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This Year Could be Deadliest for WA Motorcyclists

Experts say both riders and drivers are to blame

Motorcycle deaths in WA this year are on track to be the highest on record.


Last year there were 28 motorbike fatalities in Metropolitan WA and statistics show this year there have already been 14.


David Wright from the Motorcycle Riders Association WA told ECU Daily that both motorcyclist and car drivers share the blame for the high rates in injury and fatalities.


“Car drivers and motorcyclists both need to spend a little more time considering each other,” said Mr Wright.


“We motorcyclists need to take more responsibility for their own safety.


“We need to put ourselves in the car or truck set and make sure we are in a position on the road where we can always be seen.


“On the other hand, car and truck drivers need to pay more attention to the road by checking to see if there is a motorcycle when manoeuvring.”


Blind-spots are a major problem for motorcyclists, said Mr Wright.


“There are hundreds of them, not just the ones from the mirror, such as behind buses,” he said.


“If we find ourselves in that spot we are forced to accelerate to get ourselves out of trouble.


“In regards to mirrors, if drivers can see the rider’s face then the rider can see them too.”


Despite this, all too often drivers don’t check their blind-spots. Mr Wright believes people could be too reliant on the technology in their cars instead of checking for motorcyclists in their mirror’s blind-spot.


“Lots of drivers are purely relying on technology to see if someone is in the next lane, and not actually turning their head,” he said.


“There could be a rider their that the technology cannot detect.”


It’s not just collisions with cars that cause motorcycle accidents. Many accidents, especially in the country, happen when riders leave the road themselves.


According to Roy Thomas – a motorcycle instructor for A2A Motorcycle Training – riders need to be ready for the worst-case scenario.


“I think the motorcyclist’s vision is important,” said Mr Thomas.


“They need to look ahead as far as possible, and read the traffic as early as possible.”


According to Wright, one way to reduce the number of accidents is to make sure that motorcyclists are up to date with their skills.


He recently ran a motorcycle skills course with funding from the Road Safety Commission and the City of Perth.


“At some point motorcyclists stop riding for a period, due to things like family and work commitments,” said Mr Wright.


“When they come back to riding, they don’t have to sit and do a course before jumping back on the bike.


“We find this leads to a decrease in skill levels and motorcycle awareness, increasing the chances of accidents.


“So we run a course focusing on riders who have bikes but haven’t rode for a while. This helps develop riders’ theory, practical and mental skills.


“We also add a two hour first aid course to prepare riders in case they come across accidents.”


Mr Wright is hopeful that the course will continue later in the year and that it will decrease the number of motorcyclist fatalities on WA roads.


For now though, he reminds riders and drivers alike to always be aware of each other.

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