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VIC The Age : "Fears over 'death warrant' rider licensing"

Discussion in 'Politics, Laws, Government & Insurance' at netrider.net.au started by MrGrumpy, Jul 15, 2011.

  1. Whilst I totally agree the current licencing system in Vic (and probably other states aswell) is inadeqaute and needs to be overhauled, A trainer saying he feels like hes signing a death warrant seems a little extreme in my opinion.

    Taken from theage.com.au.

    Fears over 'death warrant' rider licensing Ian Munro
    July 15, 2011

    MOTORCYCLE use has soared in the past decade but the licensing system for riders is ''a joke'' and ''totally inadequate'', according to the private providers who conduct testing on behalf of VicRoads.

    Licensing agencies say the standard of riding required for a licence is so low that it is possible for applicants unsuited to road riding to fluke a pass.

    ''The fact that the minimum learner permit requires the use of first and second gear and a maximum speed of around 25km/h … now how can that be a preparation for on-road riding?'' said Ross Wright, Victorian manager for the national riding school Stay Upright.

    Advertisement: Story continues below Mark Collins, national manager for Honda Australia Rider Training, which trains 20,000 riders annually, says Victoria's system is inadequate.

    ''The learner test only tests three skills: the ability to ride slowly, the ability to corner at 10km/h and the ability to stop.

    ''You can see some very ugly stops from 20km/h, but if they are able to stop that motorcycle without dropping it within seven metres, we don't have a choice [but to issue the licence].''

    Authorities were alarmed earlier this year by a sudden rise in deaths, particularly among middle-aged men. While the death toll has fallen from a high of 64 in 2001 to 49 last year, inexperienced riders appear to be over-represented in accidents. This year's toll is 29 compared with 32 at the same time last year.

    VicRoads director of road user safety James Holgate said novice riders made up almost one in three of all rider fatalities and serious injuries.

    Pre-learner training is not compulsory in Victoria, but Mr Holgate said evidence from providers was that most learners had some training before taking the test. He said one option under consideration was mandatory pre-learner training.

    Mark Davidson, a rider trainer and tester with 12 years' experience, said: ''We are sending people out underprepared. I sometimes feel like I am signing someone's death warrant.''

    He said he didn't believe any trainer in the state agreed with

    the current system. Trainers said the only recourse when an underprepared rider passed was to urge them to seek more training.

    Motorbike and motor scooter registrations have doubled in the past 10 years as traffic congestion and fuel costs have increased. The number of Victorians holding motorbike licences is up more than 13 per cent since 2008, to 336,000.

    Mr Wright said there were particular concerns with middle-aged riders returning to riding after many years. ''The returning riders may have had a licence when they were a uni student when there was a third of the traffic there is now, and then they can afford to buy a swish new go-fast motorbike.''

    Transport Accident Commission figures show riders aged 40 to 59 make up almost half the fatalities since January 2009 (54 of 115 riders killed).

    VicRoads is analysing results from a survey last year of riders' attitudes to licensing reform and the possible introduction of a ''graduated licence system''.

    Mr Holgate said there was little evidence to suggest what would be the best possible licensing system for motorbikes.

    The State Parliament's road safety committee is to investigate motorcycle safety and will report by June 30 next year
  2. #2 smileedude, Jul 15, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 24, 2015

    Person who makes money out of training riders thinks that riders need to do more training. Editor Obvious strikes again.
  3. In the context in which it was said, that 'death warrant' line was entirely appropriate and correct and I know what he means and even agree with him, but I wish the hell he hadn't said it to a reporter with an agenda, because quoted out of context, or worse, with partial context, it's going to look bad.

    I'm cautiously for better training, even higher standards and stricter testing, but I'm very against using that as another disincentive, another way of raising the bar of taking up motorcycling. We need more motorcyclists - not less. Every time we make it harder and more expensive and more complex and awkward, we send people away frustrated, to take up base jumping, drifting, chroming, train surfing and crack-whore traffic planking. Next thing you know, they'll be joining the clergy, or running for public office or something. Become journalists reporting the carbon tax or something else without a shred of human dignity.
  4. agreed.

    I should have expanded on what I said regarding his statement. When I did my learners even I had to shake my head at a couple of the people who passed. They did what was required though and therefore within the current guidlines the trainers didnt have any choice but to pass them. But making a statement like that to a journo will just make the general public think that everyone going through the current system is useless and therefore we are even more to blame for any accidents we may be involved in because we clearly dont have the skills to be on the road in the first place.
  5. The learners test isn't supposed to be the 'everything you will ever need to know about motorcycling' course, it is just to make sure that you can perform some simple manoeuvres to get you started on the road. From there the onus is on the rider to choose location suitable to their skills to learn.
  6. Novice riders featuring in the stats is partially about their skill level, but I think it could have a lot more to do with exposure.

    Novice riders ride for any reason at all. It's a new love and they're in the "honeymoon" period. So their exposure to risk, i.e., time out on the roads, is usually much higher than experienced riders. IMO, increasing their road and bike skill prior to being "unleashed" will make them safer and the stats should reflect it.

    The current licensing regime isn't brilliant, but a rider who passes confidently and competently isn't someone with a death warrant over their head. There should be a much stronger competency component in my opinion, but the direction of the proposed Vic GLS is to control the exposure / road environment side instead, which seems to be the classic vision zero mentality. I struggle with the direction because having a poorly trained rider in hi viz and only allowed to ride in daylight hours doesn't make them a safer rider in a shorter amount of time.

  7. Weird article. the stats they provide actually show the death toll has fallen. So Whats the point of the article?
  8. I'm all for more training for new riders.

    The current "pre-learner" training (at least in Vic) simply teaches students how to pass the L's test.

