THINK & DRIVE
Middle-aged men on motorbikes are the targets of a new road toll campaign
MORE motorcyclists aged over 50 are dying or being seriously injured on the state’s roads than ever before and riders returning to two wheels after a long absence have been identified as driving the grim statistics.
New data obtained by The Sunday Telegraph shows that in the 10 years to 2017, deaths of over 50s on motorbikes jumped 31 per cent, with those seriously injured increasing 87 per cent. So far in 2018, 12 motorcyclists over 60 years have died — making up more than a quarter of all motorcycle deaths across the state.
The statistics, from Transport for NSW, also show males are most likely to get hurt — in the two years to 2017, some 86 per cent of fatalities were male, as were 88 per cent of those seriously injured.
Assistant Police Commissioner and head of Traffic Services for NSW Police Mick Corboy, who’s been an avid motorcyclist for 40 years, said: “There are two types of riders we are seeing — those who have had bikes the whole time, and those who had a license when they were younger but haven’t ridden in 30 years, getting back into it when they are 50, 55 or when they retire.
“The ones who start later do a course and some training, but it takes time to get the experience.
“The issues we see generally are the ones who haven’t ridden for a long time, still have licenses, and come back and buy a high-powered motorbike.”
There are also more older riders on our roads today than ever before. In the five years from 2013 to 2017, registered riders over 50 increased 34 per cent — double the rate of total registered motorcyclists.
Toongabbie 74-year-old Bob Madell has been riding motorbikes for almost 20 years, after getting his learner license in his 20s and having some three decades off.
“I see people of my vintage who just can’t drive — you sit there and watch them and they have no idea — and I have to put up with those people on the road,” he said. Mr Madell said he was appalled by the inappropriate clothing he saw riders wearing. “On a motorbike, if something goes wrong it’s only your clothing that protects you,” he said. The state government’s Motocap rating system gives motorcyclists more information about the safety and comfort assessments of clothing they wear when riding.
Bob Madell, 74, with his motorbike at home inToongabbie. Picture: Tim Hunter