

“This is a good result from a commonsense complaint,” he says. 

“The facts were clear, the rider had been issued a fine for an offence he did not commit.

“This sort of fraud reflects badly on all police.”

Void sticker

Guy says the external sticker on a motorcycle helmet is only an indication of compliance and not a legal requirement.

In fact, the Australian Road Rules and standards do not even mention an external sticker.

They only say the helmet has to be “permanently and legibly marked”.

“So long as the mark of certification appears somewhere on the helmet that’s all you need, which means the label inside,” Guy says.

AS/NZS 1698 external stickers show VOID due to fading in the sun or if they have been removed.Helmet fine void sticker

“This is only a manufacturer’s device to recommend to riders when they should update their helmet,” Guy says.

“It has nothing to do with any legal requirement and is not mentioned in the Australian Road Rules. There is no expiry date on motorcycle helmets.”

Ian says he didn’t realise his helmet was so old and has now spent the $400 he would have spent on paying the fine to buy a new helmet.

  • We suggest you keep a copy of this article and/or our previous article to show police if you are ever threatened with a similar erroneous fine.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com