Lies, more lies and statistics


So the global trends in motorcycles apply in Australia too. Older riders make up a larger proportion of motorcycle license holders. 50% are aged over 50 according to the NSW Centre for Road Safety. Having said that the total number of licensed riders in NSW rose 44% to 600,633 in the last decade. Motorcycle registrations have jumped from 108,656 to 218,055 in the last decade.

As is often the case, the government in its infinite wisdom hasn’t a clue about statistics. The NSW Roads Ministry has said fatal accidents are up 54% and 80% for those over 50yo. However registrations are up 100%.

According to its own stats in 2016 there were 375 fatalities on NSW roads. Bikers were 63, down from 67 the previous year. So if we back calculate to a decade ago to the 54% jump they claim there were 40 deaths on bikes. Not great but for 110,000 extra registrations there was a fall in the ratio of deaths per 100,000 riders. 54% gives them the right to call for more speed cameras and regulations which don’t help

In 2004 as part of a statistics course for a masters degree our team investigated speeding and the inaccuracy of government reporting. When the double demerits scheme was introduced fatalities went up. When 40km/h school zones were introduced fatalities went up. Speed doesn’t kill  living in fear of your speedo which causes you to look ahead less often does

While not suggesting trying to cut road fatalities is a bad thing the government should be more honest with the stats. The biggest issue for motorcycle crashes is the speed limit itself. Given the police hand out fines for minor speed infractions bikers are forced to ride in car blind spots massively ramping their risks of being hit by a mobile phone gazing driver. All the arguments for too much horsepower etc is also rubbish given the amazing advancements in safety aids on bikes.

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