Below is a summary showing where the draft national road safety strategy mentions motorcycles/motorcyclists. For most points, I've added comments that seem applicable. There are plenty of other aspects in the strategy which will have an impact on motorcycling - via universal application of strategies across all road users. I haven't mentioned them here. I'm hoping to generate some motorcycle specific discussion about these strategies. The strategy and the link to submit reviews (due Feb 11th) can be found here: http://infrastructure.gov.au/roads/safety/national_road_safety_strategy/index.aspx = = = = = = Page 8, Table 3 - fatality and injury stats. 16% of all road fatalities. 22% of all road injuries. Comment: Can't place my hand on it right now, but I read a motorcycle fatality study which showed that upwards of 20% of MC fatalities were from unlicensed/never licensed riders often not wearing helmets. This would tend to over state the stats. No references given for the stats in the table. = = = = = = Page 9 - Key challenges section - goal is to reduce the number of serious crashes. Comments: Are the VKT figures right? No references given for the single vehicle crash figures - are they right? The Safer Roads aspect of the strategy should directly improve and reduce crash stat figures. This is a positive. = = = = = = Page 9: Key challenges section - Between 2000 and 2009 the number of motorcyclist deaths increased by 18 per cent. Rebuttal:- Motorcycle fatality stats from 2000 - 2009 do show an 18% increase - which is a very selective use of stats. This paints a very negative picture of motorcycling safety, however if 2010 is factored in, then the picture changes somewhat, there a 2% decrease compared to the 2000 baseline. In the last three years, there's been a strong and consistent reduction in fatalities. Given that motorcycle registrations almost doubled in the decade, this suggests that there's been a genuine real terms downward reduction. = = = = = = Page 13 - mentions that public transport is safer than cars and motorcycles. The strategy makes a strong statement that the fewer people using light vehicles, the fewer people that will die. This is a bold exposure based argument, i.e., get people off the roads. This is only one of two mentions of public transport in the strategy however, and the strategy has very little in it to encourage public transport. = = = = = = Page 20, Table 8 - The table of crash problem areas recognises that safer roads will provide the biggest benefit to motorcycle safety. It also indicates that the Safe Speeds and Safe People cornerstones will both have an equal benefit on MC safety, but both individually lesser than the impact of Safer Roads. Comment: Despite the table, the strategy is heavily biased and strongly focuses towards speed and compliance as key directions to improve safety. = = = = = = Page 27: Safe Roads "First steps" section, step 4, directs infrastructure improvements for VRU's - in terms of motorcycling, this relates to treatments for popular motorcycling roads. Comment: This is a good positive for MC's. = = = = = = Page 28: Safe Roads "Future steps" section, recommends that all jurisdictions conduct motorcycling black spot and black link road treatments possibly funded by a levy on compulsory 3rd party insurance. Comment: Evidence shows that all road users experience a reduction in crashes on roads that have been given motorcycling friendly treatments. A funding model that is strictly levy funded is unbalanced. = = = = = = Page 30: Has figures that shows a motorcyclist/car collision is likely to be fatal at >30km/h Comment: A strong focus on safe speeds, directionally towards 30km/h, is likely to be unpopular, impractical and inhibit mobility. It also misses some critical learnings from motorcyclists considering and implementing vision zero principles overseas. PTW's have different needs and can employ different strategies to manage and maintain their safety - primarily that MC friendly road treatments and advanced MC training have been shown to provide large practical safety benefits. = = = = = = Page 36: Safe Speeds "Future steps" section includes examining options for improved enforcement of motorcycle speeding. Comment: What's the evidence that speeding motorcyclists are getting away with speeding, and/or are featuring in the road stats? What options are likely to be examined? Front number plates, RFID, black boxes, GPS, turning the cameras around?? We need to know. IIRC, Victorian figures showed something like 1000 MC's per year avoided a speeding fine due to lack of front number plate or other plate recognition issue. Pointing the camera's the other way would almost wipe out this number. = = = = = = Page 40: Safe Vehicles "First steps" step 20, recommends preparing a Regulatory Impact Statement RIS to consider mandating ABS for motorcycles. Comment: It would be worth reviewing the position taken by FEMA and other EU motorcycling organisations on vision zero's mandatory ABS proposals. righttoride.co.uk is against mandatory ABS. FEMA recommends that it be switchable. There are papers that conclude that ABS might have saved many riders from fatalities. One U.S. study says a 20% reduction in fatalities. One Euro study suggests a 50% reduction. I suspect that these are optimistic assessments - but I haven't reviewed the papers in detail. I suspect some fatalities with preceding skid marks might have been rear wheel skid marks - it's doubtful ABS would have helped in these instances. ABS is a recognised safety feature, with recognised benefits, but there are many practical tests showing that in the dry, good skills can out brake all but the most state of the art ABS systems. ABS uniformly outbrakes skill in the wet. The issue here though is that cheaper bikes will have cheaper ABS systems which have been shown to destabalise bikes during braking and result in greater braking distances - this will both negatively impact rider safety and reduce the affordability of bikes. State of the art systems also can also factor lean angle into heavy braking, which is something simple systems can not. Mandatory ABS is not the panacea car-centric regulators