2019 is nearly over and it does not look like a good year in terms of motorcycle accidents and fatalities. Across most states the number of fatal motorcycle accidents has increased. This is despite a decline in the number of motorcycle sales, which continues from previous years.
Fatal Motorcycle Accidents – State by State
We are only days away from the 2019-2020 Festive Season, the season which traditionally sees an increase in road fatalities. The year is not yet over and we already have 203 motorcycle fatalities in Australia. This tragic number is an increase from 187 in 2018.
NSW had the largest number of motorcycle fatalities in 2019: 63 riders and pillion passengers were killed in NSW this year up to 16-Dec-2019. An increase of 27% from 54 fatalities during the same period in 2018.
Source: Transport for NSW
44 riders and pillion passengers were killed in Victoria this year up to 17-Dec-2019. An increase of 16% from 38 during the same period in 2018.
Source: Transport Accident Commission
43 riders and pillion passengers were killed in Queensland this year up to 15-Dec-2019. An increase of 7.5% from 40 during the same period in 2018.
Source: Queensland Government
South Australia had the biggest increase in motorcycle fatalities in 2019: 17 riders were killed in SA this year up to 17-Dec-2019. This is an increase of 89% from 9 fatalities during the same period in 2018.
No pillion passengers were killed in SA during 2019.
31 riders and pillion passengers were killed in Western Australia this year up to 2-Dec-2019. An increase of 7% from 29 during the entire year in 2018.
Source: WA Road Safety Commission
Tasmania was one of the only two states with reduction in motorcycle fatalities. Up to 30th-Sept Tassie had a drop of 57% from 7 fatalities in 2018 to 3 in 2019.
It also had a drop of 4.8% in serious injuries, down from 52 in 2018 to 49 in 2019
Source: Department of State Growth
The NT was the other state with a reduction in motorcycle fatalities in 2019. Up to 30-Nov-2019 two riders were killed in the Northern Territory. This is compared with 8 during the same period in 2018.
Source: NT Police, Fire and Emergency Services
There were no motorcycle fatalities in the ACT in 2019 (up to 30-Nov).
Let’s Reduce this Toll
This increase in motorcycle fatalities in 2019 is very alarming and we need to reduce this number.
It is a fact that many motorcycle accidents can be avoided or prevented. We, the riders, have the ultimate responsibility for our lives and we need to do everything we can to avoid a crash. Maintaining our buffer, expecting the unexpected, avoiding riding on the edge, riding at a speed that allows us to respond to any unexpected situation. All these are part of a riding strategy we need to follow, one that relies on a clear set of survival rules.
But it is not just up to us, the riders. Others have their responsibilities too, including other drivers and the authorities.
Other drivers and road users need to be more motorcycle aware and look out for motorcycles. They must look twice when pulling out from a side street and when they merge. They need to avoid looking at their phones and they need to be aware of the safety of lane filtering.
Governments have a responsibility too. Prioritising the removal of hazards (potholes, loose surface, gravel and grooves, slippery markings) will prevent some accidents. Driver education, driver training and motorcycle awareness campaigns will increase awareness. We need to remind everyone that motorcycles are not the problem, but rather, part of the solution.
In addition, state governments need to work closer with the riding community when it comes to safety issues. Issues such as safety barriers, accessible advanced rider training, laws regarding safety gear. These are only a few of the issues in which riders should have their input.
Together we can reduce this tragic toll.
Be safe. Enjoy the ride.
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