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Editor of car review website dogandlemon Matthew Wilson says the high numbers of motorbike deaths in New Zealand has indicated a call for urgent action.
Over Labour Weekend two fatal accidents involved motorbikes.
“Last year, 54 motorcyclists were killed, and 1,438 were injured on our roads, Motorcyclists now make up about 16% of road deaths. It’s clearly time to heavily restrict the use of these death machines,” said Matthew-Wilson.
“A large majority of those killed were aged between 40-59. In 70% of fatal accidents involving motorbikes, the rider was at fault. However, there have also been many totally innocent riders killed by careless drivers.”
The risk of being killed or injured in an accident on New Zealand roads is twenty-one times higher for motorcyclists than risk that car drivers can face over an equal distance travelled.
“The bottom line is this: it’s really unsafe to ride a motorbike and even more unsafe if it’s a big bike and you’re middle-aged,” said Matthew-Wilson.
“As we age, our reaction times slow, and our ability to control a large, moving object such as a motorbike drops substantially. There needs to be a much tougher testing regime for all riders, which gets tougher the older you get and the larger the motorbike.”
The government has caused concerns for Matthew after they’ve continued to support courses such as ACCs ‘Ride Forever’ course.
He understands that the government is serious in making sure the programme is back but as far as international research shows; advanced training for motorcyclists has little to no effect on crash numbers.
“I don’t doubt that the riders who attend the Ride Forever course have better outcomes. But it’s the attitude of the rider that affects the outcome, not the course. Impeccable research shows that when riders are selected at random to attended refresher courses, it either makes no difference or slightly increases the chances of having an accident due to overconfidence,” said Matthew-Wilson.
“This has been demonstrated in study after study, and the road toll speaks for itself.”
A large shock that Matthew still can’t get his head around how the government can allow motorbikes to be sold without anti-skid breaks — “The benefits of anti-skid brakes on motorbikes are really dramatic. Yet there are many bikes on sale without it. This is completely unacceptable,” he said.
“Road safety advertising campaigns also make no difference. Fifty years of research has shown this. There is virtually no credible research showing the opposite. I’m sorry, but this is true,” concluded Matthew-Wilson.