Road deaths overall are down but motorcycle rider deaths are up

Road deaths overall are down but motorcycle rider deaths are up

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While road deaths in New Zealand are the lowest they have been in the past five years, motorcycle rider deaths are increasing.

As of October 14, 245 people have died on New Zealand roads compared with 266 for the same time period in 2019.

However, there has been an increase in motorcycle rider deaths, with Ministry of Transport data showing 41 motorcycle riders have died on the roads this year, compared with 36 in 2019.

More motorcyclists have died on the road in 2020 compared with 2019 (file photo).

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More motorcyclists have died on the road in 2020 compared with 2019 (file photo).

Since September, 12 riders have died.

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Riders were some of the most vulnerable road users and as such, they face greater trauma, national manager of road policing acting Superintendent Gini Welch said.

Speed decides whether you survive a crash, or how badly you’re injured, and it’s not just in relation to the speed limit.

Going too fast for the conditions could look like taking a corner too fast, or not slowing down when the weather changed and caused the road surface to get slick.

“Everybody thinks they are a good rider, and you may well be, but people around you can make mistakes – and these could impact on you.”

In the Waikato police district, there have been nine deaths in 2020 to date compared with four in the same period for 2019.

Motoring safety commentator and writer Clive Matthew-Wilson.

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Motoring safety commentator and writer Clive Matthew-Wilson.

Middle-aged men on motorbikes were dying at a rate of about one a week, road safety campaigner Clive Matthew-Wilson said.

“Motorcyclists now make up about 16 per cent of all road deaths.”

He said it was time to make it much harder to get a motorbike licence.

“As we age, our reaction times slow, and our ability to control a motorbike drops substantially.

“There needs to be a much tougher testing regime for all riders.”

Matthew-Wilson was shocked the Government still allowed motorbikes to be sold without anti-skid brakes, which had a proven ability to prevent accidents.

“The benefits of anti-skid brakes on motorbikes are really dramatic.

“Yet there are many bikes on sale without it.

“This is completely unacceptable.”

Riders should check their bikes to make sure they were still in good condition after being in the garage, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency general manager of safety, health and environment Greg Lazzaro said.

In 2019, 54 motorcyclists were killed and 1,438 were injured on New Zealand roads.

“We want everybody to get where they’re going safely.

“October is Motorcycle Awareness Month, so this is the perfect time for riders to think about safety and perhaps even look into a skills refresh, such as ACC’s Ride Forever courses.”

Some safety tips for motorcycle riding – always have an appropriate licence and an appropriate motorcycle for the licence conditions.

Ensure your motorcycle was warranted and in safe working condition and wear the right safety clothing and footwear.

Wear an approved safety helmet and if you are riding a motorcycle that was manufactured on or after January 1, 1980, the headlight must be switched on at all times when on the road.

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