    It's not a good situation that too many new riders "struggle to corner", "have problems leaning", "don't cope with freeway speeds" etc and are forced to learn these skills in their first few months on the road.

    The answer? Expensive (subsidised), extensive, track training coupled with one on one road mentoring?
  9.  Top
  10. It was written by Ian Munro. A very anti-motorcycle journo who was political press officer for the Bracks government. Lots of negative press releases about motorcycles seem to have his name attached to them these days. Wonder who's paying him?
  11. and that registrations have increased.

    I don't think anyone would say that the current training level is very good. I certainly haven't heard it, but, agreed that having it said like that to a reporter... yuk. All they want is a catch line that'll sell news. That was an AWESOME catch line.

    If they're that concerned tho, why don't these trainers put some of their own time into helping newbies learn (ala Hawklord etc who volunteer their time every week). If there were sessions that new L plated riders could be funneled into... I think it would've been awesome to have been told after getting my L's, "now, if you go to xxx you can do some more free training every week ....." Hell, point them at NR sessions if they don't want to do it them selves.

    Then there's the VicPol. They are some of the best trained riders in the country. Why can't they have a dedicated training center set up. Have x days per week with lessons (even if it's only 1) and HELP. Instead, there is too much concern about liability (my Mr(Mrs) police officer told me to do that....)

    When I was growing up, we had blue light discos (run by police) PCYC (police citizens youth club) which had all sorts of activities (boxing, basketball etc) all mixing with police.

    Instead of this, we get the occasional training organised, and then cancelled 5 minutes later.
  12. #12 bulby, Jul 15, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 24, 2015
    In all honesty, I may have been one of those novices who fluked the test. Which is why I'm far from confident when it comes to riding in traffic.

    As much as I hate to agree with The Age journalists' sentiments, this one is actually true. In fact, I've been thinking about it since I've passed my L's test - That it was a little too easy. If said "lucky" newbie fails to realise that they need more practice / training before going out on the roads / freeway... well... more often than not, they're just ill prepared.

    FWIW, I might just be rather pessimistic. But better be safe than sorry, yes? :)
  13. Hate to say it but I can't see how more pre L's training & better initial rider competency can be implemented without a corresponding increase in difficulty & cost..

    The question is probably more along the lines of how to keep those factors within reasonable limits...

    I can add that I was amazed that a few of the people on my course actually passed, one guys idea of a swerve was a slow tilt in the direction he wanted to go, he still passed when most of the rest of us were going beyond the outer yellow line, I was by no means experienced enough to judge people to any great extent, but even I could see how under skilled some people were.

    On that note I was very cautious about my initial time on the road, spent a few days just riding around the back streets getting used too the bike before I did a few quick jaunts on faster roads, either way I felt ill equipped to deal with riding in traffic after I first got my L's...
  14. I part agree with this - more training would of course be of benefit and should be introduced at some level but not to a point where it makes getting a licence overly complex. If this was the case I fear it could just be a means to reduce the number of bikes on the roads (kneedragons point) and I still feel that in all states we struggle to indicate that its possible for motorcycling to be not just a leisure activity but a important means of transport with benefits not only restricted to the riders themselves (congestion, environment etc). The focus of motorcycle use tends to always focus on the rider and nothing about the wider community apart form hospital costs or other negative issues.

    Riders should have the option of doing a more comprehensive course or indicate they have an experienced rider that would be able to spend x number of hours with some further one on one road mentoring.
  15. Yeah, does look like the article has been updated or replaced. The current one, in all honesty, is pretty balanced IMO.

    Couple of points I noted:
    1. Vicroads have formally abandoned the policy of not doing anything to make motorcycling safer (and hence more popular). That they had that policy in the first place is appalling.
    2. No 'spin' from TAC or MUARC included - amazing!
    3. It actually seems to me that motorcycling licensing is less rigorous than it was 20+ years ago when I go my license. There was definitely no 'test-only' option available to me back then. It was run directly by Vicroads and you needed to do 2 full days training to get each license level. Furthermore, you were not even given the opportunity to do the test unless the instructors were satisfied that you were ready. I believe all that changed when it was privatised.
    4. A quote (and a good one) from Victorian Motorcycle Council? It exists, and the media can find it, even if I can't... interesting.
  16. I didn't mind this article. Seemed a lot better, putting out the point of view of MC riders, and the emotional reasons for them doing it.

    1. agreed
    2. agreed
    3. about 40 years ago when my dad got his, they filled out the license, gave it to him, said, "I need to see you ride", (already gave him the license) he rode about 20 meters, they said, "right-o, off you go then".
  17. I wouldn't have a problem with the expense of track training if the required participation wasn't too great - say a couple of days. You can learn a huge amount in a short time in that environment.

    Paid on-road mentoring would be far too expensive - that's one of the reasons that the authorities are willing to allow parents to mentor their children to drive cars.
    But if the government were to require log-book style mentoring of an unpaid nature, a club or organisation interested in rider safety and promoting motorcycling might see a role for itself in providing that mentoring...
  18. Professor Marcus Wigan, MRA(Vic) Patron was interviewed on 3AW at 7.15am today.

    He gave an excellent run down on what VMAC had strived towards achieving on this subject.

    Did anyone, other than me hear it? he certainly did an excellent job of putting it in perspective.
  19. To be honest I didn't think the test was easy to pass until I started going to Saturday morning practice.

    Much tighter turns and emergency braking at speeds above 20km/hr, resulted in me missing a few cones on each pass and stacking from a front wheel lock up. I've only been to two of these sessions now, but every sessions makes me a better rider.

    So yes, I'd welcome more training. How to do it without a much bigger monetary expense to the aspiring motorcyclists? not sure.
  20. Why do motorcycles end up in the papers so much in Victoria?