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VIC Motorcycle license laws set to tighten

Discussion in 'Politics, Laws, Government & Insurance' started by robsalvv, Aug 29, 2010.

  1. The Numby government is set to restrict license laws drastically in order to help curb the motorcycle fatality rate... and once more, suggesting some stupid impractical rules - namely 3 year LAMS and 120hrs supervised.

    I'm all for more stringent and detailed testing and training, but the rest is to get "bikes of the road"

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    No more easy riding

    • Peter Rolfe
    • From: Sunday Herald Sun
    • August 29, 2010 12:00AM

    A motorbike fatality. Picture: Tony Gough Source: HWT Image Library

    VICTORIA is set to introduce the toughest motorbike licence testing conditions in Australia in a bid to bring down the state's road toll.

    In an overhaul of existing motorcycle licensing, the Brumby Government is considering a stricter testing, training and skills assessment to make it tougher to take to the road on two wheels.
    With motorcycle riders accounting for 14 per cent of fatalities and serious injuries in Victoria despite making up less than 4 per cent of registered vehicles last year, the Government is expected this week to outline the radical plan to improve safety and reduce their over-representation in the road toll.
    Legislative changes being considered by the Government include:
    A REQUIREMENT for learner riders to obtain a minimum number of supervised on-road hours before they are given a licence - either 25, 50 or 120 hours;

    MORE rigorous assessment of practical skills before riders can obtain a licence;
    AN automatic transmission restriction for riders who pass the test on an automatic motorcycle such as a scooter; and
    INCREASING the period new riders have to use learner-approved motorcycles from one year to three.
    The move would bring motorbike testing conditions more in line with tests required by others such as learner car drivers who must have 120 hours of supervised driving before gaining a probationary licence.
    Roads Minister Tim Pallas confirmed last night that soon he would release a public discussion paper on the new system that would also consider longer licence durations and restrictions on what bikes inexperienced riders could legally use.
    "The significant rise in motorcycle deaths on our roads this year is unacceptable and we want to put measures in place to help drive down the toll," he said.
    TAC figures show motorcyclists are 38 times more likely to be seriously injured in a crash than car drivers and passengers.
    Victoria's three-year average motorcyclist fatality rate is six times higher than the passenger car occupant fatality rate.
    With 34 motorbike fatalities on Victorian roads so far this year, 12 more than in 2009, Victoria Police Supt Neville Taylor said the death rate of motorbike riders was "a real issue".

    Laws now require riders to sit a basic skills test lasting a few minutes before they go on our roads unsupervised.

    They also allow a person to complete learner and licence tests on an automatic motorcycle, often a motor scooter with an engine capacity up to 250cc, and be issued with a licence enabling them to ride automatic and manually geared bikes.

    Victorian motorcycle registrations rose 37 per cent (147,600) between 2005 and last year, compared with a 10 per cent increase in motor vehicle registration (4,010,276).

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    Time to cut bike deaths

    • Editorial
    • From: Sunday Herald Sun
    • August 29, 2010 12:00AM

    IN RESPONSE to the disproportionate number of road accidents involving motorcycles, the State Government is unveiling a worthwhile strategy to make it tougher for bikers to take to the road.

    Under proposed legislation, potential bikers would face stringent theoretical and practical testing.
    The period for which new bikers would have to ride learner-approved motorcycles would be increased from one to three years
    In essence, novice bikers would come under greater scrutiny - and that is a good thing.
    The facts speaks for themselves.
    Motorcyclists in Victoria make up only 3.7 per cent of road users, yet account for 14 per cent of fatalities and serious injuries.
    TAC figures show motorcyclists are 38 times more likely to be seriously injured in a crash than car drivers and passengers.
    Victoria's three-year average motorcyclist fatality rate is six times higher than that of occupants of passenger cars.

    With 34 motorcycle fatalities on Victorian roads so far this year - 12 more than in 2009 - this is an issue requiring urgent attention.
    Even Motorcycle Riders' Association Victoria president Kerry Walton agrees that current testing is inadequate.
    It is simply too easy at the moment to get a motorcycle licence.
    Riding a motorcycle is great fun. But it can be a fatal choice, especially when inexperienced bikers are involved.
    Motorcycles are high-risk, high-performance vehicles that can be difficult for motorists to see and they provide minimal rider protection.
    Bikers tend to be passionate about freedom and rightly complain that many accidents in which they are involved in are caused by motorists.
    But such an argument is academic.
    The reality is that, when a car and motorcycle come in contact, regardless of who is responsible, the bike will always come off second best.
    Therefore, it is important that motorcyclists - especially new riders - are subjected to more rigorous laws and scrutiny that, it is hoped, will provide them with the skills necessary to stay alive.
  2. I'll reserve my judgment until I read the discussion white paper, but the articles raise some interesting questions.

