OK... we finally have prevailed on communications at VMAC and there's going to be an official communiquÃ© from the chair (Neil O'Keefe) after each meeting. This one is still in draft form so I've left bits off that have been queried by some of the members (officially it's not for release yet but I'm jumping the gun a little) The stuff in italics is the official statements. What's under it is my comments... Victorian Motorcycle Safety and Transport Strategic Plan VicRoads is convening a workshop in late June or early July to further shape this plan. VMAC members will be invited to participate. VMAC would like to see more emphasis on motorcycles and scooters in the transport mix as well as the inclusion of off-road riding issues. This is a major win. What it means is that for the first time in Australia we have a state roads authority that is prepared to look at motorcycles and scooters as something other than a "safety" problem. With a transport strategy in the offing it gives us the opportunity to raise issues like road sharing (including bus lanes, filtering, advanced stop lines etc.) and ways to take advantage of what powered two wheelers have to offer. Mopeds and licensing VMAC decided to await more information on the involvement of scooters in crashes before determining its position and advising the Minister on licensing requirements. There has been a levy funded research project on this. The report is due to presented and discussed at the next meeting. Hopefully we will finally have some definitive information which can be used to feed into the decision making process about things like licencing and training. Front identifiers for motorcycles VMAC was advised that a proposal on front identifiers for motorcycles has not been put forward to the Australian Transport Council and therefore no decision has been made on the future of this matter. Any decision will be made by the ATC - not by an individual state. The fact that no proposal has been made is in fact a very good thing. It really looks as if the work that the AMC has been doing has been been successful and that this is now dead in the water. Community policing and enforcement The "community policing" project aims to increase the number of police motorcycles in action as part of a strategy to increase driver awareness of motorcyclists in general. In relation to "policing" of errant motorcycle rider behaviour, the project also includes a substantial shift in emphasis in the police motorcycle unit from direct enforcement to training, information and education of riders to improve behaviour, skills and safety awareness. VMAC is continuing to work with Victoria Police and VicRoads in refining the development of the education and training package and the funding proposal for additional police motorcycles. In this regard, it was noted that there was strong opposition from motorcycling organisations to the use of Motorcycle Safety Levy funds to purchase motorcycles for Police. A range of alternative options is being explored. Under the regulations for the levy there must be an enforcement component. However there's enforcement and then there's enforcement. What we are looking at is something with a serious educational component - not (as was mooted some years ago) buying radars for cop bikes. Yes - there's an aim to have more police motorcycles on the road so they can carry out this project. No we don't want it paid for from the levy - and we can pretty well guarantee that it won't be. This project is still under debate and still needs refinement. Part of this MAY involve putting non-riding cops through some basic motorcycle training and education about motorcycling. Nothing is set in stone for this project yet and there some other ideas and suggestions that still need to be examined. There still needs to be assurance about on-going funding (non-levy), police co-operation and how it will all work. Inspector Miller - thep olice rep on VMAC - has already promised a shift in emphasis by the police motorcycles to targeting car behaviours that negatively affect motorcyclists. There are also other educational and diversionary aspects proposed that may form part of the community policing proposal. Assisted Rides project VMAC endorsed funding of the Assisted Rides project which will develop a curriculum, and trial and evaluate an on-road rider assistance program. It was agreed that the program should recruit participants throughout the calendar year. This is a major project - based on the assisted rides concept in the past couple of years in the Yarra Ranges, it will involve up to 2000 riders. The evaluation part of the project will require a lot of work but it will be a world first. No one has carried out this sort of on-road training and evaluation before. Hopefully some preliminary work will start once the curriculum is developed before the end of the year. Where, when and how is still being developed. VicRoads membership The VicRoads road safety representative on VMAC is now Mr David Shelton, Director Road User Safety. This is a big jump in the priority that VicRoads has assigned. We've moved from a middle management representative to a senior management representative. Our input is now being taken a whole lot more seriously. When I rang and left a message that I wanted to discuss the EastLink barriers, I got a return call from senior management within 5 minutes. They are taking the issue of these barriers very seriously and I hope to have more information next week. The rider and industry group has largely prevailed in the matter of levy funds for on-road treatments and money will go into the "off road" works (for example the assisted rides program). There are several major projects under consideration at present and there are some significant proposals being put. Hopefully they can be covered as they come up.