Police take hard line on bikers

By Kiri Gillespie


A two-month crackdown on motorcycles and riders is under way across the Western Bay.

Tauranga police, with ACC and the New Zealand Transport Agency, are holding checkpoints throughout the region to examine motorcycles for warrants of fitness and registration until February.

Sergeant Wayne Hunter said bikers would be encouraged to wear high-visibility vests.

Mr Hunter said common feedback from riders was that they did not want to wear a fluoro jacket because it wasn't cool.

"Hopefully it will get them thinking ... would you rather be seen and still alive rather than cool and dead?" Mr Hunter said.

"The biggest problem is riders take it for granted that everyone can see them. That drivers will see them and won't hit them. But that doesn't happen.<inline type="recurring-inline" id="1003" align="outside" enforce-sites="no" />

"You have got to be seen. To be seen you have got to wear the uncool jacket. You have to value your life."

Ray Holmes, from Mount Motorcycles, said he knew of riders who would consider a high-visibility vest as uncool.

"Let's face it. A lot of motorcyclists wear black. Out of most people who buy helmets here, nine out of 10 of them would be black [helmets]."

"Anything that can be used, worn or applied to a motorcycle to give a better visibility on the road has got to be a plus. Even if it only improves it by 5 per cent, it's worth having," Mr Holmes said.

He estimated that if every motorcyclist wore a fluoro vest, the stats would improve by about 30 per cent.

"But if NZTA, ACC and the police really want motorcyclists to wear them, ACC need to be giving them out for free because ACC is taking a huge amount of money by hugely inflated levies ... so why can't they combine it with NZTA and try to do something for road safety by handing those vests out instead?"

Increased motorcycle levies were introduced by ACC in 2010 in response to an increase in motorcycle-related claims.

Those levies go into an ACC account to pay for the services provided for people who were injured in motor vehicle crashes on public roads.

Kevin Beagley, president of the Ulysses Club said: "The bottom line is be seen.

"Whatever that takes, lights on, bright clothing, bright-coloured helmet."



  • At least four men have died on local roads while riding motorbikes this year.

  • In 2009, 48 motorcyclists were killed nationally and a further 1369 were injured in road crashes.

  • This was 12.5 per cent of all deaths and 9 per cent of all reported injuries on our roads.

  • The New Zealand Household Travel Survey indicates that, on average, the risk of being involved in a fatal or injury crash is 20 times higher for a motorcyclist than for a car driver over the same distance travelled.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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