    How would it be remotely feasible to have 120 hours of supervised riding? Who would do the supervision? With a car it can be any licensed driver - would it be the same for a motorbike? And would you still be allowed to ride solo on your Ls before you have had your prescribed number of supervised hours? I could see how 25 hours might be workable, but 120 would be prohibitive.

    The difference between getting your car license and getting a bike license is that most people rack up their 120 hours by driving their parents around. Given that a very high proportion of people going for their bike license are already adults, and they may not know a lot of other riders, how are they going to get 120 hours of supervision? (Especially if it has to be one-to-one supervision.)

    Another problem that I see is that in some driving instructor's cars they can take control of the vehicle. If it is your mum or dad in the passenger seat they can at least point out hazards on the road or warn you if you haven't seen something. Worst case scenario is they can grab the wheel and attempt to steer the car out of danger. None of this is possible even under supervised riding, unless you both have headsets for your helmet. The best you can hope for is to talk about what went wrong after the fact, or get hints on how you could have improved your road position or reaction times or visibility - but all of this happens when you've stopped for a break or at the end of the ride. Not while the event is actually happening.

    I definitely think that the system is too easy now. When I got my license there was a woman who said that she hadn't ridden at all since she got her L plates. She rode a scooter for the L test, and a scooter for the P test, and managed to pass without a single minute of riding experience in between. How does that prepare her to ride on the roads?

    I was reading some research that showed that licensing schemes that focused more heavily on cognitive skills seemed to better prepare riders for the mental challenges of riding on the road. I think we had maybe one classroom session on roadcraft when I did my Ls, and about the same for Ps. And in both cases the roadcraft session was after we'd done the practical test, while they were doing the paperwork to hand us our pieces of paper.

    I've been giving this whole area a lot of thought since the Motorcycle Community Forums that they held to launch the Powered Two Wheeler Strategy. One of the main things that riders were asking for, when we were offered the chance to contribute, was an improved training and licensing scheme for riders - and improved training for car drivers as well. But it is hard to see exactly how learner riders can be offered the same kind of on-the-road coaching as learner drivers get. The Vic Rides program is a good idea, but I don't see how it will be cost effective to have even 25 hours of on-road coaching on your L plates.
  3. I wonder if those statistics include Un-riders (riders without a license)....?

    How the hell does that give you skills? What would be more beneficial, is if they included a HART course in the assessment/license process. My HART course was the best thing I ever did for my bike riding.
  4. I'm not sure about the supervised hours bit... logistically I'm not sure how that would work, but I do think it's too easy to get a license now. Certainly I'm all for riders having to show higher levels of competence before getting a licence, and I also agree with the notion that if you get your licence on an automatic such as a scooter you can't ride a manual bike.

  5. I just added this comment to the editorial's readers' comments page. I dunno if it will be published.

    Where you said this:

    "The reality is that, when a car and motorcycle come in contact, regardless of who is responsible, the bike will always come off second best.

    "Therefore, it is important that motorcyclists - especially new riders - are subjected to more rigorous laws and scrutiny that, it is hoped, will provide them with the skills necessary to stay alive."

    You've linked rider training, or the lack thereof, to the cause of crashes involving cars and bikes, despite the fact that in most cases it's the car driver that's to blame.

    So, why isn't there more focus on new drivers' lack of skills, and therefore, they will progress to "experienced" driver level with no appreciable improvement?

    We could start with banning parents from "teaching" their kids how to drive. If they want to go down this path then put provisions in place for them to get a Certificate IV in driver training and assesment.

    If it's good enough for industry where it's mandated that instructors are required to have such qualifications, then surely where road safety is concerned it should also be appropriate.
  6. 1. Supervision by incompetent people helps nobody. Look at cars: Parents don't teach their kids to drive well, because the parents don't drive well. They aren't going to call the kid out for not signaling, or not keeping an adequate following distance, etc.

    2. 3 years LAMS? Gimme a break. We all know that's ridiculous.

    3. The automatic transmission thing? I actually approve of this to an extent. I was somewhat shocked to learn that you can do your training on a scooter here, then go get a real bike.
  7. The ways i can see supervised hours working ?

    a) rider pays trainers to "supervise"
    b) rider rides with licensed friends (if they have them ?!)

    One possible outcome in some circles , is the new riders feel pressured to keep up leading to trouble.

    I think more involved compulsory training should be part of the testing component, like the hart courses mentioned above, over a number of days culminating in on road instruction, and on road test as well as a closed course component.

