HONDA AUSTRALIA COMMENDS RECOMMENDATIONS HANDED DOWN BY VICTORIAN ROAD SAFETY COMMITTEE

Honda Australia attended the Parliament of Victoria to hear the handing down of the Road Safety Committee’s ‘Inquiry into Motorcycle Safety’ yesterday.

Honda Australia is supportive of the majority of the 64 recommendations made by the Parliament of Victoria’s Road Safety Committee.

Honda Australia has long been a proactive campaigner for motorcycle safety and looks forward to these recommendations being implemented by the Victorian Government.

Honda Australia has been pressing regulators and governments around Australia for accurate and transparent accident data so that evidence based safety decisions can be correctly reached. The first recommendation titled ‘Data Quality And Accuracy’ will assist with this goal.

From Honda’s perspective, it is also pleasing to see that off-road motorcycle riders have been identified and are included in the recommendations.

Through Honda Australia Rider Training (HART), Honda has long been working with VicRoads in relation to standards of motorcycle training. Honda looks forward to the implementation of these recommendations that will allow standardisation of training and identification of those providers who offer substandard training.

Over the coming weeks Honda Australia will examine in detail the ‘Inquiry into Motorcycle Safety’ recommendations and provide further feedback to the Road Safety Committee.

Honda Australia looks forward to assisting the Victorian Government in any way with the implementation of these recommendations.

Report Summary -

The Parliament of Victoria Road Safety Committee today tabled its report in relation to the Inquiry into Motorcycle Safety. The report covers a range of issues including data collection, trends in motorcycle usage, the attitudes of motorcyclists and drivers towards each other, off-road rider safety and countermeasures and new initiatives which may improve the safety of motorcyclists.

In relation to data, Mr Murray Thompson MP, Chair of the Road Safety Committee and Member for Sandringham, pointed to one of the key findings of the report which states ‘there are serious and ongoing issues with the collection, use and dissemination of motorcycle trauma data in Victoria. The cumulative effect of these issues is that they undermine informed decision making on road safety for motorcyclists, and therefore it is not possible to accurately assess motorcycle trauma in Victoria.’

The importance placed on data collection by the Committee was evidenced by its first recommendation, which called for an independent office of road safety data to be established.

The Committee has also recommended that an in-depth study on motorcycle accidents be undertaken to provide an evidence base for future policy initiatives.

The loss of any life through a motorcycle accident is a tragedy. The Committee notes that motorcycle fatalities have generally stayed between 43 to 49 deaths annually since 2005, a significant improvement on the 64 fatalities recorded in 2001. As at the 12th of December 2012, Victoria’s motorcycle road toll stands at four fewer than at this time last year. Mr Thompson commented that ‘the reduction reflects the work of countless road safety professionals, experts, motorcyclists, community members and government.’

The Committee found there has been a 70% increase in the number of registered motorcycles from 2001 to 2011, and a 37% increase in licensees between 2002 and 2010. Mr Thompson highlighted that the increase in usage has both positive and negative road safety implications. Increases in the number of motorcyclists and registered motorcycles may possibly result in greater trauma risks. Alternatively such increases may raise the profile of motorcyclists on the road, thus improving the awareness of other road users of motorcyclists and assisting in reducing motorcyclists’ trauma.

The Committee was pleased to note that the attitudes of riders and drivers towards each other appear to be improving. However the Committee was keen to emphasise that there needs to be a greater focus on the concept of shared responsibility to continue to improve attitudes. This greater focus could be achieved by the introduction of a ‘Motorcycle Safety Awareness Week’ in Victoria.

The terms of reference for the Inquiry required the Committee to investigate responsibilities for improving the safety of off-road riders.

The Committee believes that whilst the relevant legislation clearly imposes responsibilities on Victorian road safety agencies, these responsibilities have been accepted to varying degrees: Victoria Police has met some of its responsibilities, but in an ad hoc manner; the Transport Accident Commission has begun off-road safety initiatives, but these are strictly limited; and lastly, VicRoads has not met its legislative responsibilities. The Committee commends the Department of Sustainability and Environment for its activities in relation to off-road riding, despite having no legislative road safety responsibilities.

