Position Statement – Road Safety
Road Safety is an issue of great concern to motorcyclists, but unlike bicyclists and pedestrians, who are vulnerable road users, our specific needs as road users are not receiving the attention they require.
Where we are now:-
Transport, and therefore road safety, is a State based issue. The ‘lead agency’ for road safety in NSW is the Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA).
While the responsibility for road safety lies with each State Road Authority they sometimes agree to work co-operatively on issues in which they have a common interest. Even though they work co-operatively and some common agreement is reached they are not bound by this agreement. An example of this is Frontal Identification for motorcycles (numberplates or decals). While most States are investigating the feasibility of fitting decals to motorcycles, NSW has indicated that they are ‘investigating other alternatives’ (see the Position Statement on Frontal Identification for more information).
There are however a number of road safety issues which are a Federal responsibility, one of these is the Australian Design Rules (ADR’s) for vehicles.
There is also benefit on keeping abreast of issues overseas.
As to how much time and effort should be devoted to each of these three areas, the ratio of 80:15:5 seems to be a reasonable guide. That is, 80% of time and effort should be spent on dealing with State based issues, 15% on Federal issues and 5% on developments overseas.
In NSW the RTA is responsible for ‘main’ roads, these roads make up about 20% of the road network. The remaining 80% of the road network, ‘local’ roads, are the responsibility of Local Councils. While main roads only make up 20% of the road network they carry about 80% of the traffic flow.
Therefore, to improve road safety at the State level it is not only necessary to work with the RTA but also Local Councils. Other stakeholders who have an interest in road safety include the Motor Accident Authority (MAA) who administer the Compulsory Third Party (CTP) insurance scheme, the Police, the Institute of Public Works Engineers Australia (IPWEA), Staysafe the Parliamentary Committee on road safety, and the NRMA.
At the Federal level the main stakeholders are the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) and the National Road Safety Strategic Panel (NRSS).
In 2002 the Motorcycle Council of NSW released its road safety strategic plan called Positioned for Safety, the development of this plan was funded by the MAA. Copies of this plan can be downloaded from our website. The development of this plan was a first in Australia and possibility the world where a motorcycle rider group had developed its own road safety strategy.
Positioned for Safety is a three year plan for the years 2002 to 2005. As this plan has reached the end of its life an evaluation of its effectiveness has been conducted. The report of this evaluation is also available on the website.
In recent years the MCC has been involved in research into a number of aspects of motorcycle road safety, these include, the Learner Approved Motorcycle Scheme (LAMS), crash barriers, fatigue, and protective clothing
Where we want to be:-
The specific road safety needs of motorcyclists need to receive the level of attention they deserve.
The MCC needs to be, and seen to be, an equal partner in motorcycle safety along with the other the stakeholders.
The MCC needs to be proactive in those areas of road safety what will provide the most benefit to riders.
How to get there:-
The MCC needs to seek funding for the development of another road safety strategic plan so it has clear objectives on how to improve motorcycle safety over the next 3 years.
Work with the Australian Motorcycle Council (AMC) in seeking funding for the development of a National motorcycle road safety strategic plan.
Continue to work with the other State based stakeholders on projects that will improve motorcycle safety.
Continue to seek funding for research into motorcycle road safety issues.