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New figures: motorcyclists 23 times more likely to be killed on the road than car drivers.

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MEDIA RELEASE The Hon Anthony Albanese MP Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government

02 May 2008 AA038/2008


Motorcyclists now account for almost 15 per cent of all road deaths despite making up only 4.5 per cent of registered vehicles in Australia, according to new official statistics.

Today I'm releasing a new report - Fatal and Serious Road Crashes InvolvingMotorcyclists - whichshows that motorcyclists are 23 times more likely to be killed and 41 timesmore likely to suffer serious injury than car occupants.

Significantly, a large proportion of fatal motorcycleaccidents occur on weekends and most between the hours of 2pm and 6pm, twofacts which suggest that many fatal accidents are associated with recreationalriding rather than commuting.

While motorcycles and scooters are cheaper to buy and run,they can also be extremely dangerous - as the family and friends of accidentvictims know all too well.

Last year alone, 240 motorcycle riders were killed and 5,000hospitalised.

My message to riders is simple: yourfirst accident is likely to be your last so slow down, don't drink and ride,wear a helmet and in the case of the weekend rider, acknowledge yourinexperience and limits with the machine.

For the rest of us, we need to beaware that motorcyclists have a place on our roads, and that we need to stayalert and respect their presence.

Since 1998, motorcycle deaths as aproportion of all road deaths have been steadily increasing (see graph below).

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The report also reveals that:

Ñ Overthe past decade motorcycle deaths increased by an average of 3.1 per cent

ayear, while car deaths fell; Ñ Queensland has recorded the largest averageannual increase in motorcycle deaths

- up 8 per cent a year since 1998; Ñ Olderriders (i.e. those aged over 44) accounted for most of the annual increase

inmotorcycle deaths; Ñ Theproportion of all fatal motorcycle crashes involving single vehicles has

beenincreasing and currently stands at about 42 per cent; Ñ Nearlynine in ten fatal accidents occurred in fine weather conditions;

Ñ Approximately40 per cent of fatal accidents occur on major roads such as national

highways; Ñ 'Excessivespeed' and 'alcohol and/or drug use' were the two biggest causes of

fatalmotorcycle accidents; Ñ Onein ten motorcyclists killed were not wearing a helmet; and

Ñ Comparedto OECD countries, Australia'smotorcycle death rate is high.

Motorcycle accidents are a seriousand growing issue. Accordingly, thecommunity's efforts to tackle carnage on our nation's roads must includemeasures that improve motorcycle safety.

That's why the recent landmarkMotorcycle and Scooter Safety Summit was so timely.

Organised by the AustralianGovernment and the Motorcycle Safety Consultative Committee (MSCC), thislandmark two-day Summit brought together ridergroups, police, road authorities and safety experts from around Australiaand overseas.

The Summit generated an enormous range of ideasto improve motorcycle safety, with proposed measures addressing rider educationand licensing, police enforcement, road engineering and protective clothing.

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I look forward to these proposals being further developed bythe MSCC so that they can be considered by the Australian Transport Council forinclusion in the next National Road Safety Strategy.

The MSCC comprises representatives from the Federal Chamberof Automotive Industries, motorcycle clubs and associations, and my Department.

The full Fatal andSerious Road Crashes Involving Motorcyclists report can be downloaded:

Media Contacts

Jeff Singleton ( Mr Albanese's Office ) 0410 476 890

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