The Committee heard significant commentary on the relationship between road safety agencies and motorcycle stakeholders. In short, agencies are not meeting the expectations of the motorcycling community. Whilst the Committee has suggested ways in which agencies can work towards improving this relationship, it also noted there is an onus on motorcycle stakeholders to be better organised amongst themselves and to work more effectively within existing structures to advance their issues.

Whilst not recommending that protective gear for motorcyclists be mandatory, the Committee recognises that protective gear has important and proven injury reduction benefits. The Committee has called for more work to be undertaken to develop a star rating system to allow motorcyclists what one participant termed an ‘educated freedom of choice’. Mandating the use of protective gear which may not meet basic performance requirements was not considered appropriate.

The Committee has called for more work to be undertaken around the issue of filtering. Whilst filtering, as distinct from lane splitting, may have potential safety benefits, there is limited research available on both the benefits and risks, and the term itself is subject to varying definitions. The Committee has recommended work be undertaken by an expert group, comprised of government agencies, academics and motorcycle stakeholders, to investigate the risks and benefits of filtering, with a view to making it a legal practice in Victoria.

The funding of road safety, particularly in relation to motorcycle safety initiatives, was investigated. The Committee has recommended that the motorcycle safety levy be abolished, and that funds derived from enforcement practices, such as speed and red light cameras, be transferred into a specific road safety fund and only used to supplement existing road safety funding. The Committee believes this approach will ensure Victorian road safety funding follows best practice, ensures targeted investment in improved infrastructure and road safety countermeasures and eliminates an inequitable financial burden currently placed on motorcycle riders.

In completing the report, the Committee received 76 written submissions from a wide range of stakeholders including individuals, government agencies, rider groups, health professionals and motorcycle representative groups. During the course of the Inquiry, the Committee received evidence from over 100 witnesses in both Melbourne and locations throughout regional Victoria. The Committee also met with a number of international motorcycle safety experts.

The Parliament of Victoria Road Safety Committee today tabled its report for the Inquiry into Motorcycle Safety. The report makes 64 recommendations to improve motorcycle safety in Victoria. The key recommendations include:

• Recommendation 1: That an independent office of road safety data be created, which will be responsible for collecting, collating, interpreting and publishing all data relevant to road safety.

• Recommendation 13: That VicRoads and the Transport Accident Commission treat off-road motorcycle safety no differently to that of on-road motorcycles.

• Recommendation 23: That a ‘Motorcycle Safety Awareness Week’ be held annually in Victoria in conjunction with the Phillip Island MotoGP.

• Recommendation 25: That the motorcycle safety levy be abolished.

• Recommendation 37: That VicRoads initiate a consultation process, based on the Swedish OLA (Objective facts, List of solutions, Addressed action plans) method, for motorcycle safety that involves all road safety agencies, motorcycle clubs, stakeholders and groups, and members of the broader community with a view to developing new safety initiatives.

• Recommendation 44: That motorcycle advocacy groups in Victoria continue to work towards greater cooperation and coordination amongst themselves, particularly when engaging with road safety agencies.

• Recommendation 45: That VicRoads and the Transport Accident Commission, in conjunction with road safety researchers, undertake a crash reporting and investigation study, using the Motorcycle Accident In-Depth Study approach as a model.

• Recommendation 52: That a star rating system for protective motorcycle clothing, which includes boots, gloves, jackets, pants and armour, be established within 24 months, and be fully functioning within 36 months, of the tabling of this report.

• Recommendation 59: That the benefits and risks of filtering, as distinct from lane splitting, be reviewed with the aim of introducing filtering in Victoria.

• Recommendation 62: That the hypothecation of funds derived from enforcement, and their transfer to a specific road safety fund which could be used to supplement existing funding for road safety measures, including those aimed at motorcyclists, such as that in Western Australia and New South Wales, be implemented in Victoria.

A full list of recommendations follows.

In completing the report, the Committee received 76 written submissions from a wide range of stakeholders including individuals, government agencies, rider groups, health professionals and motorcycle representative groups. During the course of the Inquiry, the Committee received evidence from over 100 witnesses in both Melbourne and locations throughout regional Victoria. The Committee also met with a number of international motorcycle safety experts.

