A brief heads up on what came out of the VMAC meeting Monday. First the Community Policing and EDUCATION programme which many of the Council had some issues with when it was prematurely released. Essentially it was a major stuff up in communications with the agencies. Had we been consulted and had the opportunity to examine the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) prior to the announcement there would not have been a problem. I've now had the opportunity to read the MoU between VicRoads and VicPolice on this one. It's "Commercial in Confidence" however VicPol are amenable to it being published - VicRoads are taking it under consideration. I have asked that it be published because it is a really positive document and would allay a lot of the fear, suspicion and doubt that's out there. What I can say is that the MoU explicitly states that VicPol may NOT purchase items such as bikes, mobile radars etc out of the funding for this project. There is nothing in the MoU that I could find that is in any way objectionable. It is a very positive document - particularly refers to the education component. While the diversionary process in not in it as yet - it is still a "work in progress". There will need to be legislative and regulatory changes to allow for it as well as a training program to be set up. It looks to me as if VicPol have gone ahead with the release of this programme in good faith believing that VMAC had officially signed off on it. Hence their first operation. Future operations will be notified - the area won't be however. The figures of about 640 riders being stopped - as reported by the police - were exactly that. They were stopped for licence and breath tests - no rider was over .05 (almost all blew 0.0) and the number of people actually booked came to less than one per hour per cop. About 1/6 of what they would usually consider to be the normal rate. I believe a lot of warnings were issued for minor offences and people were booked only for more serious breaches (Given that the booking rate was less than half of one percent, I can well believe this). Car drivers intercepted for misbehaving by police motorcycles were also given a talk on why their behaviour was dangerous to motorcycles - along the lines of "I'm a motorcycle rider and what you have done could put me in danger". One thing the police did take on board was that they are looking at ways to minimise inconvenience for any riders - they really don't want people pulled over for a licence or breath test more than once. This is a matter of some concern and they would probably appreciate suggestions on how to overcome this. I know that there were people who got pulled over up to 3 times in that last operation and they agree that that's unacceptable. Part of the education program will involve 100 non-motorcycle TMU cops being put through a motorcycle awareness course at HART. I also noted that Assistant Commissioner (Traffic) Ken Lay has booked in for it as well. The program is Community Policing and EDUCATION - not enforcement. The Police operational name is "Yellow Flag, Black Flag" - yellow for the warning and education part - black for the enforcement part. The education for riders - until there's a diversionary part of the programme - will involve speaking to riders about their riding style and what could be done to improve it - speaking to riders about appropriate gear - handing out information and having one of their mobile command centre available at a central point in the area to provide information (if one is available - obviously none are at present) and possibly having some first aid demonstrations and other such related stuff there as well. There was some confusion with the information from VicRoads to the police about the naming. We (VMAC) saw the naming as being extremely important because that has a lot to do with the expecatations of the cops participating. If it's called "enforcement" they will obviously push that part - whereas if it's "education" then they will realise that's what the expectation is. The education is not just for riders - but also for car drivers who exhibit behaviour dangerous to riders, but also (as I said before) for police. Further to this the "Assisted Rides" tender should be announced shortly as to who will be conducting the training of up to 2000 riders - along the small group lines of the Yarra Ranges programme - and who will be doing the project evaluation and research as to the effectiveness. The new Victorian Powered Two Wheels Safety and Transport Strategy is very close to its final sign off and release. It covers a very broad range of areas - more than even the UK strategy and explictly covers a lot of issues that have been raised both on the various forums and elsewhere. The last draft I saw was an explicit endorsement of the fact that motorcycles and scooters have a definite place in the transport system and should be seen as part of the solution rather than part of the problem. Knowing the bureaucracyies involved, I can't give even an estimate of when it could be released but I expect it to be sooner rather than later. I have spoken to the Minister's adviser and requested that it should be issued before the end of March. The final thing is the DVD and book on engineering roads to be motorcycle safe developed out of the levy funding that has been released by VicRoads. This looks to be an excellent piece of work that should go out to all those involved with road engineering in Victoria (and will probably go much further than that). I'll post up the formal Chairman's communique when it's released.