The Road Ahead : August September 2007
FEATURES 12 AUG/SEP 07 STORY JIM MATHERS Queensland's Travelsafe Committee wants the State Government to overhaul the competency-based Q-RIDE motorbike rider training scheme. Travelsafe is a bi-par tisan Queensland Parliamentar y committee which monitors and investigates road safety and public transpor t issues. The committee's recent inquir y into Q-RIDE resulted in 24 recommendations which, if implemented, would require at least some mandator y training and make it harder for people to obtain a motorbike licence. The inquir y was under taken in a climate of rising motorbike crash fatalities and injuries. Queensland Transpor t data shows that each week on average, one motorbike rider is killed on state roads and 15 more are hospitalised. Last year, 61 people died in motorbike crashes. This represented 18 percent of Queensland road fatalities, yet motorbikes accounted for just 3 percent of vehicle registrations. The last two years were Queensland's worst for motorbike fatalities and injuries in two decades. This state now accounts for one quar ter of the nation's motorbike crash deaths. Nine out of 10 are males. According to Travelsafe chairperson Jim Pearce MP, the Q- RIDE scheme has been ver y popular, but safety standards appear to have slipped. "Almost 85 percent of new riders are now getting their licences through Q-RIDE," Mr Pearce said, "but it has problems. "It has dropped the minimum standards required to get a licence in Queensland. It has allowed many new riders with little or no riding experience to star t riding on the road earlier, and on ver y large and power ful bikes. "This has bypassed some of the best features of the graduated licensing system." He said Q-RIDE was plagued by inconsistencies in the level and quality of training provided. "Each training provider is allowed to work out their own courses, and there has been little emphasis on training outcomes," Mr Pearce said. "All riders should be subject to the same, rigorous standard of testing and licensing in Queensland. Any less will see more and more bike deaths." Among other things, Travelsafe recommended that: • All learner riders be required to hold a learner licence for a minimum of six months before being eligible to obtain a provisional licence. • Restricted licences should be held for at least 12 months before riders progress to an open class licence. • Queensland Transpor t investigates the benefits of introducing fur ther graduated licensing conditions for novice riders and develops an learner rider assessment process. • Q-RIDE competencies include additional hazard perception training. • Queensland Transpor t devises mandator y, standardised training curricula for all Q-RIDE registered training providers, assists them to locate suitable off-road training facilities, par ticularly in regional areas, and regularly monitors and audits providers. • It becomes mandator y to carr y rider and driver licences. • Licensing requirements for moped riders are reviewed. Meanwhile, RACQ is actively involved in the Motorbike Safety Working Group, a committee which is chaired by Queensland Transpor t and includes representatives from such organisations as Main Roads, Queensland Police, the Motorcycle Riders Association of Queensland and the Ulysses Club. Queensland Transpor t's recently launched motorbike safety adver tising campaign, targeting both riders and car drivers, can be found at www.motorbikesafety.qld.gov.au. Young driver laws introduced last month require that motorbike riders now hold a provisional driver's licence for 12 months before being eligible for a motorbike learner's licence. National tallies show motorcycle sales rose by more than 20 percent in the first four months of 2007, compared with 2006. Photo above: Learner riders face tougher training. Riding high Call to clean up motorbike competency by revamping Q-RIDE scheme.
June July 2007
October November 2007