Recommendation 1:
That an independent office of road safety data be created, which will be responsible for collecting, collating, interpreting and publishing all data relevant to road safety, and, for the purposes of this Inquiry, specifically motorcycle safety. Its functions will include:
• Investigating which agencies collect data and where there are data gaps, particularly with respect to off-road riding;
• Setting standards, definitions and data collecting protocols;
• Chairing committees that include all relevant agencies and departments involved in motorcycle safety (including those that collect data);
• Setting benchmarks for the collecting and auditing of data;
• Co-ordinating the collection of data across departments dealing with health, road and environment portfolios; and
• Collecting sales, injury, registration, licensing, fatality and Transport Accident Commission insurance data.

Recommendation 2:
That an immediate program to improve inter-agency data cooperation and collaboration on motorcycle crash data be instituted by government agencies. Collaborations through committees and other data groups should include appropriate representatives from motorcycle advocacy groups, such as those represented on the Motorcycle Advisory Group, whose experience and knowledge of motorcycle crashes could assist in the assessment of crash data.

Recommendation 3:
That a consistent methodology based on a set of universally applied definitions and categorisations be developed for motorcycle trauma victims who present, are admitted or suffer major trauma in Victoria. This methodology should be used by all government agencies and departments when compiling trauma data for road safety purposes. The guiding principle for including an injured motorcyclist in trauma statistics for road safety is to be the definition of a road or road related area found in the Road Safety Act 1986.

Recommendation 4:
That the Victorian Auditor-General’s Office undertake a follow up audit of the agencies audited in the Motorcycle and Scooter Safety Programs Report, within 12 months of tabling of this report.

Recommendation 5:
That section 87(1)(d) of the Transport Integration Act 2010 be amended to include a co-ordinating role for VicRoads in the collection of road crash and trauma data among health and road safety agencies and departments.

Recommendation 6:
That the Victorian Government initiate discussions through the Council of Australian Governments to achieve national conformity on definitions of categories used in assessing road trauma.

Recommendation 7:
That the current accredited provider scheme be reviewed by an external organisation such as the Monash University Accident Research Centre or the Victorian Auditor-General’s Office, to measure its current effectiveness in administering motorcycle licensing and whether it improves motorcycle safety and reduces motorcycle trauma. The review is to be initiated within 12 months of the tabling of this report.

Recommendation 8:
That VicRoads auditing include a new component focusing on the effectiveness of accredited providers, to be measured in terms of road safety outcomes.

Recommendation 9:
That accredited providers who do not offer a ‘test only’ option be able to access financial incentives, and that such an incentive be provided by way of a reduction in the amount paid, per student, to VicRoads by accredited providers.

Recommendation 10:
That VicRoads, design and implement a pilot training course, for pre-licence riders that includes an off-road and attitudinal component. The training course should involve selected accredited providers, and be implemented within 12 months of the tabling of this report.

Recommendation 11:
That VicRoads, in consultation with other road safety agencies and the public, develop a common training curriculum which all accredited providers are required to use.

Recommendation 12:
That an on-road training component for learner riders, and on-road testing component for probationary riders, be introduced.

Recommendation 13:
That VicRoads and the Transport Accident Commission treat off-road motorcycle safety no differently to that of on-road motorcycles.

Recommendation 14:
That VicRoads and the Transport Accident Commission ensure all current and future motorcycle safety initiatives specifically include a component aimed at improving the safety of off-road riders.

Recommendation 15:
That road safety interventions, strategies and initiatives, focus on both on and off-road motorcyclists, relying on the definition of a road and road related area in the Road Safety Act 1986 as a basis for including or excluding motorcyclists.

Recommendation 16:
That the Department of Sustainability and the Environment be involved in the monitoring of off-road safety, and be included in the design, development, implementation and consultation stages of off-road safety initiatives, strategies and countermeasures and in the gathering and sharing of off-road crash data.

Recommendation 17:
That an ongoing public education campaign be undertaken by the Transport Accident Commission to educate off-road riders of the coverage they are afforded under the Transport Accident Compensation Scheme.

Recommendation 18:
That road safety agencies initiate an attitudinal survey that deals with all the segments of the motorcycle community, including on and off-road motorcycles, scooter, moped and recreational riders, and that deals with attitudes to general risk taking, and specific risks including drugs, alcohol, inappropriate speeds, use of protective clothing and fatigue.

