Motorbikes dominate 2018 road toll

The rising number of motorbike deaths and injuries in New Zealand has prompted a call for urgent action.

Clive Matthew Wilson, editor of the car review website, says:

“There have been 13 serious accidents involving motorcyclists since the beginning of the year. Motorbikes are killing around 50 people a year. “

Motorcyclists now make up about 16% of road deaths. 

“A large majority of those killed were aged between 40-59. In 70% of fatal accidents involving motorbikes, the rider was at fault. However, there have also been many totally innocent riders who have been killed by careless drivers.”

“The bottom line is this: it’s really unsafe to ride a motorbike and even more unsafe if it’s a big bike and you’re middle aged.”

On average, the risk of being killed or injured in road crashes is 21 times higher for motorcyclists than for car drivers over the same distance travelled.

Matthew-Wilson says it’s time to restrict access to motorbikes or make retesting compulsory for riders who have not owned a motorbike in the previous two years.

“As we age, our reaction times slow, and our ability to control a large, moving object such as a motorbike drops substantially. There needs to be a much tougher testing regime for all riders, which gets tougher the older you get and the larger the motorbike.”

Matthew-Wilson is also concerned that the previous government spent $3.5 million on motorcycle training, when it is widely accepted internationally that advanced training for motorcyclists has little or no effect on the number of crashes.

“This has been demonstrated in study after study, and the road toll speaks for itself.”

Matthew-Wilson is also shocked that the government still allows motorbikes to be sold without anti-skid brakes, which have 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.”

Matthew-Wilson is also concerned that many motorbikes are hard to see.

“Dark coloured motorbikes and dark protective clothing remain the preferred option for many riders. The reality, however, is that other road users may not see dark colours, which increases the risk of serious accidents.”

2018’s grim toll of motorbike accidents

1/01/18       Isaac James Epps, 43, died and his passenger was injured, after a collision between his motorbike and a ute on the Masterton-Castlepoint Road.

2/01/18       Crash between car and motorcycle, intersection SH 1 and Henley-Berick Road, south of Dunedin. Motorcyclist received serious injuries, two others treated at scene for minor injuries.

2/01/18       One person suffered serious injuries after a collision between a car and motorbike, Matakana Road and Riverglade Lane in Matakana, about an hour north of Auckland.

3/01/18       A German tourist travelling on the back of a motorbike was killed and the rider seriously injured after their bike collided with a car on Dyers Pass Road, Christchurch. It was the German tourist's first day of a two-week motorcycle tour of New Zealand..

7/01/18       Two motorbikes, apparently travelling in convoy, crashed on Old West Coast Road, Darfield. One rider suffered serious injuries, the other moderate injuries.

Another North Canterbury motorcyclist hit a sheep on Gates Rd, Waiau, between Chaffeys Rd and Inland Rd at 5.56pm. The sheep was killed and the motorbike damaged but the rider escaped without serious injuries.

7/01/18       Caleb Lawrence Wilkinson, of Christchurch, aged 24, died in a crash between car and motorcycle on the Akaroa Road, Duvauchelle, around 9.40 am.

14/01/18      A motorcyclist died after a crash on SH 22, Pukekawa.

14/01/18      A pillion passenger was seriously injured after a collision between a car and motorcycle near Kaipara Flats Road, Dome Forest.

15/01/18      Catholic priest Fr Graeme Blackburn, 33, died after collision between a motorbike and car on Purau Port Levy Road.

16/01/18      A motorcyclist suffered serious injuries after a collision between a truck and a motorbike on Auckland’s southern motorway, northbound, between Hingaia Road, Karaka and Takanini.

16/01/18      Car and motorcycle crash, intersection Russley and Harewood Roads, Christchurch.

19/01/18      A man in his 20s died after his 50cc scooter and a truck collided at the intersection of Hinau St and Mosston Road, Castlecliff, Wanganui.

21/01/18      A motorcyclist died following a crash between a motorcycle and car, Whangamata Road, Kinloch.