Gardner speaks out on road bike safety
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 the National Road Safety Council, of which he is a member, has called from 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,’’ said 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 race track but there are a lot of obstacles on the road and there’s far too many people who drive around in a daydream and don’t look out for bikes.’’
While he supports the Queensland Government ban on licensing riders until they’ve had a year driving on a car licence, Gardner says the biggest problem is mature riders returning 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 said.
‘‘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 150 in the 11 months to November 2009 to 133 for the same period this year, while motorcyclist deaths have only decreased 1.7 per cent from 232 to 228.
The highest rate of biker deaths is in the age bracket from 40 to 60.
‘‘Their kids have grown up and left home and they have extra income and go out and buy a flash, high-powered bike,’’ Gardner said.
He warned riders not to buy cheap safety gear on the internet from overseas, saying a lot of replicas were below safety standards. The Australian licensing system which re-tested helmets sold here made them more expensive than overseas.
Wayne Gardner says he’ll never let his son Remy, now 12, ride to school