Recommendation 19:
That VicRoads and the Transport Accident Commission undertake research, including attitudinal surveys, aimed at understanding how riders and drivers can better interact with each other. Agencies must take a different approach to communicating with each group, so that riders and drivers are better educated about each other.

Recommendation 20:
That VicRoads includes motorcycle specific questions in its licence testing regime and motorcycle safety (including awareness) content in its training syllabus for learner and probationary car licence students.

Recommendation 21:
That VicRoads and the Transport Accident Commission undertake research projects focusing on the interaction between attitudes and behaviours as a way of informing road safety strategies and training and licensing materials.

Recommendation 22:
That the Transport Accident Commission focus its motorcycle safety advertising on redressing the attitude that responsibility for rider safety is solely attributable to the rider, by ensuring that campaigns dealing with motorcycles raise driver awareness and do not create negative stereotypes, perceptions or attitudes among drivers.

Recommendation 23:
That a ‘Motorcycle Safety Awareness Week’ be held annually in Victoria in conjunction with the Phillip Island MotoGP. The focus of the week is to be on how all road users can contribute to the safety of motorcyclists.

Recommendation 24:
That the Victorian Auditor-General’s Office undertake a performance audit of the motorcycle safety levy including those projects funded and implemented since 2002, and its governance arrangements.

Recommendation 25:
That the motorcycle safety levy be abolished.

Recommendation 26:
That the methodology underpinning the identification of blackspots be altered to take into account the smaller number of motorcycle crashes and crash data accuracy.

Recommendation 27:
That VicRoads and the Transport Accident Commission report on the expenditure of the motorcycle safety levy in their respective annual reports. The report should include itemised information on the number of projects funded, the cost of each project, its completion date and whether the project had been evaluated and any other relevant information with respect to the motorcycle safety levy.

Recommendation 28:
That VicRoads and the Transport Accident Commission make available and publish, through a dedicated area on their respective websites, or on another appropriate website, details about all motorcycle safety levy projects, project documentation, start and completion dates and the results of any evaluations.

Recommendation 29:
That reporting on, and evaluations of, projects funded by the motorcycle safety levy not be subject to confidentiality or release restrictions which may limit public access to information on projects. It is however, appropriate for such restrictions to apply in cases where commercial in confidence requirements are imposed as part of a contractual or tender process.

Recommendation 30:
That all motorcycle safety levy funded projects have clear performance indicators that can be measured at the start, during and at the completion of the project.

Recommendation 31:
That all motorcycle safety levy funded projects be evaluated within 12 months of being completed, and the results of such evaluations be published.

Recommendation 32:
That projects that do not adhere to the Strategic guide for expenditure of the motorcycle safety levy funding not receive funding, under any circumstances, but particularly those projects that propose to use motorcycle safety levy funding to pay for enforcement or Victoria Police operational costs.

Recommendation 33:
That VicRoads, the Transport Accident Commission and the Motorcycle Advisory Group focus on increasing the number of off-road projects funded by the motorcycle safety levy. These projects must involve the Department of Sustainability and the Environment.

Recommendation 34:
That the Motorcycle Advisory Group be given the same oversight function over the expenditure of motorcycle safety levy funds that had previously been exercised by the Victorian Motorcycle Advisory Council.

Recommendation 35:
That VicRoads and the Transport Accident Commission report on the effectiveness of the motorcycle safety levy in future annual reports, including the demonstrable effects of the levy in improving rider safety and the effectiveness of individual projects.

Recommendation 36:
That, unless otherwise abolished, the motorcycle safety levy be linked to a specific motorcycle trauma reduction figure, which once reached, would result in the levy being abolished.

Recommendation 37:
That VicRoads initiate a consultation process, based on the Swedish OLA (Objective facts, List of solutions, Addressed action plans) method, for motorcycle safety that involves all road safety agencies, motorcycle clubs, stakeholders and groups, and members of the broader community with a view to developing new safety initiatives. The process is to be facilitated by a third party, non-government organisation and is to be based on the process used by the Royal Automobile Club of Western Australia.

Recommendation 38:
That road safety agencies formally review their existing stakeholder arrangements and identify new stakeholder groups for inclusion in their stakeholder engagement plans, policies and approaches. As part of this review, the Transport Accident Commission and VicRoads in particular, should invite motorcycle stakeholders, clubs and groups to indicate their interest in being included in all forms of stakeholder engagement and then take steps to ensure they are included.

