Motorbike skills for young and old
Motorcyclists have crashed 38 times on the Rimutaka Hill Rd in the past five years and and in 32 cases, the rider simply lost control of the bike.
Wellington Regional Council has responded by offering one-day motorbike skills courses.
Council sustainable transport projects co- ordinator Susan Hutchinson- Daniel said many Wellington motorcyclists love to head over the Rimutakas, but the hill road has the worst motorcycling crash statistics in the region, with most accidents happening during weekends.
Wairarapa motorcycle racer Aaron Slight advised riders to assume they were invisible.
‘‘One of the biggest things I say is that you should ride like you’re a ghost, as if no-one is seeing you.
‘‘Every time there is an accident where another driver is at fault the first thing they say is: ‘I didn’t see you’.’’
Safety is also about anticipation and always having an escape route in mind in every situation.
‘‘If you’re approaching an intersection and you have right-of-way – off the throttle, fingers on the brakes and ready to stop.’’
Having right of way doesn’t make much difference if you have a broken leg, he said.
The courses have value for older riders coming back to motorbikes as well as novices, he said.
Their previous experience may have been commuting on a small, lower-powered machine, but when they come back to it in later life, with more money in the bank, they don’t buy a 250cc bike, he said.
‘‘ They buy a thousand or a seven-fifty.’’
These days they are riding bigger, more powerful bikes in a lot more traffic, he said.
Nils Poulsen, a motorcyclist who started riding 40 years ago, said courses provided a good benchmark for riders to measure their skill levels, highlight areas for improvement and helped reinforce good riding behaviour.
The Ride Forever National Training course is a full day’s training, delivered by New Zealand Transport Agency-approved trainers, and is available to anyone with a licence. They cost $50 for experienced riders and $20 for novices.
For more information visit www.rideforever.co.nz/training.
Motorcycle maestro: Aaron Slight talks to riders during a motorcycle rider development day in Invercargill.