think it will be. Concern: Reliance on external driver/rider aids can directionally reduce the competence of the rider, in particular lulling novice riders into a false sense of security. It reduces the tendency for riders to focus on improving their basic skill sets. This is bad for riding and riders in general. = = = = = = Page 41: Safe Vehicles "Future steps" section recommends investigating the scope for regulatory action to further improve stability, traction and braking standards on motorcycles supplied to the Oz market. Comment: Does this mean mandatory traction control? MC advocacy groups needs to consider this carefully and advise authorities accordingly. There are some clear cases where mandatory ATC may impact on safety of the rider e.g low traction surfaces - in these scenarios, ATC should be able to be turned off. Could ATC on motorbikes enhance highside potential?? ATC in cars applies braking to the appropriate wheel to help avoid a skid - but cars are dynamically and statically stable vehicles. If ATC on motorbikes is simply a wheel spin control, how does this enhance safety? = = = = = = Page 43: The "Safe people" "What is known" section points out that graduated licensing arrangements are shown to have benefits for novice riders. Comment: It's interesting that items such as this, which point out the benefits of training, are peppered throughout the DNRSS but the strategy fails to recognise the benefit to the road system as a whole if basic competency was improved across the board. Depending on the GLS model that's employed, gaining an MC license could become prohibitively expensive or impractical. The danger here is that car-centric authorities with car-centric views will mandate car-centric models onto compulsory basic training. Square peg into a round hole anyone? = = = = = = Page 43: The same section points out that MC riders are highly vulnerable compared to motorists due to lack of vehicle crash protection and the inherent difficulty from handling a vehicle with two wheels. Comment: This is a statement of the obvious and it's the base argument/basis driving the discussion about the better training of novice riders. Several states have introduced or modified novice rider GLS on the basis of this argument. It's also a relevant argument to drive the base case improvement of the competency of all riders. The vulnerability of PTW's and other VRU's is also an excellent argument to make a case for improving the basic competency of all road users. Since drivers are protected by crumple zones and cages, they are often lax in their driving since they feel secure. Drivers should be given an additional duty of care and be made more accountable for the safety of VRU's, which could be managed via improvements in their basic competency and road laws. = = = = = = Page 44: Safe People aims by 2020:- Best practice GLS for drivers and riders and increase use of effective protective equipment by motorcyclists. Comment: This is another location in the strategy that points to the safety benefits of improving rider/driver competence - yet again the strategy fails to take the logical leap about the safety benefits of improving competence of all road users. The comment about protective equipment could be a wolf in sheeps clothing, regarding the mandating of safety gear. Mandating safety gear will drive up it's costs and consequently reduce uptake of motorcycling. = = = = = = Page 44: Safe People "First steps" Step 30, requires jurisdictions to review licensing arrangements for motorcycles riders. This includes examining graduated restrictions for novice riders including a minimum period with car licence PLUS education and training recommendations IF PROVEN TO DELIVER ROAD SAFETY BENEFITS. Comment: It would be worth everyone taking the time to consider whether they support a car before MC license model, or support the current status quo. There's no further discussion in the strategy about why the car first model has benefits but I suspect it's probably more of the same car-centric mentality shining through. I'm on the fence on this one... I think the current model might not be working as well as it could due to other reasons, such as quality of training delivery. It's interesting that the strategy has a statement that queries whether training will deliver road safety benefits - whilst it clearly references such benefits elsewhere. This is puzzling. If training delivers such questionable results, why do police, ambulance, fire brigade, fleet operators etc., all require their employees to undertake advanced driver training? Why do licensing jurisdictions require specifically targeted training for different classes of vehicles commensurate with the risk they represent? Why have all licensing jurisdictions moved to GLS if not about improving the competency of road users? There's a recent FEMA media release about vision zero principles for motorcycling which categorically makes a clear statement about the safety benefits of advanced training. = = = = = = Page 44: Step 31, Investigate licensing options to improve the safety of returning MC riders. Comment: And yet again, another comment that points to the safety benefits of training and of improved rider competence. It's probably one of the strongest statements in the paper next to a comment on page 45 about competency based training of heavy vehicle drivers above age 25. The comment stands to reason, a rider who has been off the bike for many years would have lost their skills. Intuitively, it's easy to understand how Intermediate/advanced training for a returning rider would have safety benefits. = = = = = = Page 44: Step 32, Develop a national helmet assessment and rating program ton stimulate market demand for safest helmet and examine options for other protective gear. Comment: Where's the evidence that such systems are needed? What's wrong with the current helmet standard? What evidence is there to indicate that standards approved helmets vary significantly in their safety results? This potentially is a thin edge of the wedge strategy towards mandatory gear and mandated gear standards... and all it's consequent costs. = = = = = = Discuss!