Mo­tor­bike skills for young and old

Kapi-Mana News - - REGION -

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.

Photo: FAIRFAX NZ

Mo­tor­cy­cle mae­stro: Aaron Slight talks to rid­ers dur­ing a mo­tor­cy­cle rider devel­op­ment day in In­ver­cargill.

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