Some further thoughts on FNP Currently we are making an assumption that the driver for FNP is that gantry mounted cameras that shoot oncoming vehicles on freeway are not detecting motorcyclists and the solution would be to turn the cameras around. I strongly suspect this is in fact a tiny part of the issue for the gun toting, camera loving enforcers and we are collectively barking around the wrong tree. My suspicion is that most of the oncoming motorcyclists that get their picture taken are in fact snapped by roadside cameras that normally enjoy a double whammy of productivity with our old mates the car drivers. These cameras obviously take picture of car rear numbers travelling away from the camera in the lane nearest and of course those approaching in the outer lane. The question then is would FNPs actually solve the problem and catch those naughty fun loving types on motorcycles in the oncoming lane? Let’s take a hypothetical and imagine for a moment that FNPs are in and we have three different motorcycles, a trail bike with one of those high front guards and plastic headlight surround. A naked bike like an XJR1200 with conventional guard and headlight with clocks mounted above and behind the light and finally a nice GSXR600. Our trailbike can have a funky number sticker on the headlight surround or Priceline ‘special offer’ style bracket and holder screwed to the front guard. The XJR has a bracket and plate holder screwed to the guard which required a trained Gibbon from VicRoads drilling two holes through the plastic of the guard and affixing the bracket with two self tapper screws whose pointy ends are now rubbing a new tread pattern in the front tyre on the inside of the guard. Alternatively there’s a nice arrangement of aerodynamically tested and ADR approved multiple brackets that lift the plate above or in front of the clocks. These are of course attached by the same Gibbon and you have paid $138 plus a special levy for his skill and expertise. What’s that you can put your hand over it to escape detection? You villain, surely you wouldn’t so something so dangerous, you can ride with one hand? – no stop it! Anyway, finally we come to our GSXR which has an attractive looking sticker applied across the screen by a VicRoads trained Gibbon. It’s slightly off centre and at an angle that makes the bike look like you made the whole thing at lunchtime. This of course can also be covered by your hand should you wish too, but hey, let’s not let that get in the way of a knee jerk reaction. It’s possible that the self-same Gibbon that also has a certificate for the use of power tools obtained through a special handling course may have decided that the same bracket and plate holder used so effectively on the XJR would suit the Gixxer. Having run out of self tappers, this entailed taking the guard off so that the nuts needed to secure the unplated 10mm bolts could be tightened on the inside. The guard that then no longer fitted without fouling the tyre had to be remounted higher which involved more drilling and more 10mm nuts and bolts and resulted in shocking vibration at 5000rpm and a strange weave at 100Kph. Of course, the camera cunningly deployed in front of a Toyota Camry on a straight stretch of road that has recently had its speed reduced from 70 to 60 for no other reason than, well it seemed like a good idea at the time, can now in theory catch the motorcycle miscreants in the oncoming lane. Or can it? We’ve already determined that a rider wishing to evade detection can simply cover the numbers with a hand in all cases with a plate mounted close enough, but is that what will happen? I suspect that most riders don’t know they’ve been snapped by a roadside in the other lane however, the small size of the numbers and the distance away from the camera will certainly reduce the capability of the camera a fair bit, add in a bit of road dirt and some bugs and things get even harder. As for the sportsbike that has a sticker angled mostly at the sky, that’s not gonna be an easy pic to read that for sure. It really is a bollocks idea isn't it? The FNP thing has a lot of issues and raises a lot of questions, the first of which in my mind is “who do I sue if this thing makes me crash?” After all unlike a car that has been designed to carry a front plate, my motorcycle which is the product of lots of R&D by very clever engineers - hasn’t. Then of course there’s “who will be qualified to fit the plates/stickers and how much is that going to cost me?” “What safety testing has been done to ensure that MY model of bike won’t be adversely affected?” “What do I do about the damage to my motorcycle resulting from the fitment of these things – who will compensate me?” It’s certain that the likes of VicPol, TAC et al will point to Singapore and India and say that ‘they have them’ – really, we really want to emulate the driving conditions of those countries? I thought we were supposed to be at the cutting edge of road safety, just remind me, how many riders are FNPs saving in India? Of course it’s going to be easy to slap a sticker on a police bike to ‘trial’ the effectiveness, but this is a complex and costly solution to a problem that represents a drop in the ocean of a highly questionable larger problem. Personally I think that we as road users have a right to know that ANY device that may or may not be affixed to our single track vehicles has been properly tested on all current motorcycles and any future motorcycles. That’s why we have ADRs. There is no way that manufacturers will make a special range of motorcycles with aerodynamically tested fixture mounts for FNPs just for Victoria or indeed Australia. The stats are one thing, but we should be asking the obvious questions that relate to the practicalities of a very impractical proposition. What question would you want VicRoads or VicPol to answer?