Cyclists must pay, bikers display

By Annemarie Quill


In London, we used to call motorcycle riders "temporary Londoners". So frequent was the number of motorbike accidents that other motorists almost became blasé to seeing yet another crushed bike and rider.

Despite its uber-cool status, you will never get me on a motorbike. Statistics show that you're 20 times as likely to be involved in a fatal crash or injury on a motorbike than in a car.

Yesterday we reported that Tauranga police, along with ACC and the New Zealand Transport Agency, had launched a safety initiative for local riders. It included encouraging riders to wear high-vis clothing.

Given that four men have died on local roads this year, you would think the local biking community would be behind this crackdown. But police report that riders resist wearing jackets because it is "uncool". Bikers like to wear black.

Admittedly a bright yellow windbreaker is not sexy. But neither is having your leg amputated by a car that pulled out right in front of you, simply because they didn't see you. Good that bikers like to wear black - they must go to a lot of funerals.

Ray Holmes of Mount Motorcycles told us that he thinks ACC should pay for the fluoro vests because it increased levies for motorcyclists last year. Hardly. ACC doesn't pay for my children's car seats.<inline type="recurring-inline" id="1003" align="outside" enforce-sites="no" />

ACC shouldn't pay for the vests. But it is wise for the transport authority to incorporate into the law more safety requirements for those on two wheels. If visibility of bikers is a major cause of accidents, then wearing vests should be mandatory.

On the subject of two wheels, I have sympathy for motorcyclists paying levies when their fellow two-wheelers on push bikes do not pay any ACC levies at all. Although most cyclists are happy to be uncool in the fashion stakes with lycra and polyester, they are not visible as financial contributors to our transport system.

Many road users complain that cyclists do not pay road taxes or ACC. Cyclists don't need to have a warrant or a licence. It is absurd those cyclists are allowed on the road without a test of skills. Some have no knowledge of the road code, no awareness or road sense.

Cyclists, like motorbike riders, are also involved in many road accidents. Many flout road rules. The city has spent a fortune on cycle lanes yet they still ride outside, pushing passing motorists over the centre line.

The number of cyclists riding on the pavement in Tauranga is disgraceful. Anyone who is on the road - whether you are on a Harley, an Avanti or a skateboard - should be subject to road regulations and made to be accountable by law for their own safety and that of others. That includes keeping your wheels, whatever they are, well serviced, being licensed, wearing a helmet, and being kitted out in the appropriate gear.

Cyclists, if you want to be on the road, learn the rules and pay up.

Bikers, you are cool already. You are born to be wild, not die stupid. Wear the fluoro.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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