Education is key to motorcycle safety

MOST motorcyclists would benefit from the MAIB-subsidised rider refresher course and the latest techniques it teaches, a Launceston-based motorcycle tutor said.

Mike Greene teaches motorcycle learner and P-plate courses for Transtrain around the North and North- West of Tasmania and was contacted for comment in the wake of six motorcycle road deaths in two months.

Mr Greene said that most accidents could be avoided.

"The current teaching is that riders should be observing things five seconds ahead of where they actually are, looking for potential hazards like cars pulling out of side roads or driveways and kids playing or riding bicycles or skateboards," he said.

"Once you get to within three seconds, if the potential hazard still exists, you should be taking some physical action - slowing the bike, manoeuvreing or some decision like that.

"A lot of the recent crashes involve people who have made either a bad decision or no decision about a hazard that should have been clearly identifiable to them for some time.

"It's too easy as a rider to say `someone did this or someone did that and therefore we had a crash'.

"You need to be taking responsibility for what's going on - assigning blame to an accident, or near accident, results in no learning.

"Once you've had a crash, you can make all the arguments you like from your hospital bed, but that still won't prevent the crash or a future crash, because you've learned nothing.

"We need to be looking five seconds ahead and making decisions about what we can see - if you're not doing that, you're just riding around looking for a place to have a crash.

"Too often I see motorcyclists riding too close to the vehicle in front and not allowing for the reaction time - up to 1.5 seconds - should the leading vehicle brake suddenly."

Mr Greene said he did not regard people on motorcycles doing "ridiculous stuff on the road" as riders.

"They're just hoons on motorcycles and they'd be hoons if they were in a car or a boat or on a jet ski - their actions define what they are, not their mode of transport.

"The general motorcycle community abhors this behaviour - when I'm riding on the road, I feel that I'm representing motorcycling and the things I do have an effect on how all motorcyclists are viewed."

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