THINK & DRIVE

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - NEWS - L I SA MAYOH

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

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