03-07-2012 Visiting Australians ask MAG for opinion
MAG recently gave evidence to the Victoria State Road Safety Committee from Australia. The visiting delegation wanted to understand the rider's perspective and they seemed very receptive to MAG's ideas. Much of the discussion was based on the part road infrastructure and design can play in reducing casualties and all the delegates took info packs about Get A Grip and the various non-slip technology that is now available.
Training and testing was discussed at length, because although they wish to reduce motorcycle casualties they do not currently conduct a bike test on the public highway and the equivalent of CBT takes only 3 hours including a written theory test. At no point is the student introduced to the road network until they are sent off with their certificate. They have no quality assurance system to check trainer qualifications, but the delegation was interested to know MAG's opinion of Intelligent Transportation Systems or ITS. ITS includes external throttle control and a bike deciding how it should be ridden. We hope that they shall consider education over legislation, clothing standards or electronics to help reduce casualties.
Another issue debated was the extra $50 tax that is placed on every rider's bike, every year, in order to raise funds for 'special provision' like lower aprons on crash barriers so that hitting them doesn't kill riders. The Great Ocean Road for example from Melbourne towards Adelaide, hugs the coast in a very scenic and challenging way, but the wind can be horrific and bikes blown into the barriers. This 'user pays' principle is not applied to other parts of society, so MAG's campaign's manager Paddy Tyson made it very clear that it shouldn't be in this instance either. Highways authorities have a duty of care to all road users and the very idea of central taxation is to ensure that funds come out of the central pot when needed, regardless of which part of society needs them. Should only smokers be charged for all research into lung cancer? Or only those in favour of war pay for the military? More specifically, Paddy argued that if the Victorian Government was to be consistent, bikers should be exempt from contributing to road 'improvements', like carriageway widening, or expanding junctions to make life easier for trucks. Bikers generally have no need of dual carriageways or the removal of corners...
The picture includes members of the Parliamentary delegation, with MAG's Paddy Tyson and Jeff Stone of the BMF.