Motorcyclists dying on the country's roads are likely to be older people, who have got more time and cash on their hands to ride deceptively powerful machines.

The number of motorcyclists killed on the country's roads in 2016 - 50 - dropped slightly compared to 2015 - 52 - but the average age of the victims remains the same.

The first, and so far only, motorcycle fatal of 2017 happened on Friday on Cardrona Valley Rd. The man's motorbike and a car collided about 3kms south of Cardrona town.

National road policing manager Superintendent Steve Greally said it was "certainly commonplace" to come across victims who had taken up motorcycling in their later years after coming into some extra cash and had a bit more time on their hands, forgetting that they're a bit slower and the machines they're riding are a lot more powerful.


"In the 40-59 age group, we've had a huge increase in deaths, not just motorcycles, but it is the most represented so far in terms of people dying on our roads. People who you traditionally think should make better and informed decisions.

He said the numbers had increased with 87 people in that bracket last year, compared to 76 and 64 in 2015 and 2014 respectively.

Nine of the motorcycle crashes in 2016 happened in the Waikato.

Of the nine, seven were aged over 40, Waikato road policing manager Inspector Freda Grace said.

It was a trend that had continued from last year, and also increased.

"Generally these are people that have good bikes, got the right licence," she said.

"Because they're either returning riders or people that have been riding for a long time it's just a good idea to reacquaint themselves and undertake a course ...

"Because bikes are newer, they're more powerful ... even wearing high visibility gear helps other road users see that they are there."


Only one of the nine who died was wearing any form of high visibility clothing, she said.

Speed and crossing the centre line were the causes for most of the crashes.

Overall, including vehicle crashes, the district was experiencing its worst road toll in five years with 54 people dying so far as a result of 43 crashes, compared to a total 42 in 2015.

The horror stretch included three triple fatals - two in Te Kuiti, one in Huntly, one quadruple fatal - south of Hamilton - and two double fatals.

Grace reminded motorists to make sure both drivers and their vehicles were ready for the road, with the vehicle having a recent service or its tyre pressure, brakes, windscreens and suspension all checked for road worthiness.

Unsurprisingly, when it comes to areas making the most ACC claims for being involved in a motorcycle crash, the mantel goes to those in Auckland city, with $13.2m for the year ending November 8, 2016, $2m higher than 2015.

Those in Christchurch city regularly make the second-highest amount of claims between $6m and $7m, while Tauranga city, Waikato district, Palmerston North city and Hamilton city have also reached the top five over the past three years.

Overall, nationally, the total number of claims is up $7m compared to 2014, from $81.5m to $88.6m in 2016.

The number of claims made by overseas tourists has nearly tripled in the past three years, up from $454,161 in 2014, to $1.1m in 2016.

New Zealand Transport Agency data, for the year ended 31 July 2016, shows speed was the main factor in the country's motorcycle fatalities, followed by alcohol and poor handling.

The most number of fatalities, as per territorial authority, was taken out by Auckland with eight, followed by Waikato district, five, and Matamata-Piako with four.


Year ending November 8, 2016

1 - Auckland city $13,235,402.
2 - Christchurch city $6,840,286
3 - Tauranga city $3,684,812
4 - Waikato district $3,437,056
5 - Hastings district $3,340,756


Checks to make on your vehicle before hitting the road

• Tyre pressure

• Windscreen and windscreen wipers

• Brakes

• Suspension