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"Lights on" rule makes motorcyclists stand out

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MEDIA r e l e a s e m e d i a r e l e a s e m e d i a r e l e a s e m e d i a r e l e a s e m e d i a RELEASE ME!?lJ

Me Bob BrownMinister for Land t ransport 33/92 28 February 1992


An Australian Design Rule (ADR) requiring the hardwiring of new motorcycles so that lights come on automatically when the engine is running takes effect on • Sunday, 1 March.

Federal Land Transport Minister, Bob Brown, said the new rule was part of a total package announced in December 199C to improve safety for motorcyclists.

Other measures include: better rider training; a public awareness campaign aimed at making car and truck drivers more aware of motorcyclists; additional motorcycle road safety research; and improved consultation with motorcycle groups.

Mr Brown said: 'The decision to introduce this rule resulted from years of research and consultation with motorcycle groups. Most motorcyclists already ride with lights on, and obviously appreciate that by doing so they decrease the possibility of being involved in a crash.

'Motorcyclists are the most at risk of all road users and are 19 times more likely to be killed in an accident than a car driver. The cost to the community of motorcycle crashes is estimated at $800 million each year.

'The Federal Government is determined to reduce the risk of death and injury to motorcyclists, and making motorcyclists more visible to other road users is just one way of achieving this.

'Hardwired motorcycles are already manufactured in Japan, the USA and Europe and have been on sale in Australia for many months now. March will mark the end of the introduction of these motorcycles to the Australian market, not the beginning.

'In other countries "lights on" has been a fact of life for many years. France has had this requirement for more than 14 years and in the USA, brands such as Harley Davidson are required to be hardwired in many states.

'The new rule affects only new motorcycles sold in Australia from 1 March. The responsibility for rules covering existing bikes rests with each state and territory' government.

'The Federal Government is not asking the states and territories to look at hardwiring motorcycles already on the road.'


Media inquiries: Brian Hill (06) 277 7440



The Federal Government's 10 Point Road Safety Package

In December 1989 the Federal Government announced a major initiative to reduce the national road toll. States and territories were invited to adopt a package of uniform measures to improve road safety in return for $110 million to eliminate "black spots" from Australian roads. In the recent national economic statement the Prime Minister, Paul Keating, announced that the Federal Government will provide an extra $70 million towards the 'black spots' road safety package.

The package includes provision for the introduction of daytime running lights for motorcycles. Other provisions also have implications for motorcyclists:

- national Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAG) of 0.05; - zero and 0.02 BAC provisions under graduated licensing proposals; - increased levels of random breath testing; and - uniform national speed limits.

On 6 December 1990, after extensive consultation, the Minister for Land Transport, Bob Brown, announced a further package of motorcycle initiatives which included the introduction of a new Australian Design Rule (ADR), effective from 1 March 1992.

This design rule (ADR 19/01) will ensure that new motorcycles are fitted with daytime running lights or headlights which automatically come on when the engine is running. As part of this package, motorcycle rider training will be promoted; research on motorcycle crashes and countermeasures will be undertaken; and a major public education driver awareness program will be launched.

Some Statistics

Motorcyclists are a high risk group: 247 were killed and more than 2,000 seriously injured in crashes in 1991.

Motorcyclists have about 19 times as many fatalities per kilometre travelled as car drivers; and the annual cost of these crashes to the community is estimated at $800 million. This represents about one serious injury per year for every 100 registered motorcycles — and one death per thousand motorcycles per year.

Motorcycles account for 3.3 per cent of vehicle registrations across Australia and only I. 2 per cent of the vehicle kilometres travelled. However, motorcycles account for II. 3 per cent of fatalities and 12.7 per cent of serious injuries incurred in road


The introduction of ADR 19/01 was designed as one of a number of measures to help address this high rate of crashes.

Research indicates that use of daytime lights by a rider reduces his or her risk of a serious daytime crash by 15 per cent or more.

Since up to 70 per cent of motorcycle riders already choose to use daytime lights, the long term effect of the new design rule should then be a reduction of about 5 per cent in daytime crashes and equal to about 3 per cent of all (day and night) crashes.

This would save about 8 lives and 60 serious injuries each year, as well as a large number of less serious accidents.

It is estimated that the introduction of "lights on" would save society $24 million per year in medical costs, lost earnings and property damage.

Australian Design Rule 19/01

Australian Design Rule 19/01 "lights on" does not apply to existing motorcycles. Any decision to require motorcycles already registered to travel with lights on during daylight hours would rest with the states and territories.

Up to 70 per cent of motorcyclists already use daytime lights by choice.

This Australian Design Rule was finalised after extensive consultation with the motorcycle industry and motorcycle rider associations. Both groups are represented on the committee responsible for drafting Australian Design Rules. The public then had six months to comment on the ADR or provide further information.

The Minister for Land Transport personally met representatives of motorcycle rider organisations several times before the decision to introduce ADR 19/01 was taken, and was fully aware of their arguments against the 'lights on’ rule. The decision was

taken after careful review of all relevant arguments and evidence.

The new Australian Design Rule applies to all new motorcycles supplied to the Australian market from 1 March 1992 through the Federal Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989. This Act gives the Commonwealth the power to set the standards of new and imported motor vehicles. The rule will require motorcycles to have daytime

running lights or headlights which automatically come on when the engine is running.

Recent Motorcycle Safety Research

During the 1980s the Federal Office of Road Safety undertook five major research studies concerning motorcycles:

- "An Investigation o f Motorcycle Braking Control Gains", 1983; - "Braking, Stability and Handling o f Motorcycles", released in August 1983; - "Motorcycle Rider Skills Assessment" May 1984; - "Motorcycle and Bicycle Protective Helmets" May 1987; and - "Evaluation o f the Pre-Licence Motorcycle Training Course at the New South

Wales Traffic Education Centre" June 1988.

In May 1990 the Federal Office of Road Safety released a paper, The Effects of Daylight Running Lights on Motorcycle Safety, which examined evidence relating to safety benefits of motorcyclists using their headlights during daylight hours.

This report showed that there is evidence that daytime use of running lights improves the detectability of motorcycles and is likely to reduce the number of crashes. There is no evidence that use of daylight running lights will increase the risk of

motorcyclists - even when backlit by the sun. Trials by the Federal Office of Road Safety showed visibility was enhanced in these conditions.

Research currently being undertaken for the Federal Government is examining the findings of the most recent motorcycle research throughout the world.

Public Education

The Federal Government has also been involved in information and public education campaigns designed to improve motorcycle safety.

Rider training campaigns such as Right Rider and Two Wheel Tactics involved distributing videos and brochures to motorcycle clubs, retailers, instructors and the public. Support and demand for these packages has been very strong.

The Federal Office of Road Safety continues to use a variety of means to communicate with the motorcycling fraternity including displays at the Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix.

A motorcycle awareness campaign will aim to encourage car and truck drivers to watch out for motorcyclists. This campaign will comprise radio advertising, outdoor posters and "bus backs".


The Federal Government recognises the need for consultation with the motorcycling community. The Federal Office of Road Safety consults regularly with motorcycle user groups and motorcycle industry representatives.

The Australian Motorcycle Council was established as an umbrella group for individual motorcycle user groups. Its consultations with federal authorities are limited to matters of national concern. The council is represented on the Vehicle Standards Advisory Committee and the Licensing and Traffic Codes Committee. These committees report to the Australian Transport Advisory Council.