Wayne’s world

Champ says ma­tu­rity is the key to safety, writes Mark Hinch­liffe

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Bikes -

FOR­MER world mo­tor­cy­cle cham­pion Wayne Gardner doesn’t want his two sons rid­ing on the road un­til they have de­vel­oped ‘‘ex­pe­ri­ence and ma­tu­rity’’.

His com­ments come as the Na­tional Road Safety Coun­cil, of which he is a mem­ber, has called for more manda­tory re­fresher rider train­ing and bet­ter qual­ity safety gear.

Gardner says his sons will not be al­lowed to ride on the road when they are old enough to get a li­cence.

‘‘I didn’t ride on the streets un­til I was in my mid­dle 20s and I only ride oc­ca­sion­ally now for leisure or trans­port con­ve­nience,’’ says Gardner, whose old­est son, Remy, 12, re­cently scored his first road race round vic­tory at Phillip Is­land.

‘‘He’s al­ready asked me if he can ride to school when he’s old enough and I’ve said no.

‘‘I’m con­fi­dent in his abil­ity on the race­track, but there are a lot of ob­sta­cles on the road and there are far too many peo­ple who drive around in a day­dream and don’t look out for bikes.’’

Gardner sup­ports the Queens­land Govern­ment ban on li­cens­ing rid­ers un­til they’ve had a year driv­ing on a car li­cence, but he says the biggest prob­lem is ma­ture rid­ers re­turn­ing to the ac­tiv­ity af­ter sev­eral years away from rid­ing.

‘‘ As a racer, if you have three months off rid­ing, it takes quite a long time to build your speed back up again,’’ he says.

‘‘The same thing goes for these ma­ture-aged rid­ers, yet some of them have been off the bike for 20 years.’’

Na­tional statis­tics show the road toll de­creas­ing 7.8 per cent from 1500 in the 11 months to Novem­ber 2009 to 1383 for the same pe­riod this year, while mo­tor­cy­clist deaths have de­creased only 1.7 per cent from 232 to 228.

The high­est rate of biker deaths is in the age bracket from 40-60.

‘‘The coun­cil be­lieves these peo­ple should have to do a manda­tory re­fresher course,’’ he says.

‘‘We haven’t ironed out the de­tails yet, but if you look at the stats there is an up­ward trend in deaths over 40.

‘‘Their kids have grown up and left home and they have ex­tra in­come and go out and buy a flash, high­pow­ered bike.

‘‘The good thing is they also get the lat­est gear but they for­get about spend­ing money on train­ing.’’

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