This week on Perth Tonight / 6PR Radio radio we discuss the importance of education for road safety. So if the intent is to help people become safer on the road for the safety of all and to help people become ‘better’ riders, it may be worth looking at voluntary and/or compulsory “Safe Riding Programs.”
In the case of motorcycle riders, I would argue that demerit points and fines don’t make you a safer rider. How does paying a fine make you a better motorcycle rider? I would argue it can make you ride according to the law, and one could argue being less of a risk on the road – which is true, but paying a fine will not make you a better rider.
I believe that education is far more powerful than a fine, and a speeding rider in the case of motorcycles may come to appreciate the risks of riding above the speed limit when riding in the rain or in some gravels, or amongst non-moving objects. Only if a rider is made aware of the risks through proper hands on training – will he or she be truly aware of the risks involved and be in a position to develop these skills that will come in handy in a dangerous situation.
The causes of accidents are many, can be self-inflicted or caused by third parties, however what can be done is teach riders on how to minimise these risks through pre-emptive measures through safer and quicker responses while on the motorcycle.
Pre-emptive measures would include:
- Being aware of car driver blind spots;
- Knowing how to follow a car;
- Knowing how to apply strong brakes;
- Knowing where and how to look for potential dangers;
- Vigilence around intersections, driveways, lane filtering, entry and exit of premises;
- Be aware of third party causing accidents (e.g. lights crossing not taken for granted), heavy traffic zones;
- Sensitisation training on the potential results of an accident on public roads.
Safer response training would include:
- Knowing how to respond if front brake locks;
- Knowing how to react is the motorcycle starts sliding from the rear or from the front;
- Using your body positioning to maximise braking power;
- Supervised experience training on wet, gravel and oily surfaces;
- Learning hHow to fall in the event of a crash; so on and so forth.
These voluntary and/or compulsory “Safe Riding Programs” are not about learning the basics of riding a motorcycle, but rather pushing the limits and simulating potential accidents in order to (1) know where these limits are, (b) prevent them from happening in the first place, and (c) knowing how to immediately react.
So, if the intent is to help people become safer on the road for the safety of all and if we were to take these concepts further, authorities and insurance bodies should adopt the following approaches:
- Depending on the offence, a rider would still pay a fine for not obeying the law but a rider may be able to redeem his/her demerit points faster if they attend a voluntary riders training program, which would also give them a chance to redeem themselves in case of a honest mistake, perhaps even lowering the fine for attending the training;
- A rider could also voluntarily increase the available number of points they hold on their licence PRIOR to a fine which could also be linked to lower insurance premiums for attending safe riding / driving programs – thus presenting themselves as a lesser risk to the insurance companies (a financial win-win relationship for both parties);
- In case of a serious offence, then compulsory training may be required.
The overall intent here would be to increase a riders skills, minimise the load on ambulance and hospital emergencies — and of course risks to others. This approach should also apply to car drivers as well.
I spoke with Chris Ilsley from Perth Tonight on 6PR Radio (via our media partner Media Stable).