    I know it may be less practical in remote areas etc but all up 3 or 4 days 6 hours per day , plus the on road "real world" testing will give the testers a better idea of who can ride properly before being granted a license.

    unfortunately i think its more of a "right" now than a privilege, (all licenses not just bike) and it shouldn't be that way.
  8. Side note: bottom right corner of pic above....

    a thong.

  9. How many of the 34 fatalities were Learners?
    How many were Probationary?
    Introducing extra training and making it tougher to get a license will only affect the number of fatalities if the crashes were caused by inexperience. At least one of the 34 was an un-licensed rider, another was on a farm. One was caused by a car swerving into an oncoming group of riders (missing two and killing one).
    So how does extra training save these lives?
  10. Zenali
    You didn't go for your test 18th March this year at sommerton did you?
    Had a woman with same situation when I went for mine.
    On the morning, she did start on a manual but after a couple of goes asked for that scooter.
  11. Then why isn't the driver education being addressed?

  12. Why is there always tough-talk about ball-busting hard-hitting regulations and restrictions?

    How about, oh I dunno working WITH motorcyclists, providing training incentives etc? Theres never any respect for motorcyclists, only an attempt to beat them into submission.
  13. Joe - nope. HART was still at Tulla when I did mine.
  14. Well I agree that the licensing needs to change as it's really a joke as it stands.
    Logged hours is good but I have no idea how it can be monitored.

    LAMS for three years I think would probably need to be looked at as I'd say retailers and manufacturers may get involved in that one.
    I heard it was probably along the lines of LAMS for 12 months or any period where you need to wear P's.

    I'm just hoping that desicions will be made in consultation with rider groups, long term riders. My fear is that those with no idea about riding will have too much of an input.

    VicRides program is a good idea.....
    But then again, attitude is something no rule will cover which is a problem with all road users and not just motorcyclists.
  15. It is the Herald sun reporting on the Victorian gubbermint, Why would you expect and sense?
  16. Is that a high heel womans shoe next to the tree, goes with the thong, DUHHHHH.
  17. One thing that came quite clearly from the Motorcycle Community Forums (pdf report here) was that riders were in favour of tougher licensing, improved training, ongoing education, and improved training and licensing for cars as well. I don't think many people would disagree with the notion that it is too easy to get a license for a motorcycle at the moment in Victoria.

    What I don't want to see is licensing used as a barrier to prevent people from taking up motorcycling. If the supervised ride limitations are too severe, people won't be able to clock up the hours in time to get their license. If the costs of having hours and hours of trainer-supervised riding are too high, people won't be able to afford to get their license.

    On the whole I think that issuing a discussion paper is a good thing, provided it leads to constructive discussion. Remember, the paper hasn't even come out yet, and some of the options it will raise are simply that - options for discussion. It is not necessarily the government trying to stick the boot into riders. This is something that we've asked for when given the opportunity to give feedback to the government.

    Rather than reacting to media spin, how about we all take a deep breath and wait to see what is in the discussion paper? Then we should pick the option that works best for riders, and throw our weight behind it. Or if they are all dodgy, we suggest an alternative and explain clearly and concisely why our option is better.
  18. there will be a rush to get bike licences, prior to new new laws comming into effect... that will stimulate growth in the industry, which has been slow in Vic due to the wettest winter in history, second only to Pakistan aka WaterWorld.
    vast majority of riders in Vic are too ghey to ride in winter and wet.

    there will also be a steep increase in unlicenced riders taking to the roads, which is allready an epedemic.. and why all of us are routinely pulled over for licence checks and general harrasment.

    but the real worry is beyond these new laws, when they are shown to have no real effect on the amount of riders killed by retards in cars... and they inturn introduce harsher and tougher licencing laws.... just how far will they take it... will you have to resit tests periodically?... will you have to prove that you use the motorcycle frequently enough to retain a licence?

    oh well, when they eventually outlaw us all...it will be even more fun and cooler to ride a bike
  19. This is actually a good point. If the new licensing regime leads to more people riding unlicensed and untrained, that would most likely increase the road toll, not decrease it. Unlicensed riders on unregistered bikes are dramatically over-represented in the road toll.
  20. The one thing that I personally think can help, which might not be a popular idea, is people shouldn't be able to ride unless they have a full car drivers licence. My reason being there is no safer way to learn road craft than doing it in a car.

    Obviously this won't have any effect on people who already do this, but it will help out with the younger, more 'invincible' types. Also if people haven't riden in more than how ever many years they should need to re-test before legally being able to do so again.

    Plus making scooter and motorcycle licences seperate.

    When I went to get my licence a few years ago there was one girl who was all about getting a fully sick Ninja!!!
    Get out to ride and she dropped the bike twice when taking it off the stand and then two more times while riding. They then gave her a little pink scooter and no doubt she probably got the bike anyways.