Recommendation 39:
That the Transport Accident Commission and VicRoads formulate a stakeholder management plan for engaging with the motorcycling community, and include the role, scope and breadth of stakeholders to be consulted for each type of engagement method.

Recommendation 40:
That VicRoads review the RoadSafe program with a view to identifying improvements for engaging, where appropriate, with all sectors of the Powered Two-Wheeler community.

Recommendation 41:
That the Transport Accident Commission consult broadly with motorcycle stakeholders, including those on the Motorcycle Action Group at the inception, design and production phase of motorcycle safety advertising and safety messages.

Recommendation 42:
That the Motorcycle Advisory Group be required to report regularly to the Minister for Roads, through its Secretariat. Agendas, and minutes of all meetings will be provided promptly to the Minister’s office (as well as to the Motorcycle Advisory Group members) and a comprehensive report on the Motorcycle Advisory Group’s activities and any outcomes should be submitted to the Minister on a yearly basis.

Recommendation 43:
That the Motorcycle Advisory Group be expanded to include additional representatives from the scooter and moped, off-road and accredited provider segments of the motorcycling community and the length and regularity of meetings be increased to allow for constructive engagement.

Recommendation 44:
That motorcycle advocacy groups in Victoria continue to work towards greater cooperation and coordination amongst themselves, particularly when engaging with road safety agencies.

Recommendation 45:
That VicRoads and the Transport Accident Commission, in conjunction with road safety researchers, undertake a crash reporting and investigation study, using the Motorcycle Accident In-Depth Study (MAIDS) approach as a model.

Recommendation 46:
That VicRoads update its road engineering guides to ensure they account for motorcycles. The guides, including any policies, procedures and any other documents needed in the design, building and maintenance of roads should take a safe systems approach, with a view to reducing the injury and fatality risk to motorcyclists.

Recommendation 47:
That VicRoads improve, in respect of motorcyclists, the operation of Wire Rope Safety Barriers and other roadside barriers (such as steel or concrete barriers) by utilising existing technology such as retrofitting barrier posts with cushion products, employing underrun protection rails and using other technologies to reduce the impacts of snagging or deceleration. These improvements should occur on roads that have been identified as requiring improvement based on crash statistics, or using the approach taken for identifying blackspot and blacklength roads, to ensure that funds are best utilised.

Recommendation 48:
That the Transport Accident Commission and VicRoads investigate the use of incentives and public education campaigns to increase the number of motorcycles being purchased with Anti-Lock Braking Systems.

Recommendation 49:
That VicRoads and the Transport Accident Commission provide yearly reports to the Motorcycle Advisory Group on research, advancements and evaluations of motorcycle Anti-lock Braking System, and other countermeasures both in Australia and overseas. These reports should also be made available to the public through the respective agencies websites.

Recommendation 50:
That VicRoads and the Transport Accident Commission develop educational campaigns for the use of protective clothing based on research findings with a focus on improving the usage of armour and lower body clothing and on segments of the motorcycle community that have lower rates of use.

Recommendation 51:
That the Transport Accident Commission provide a report on the development of the star rating system, including prospective timelines, to government, the Motorcycle Advisory Group and the Road Safety Committee within six months of the tabling of this report.

Recommendation 52:
That a star rating system for protective motorcycle clothing, which includes boots, gloves, jackets, pants and armour, be established within 24 months, and be fully functioning within 36 months, of the tabling of this report. It should adopt the Conformité Européenne standards for protective motorcycle gear, but also take into consideration Victorian requirements including weather patterns and must include a testing and certification regime.

Recommendation 53:
That gear that does not meet a minimum star rating (once established) should not be sold or branded as ‘protective’ motorcycle gear in Victoria. Clothing that does meet a minimum standard should be subject to incentives and subsidies devised by road safety agencies to facilitate its purchase by motorcyclists.

Recommendation 54:
That VicRoads and the Transport Accident Commission in conjunction with Standards Australia create an Australian Standard for motorcycle protective gear. This standard should use the European standards as a basis, but take into account Victorian and Australian specific factors.

Recommendation 55:
That VicRoads and the Transport Accident Commission investigate ways of improving motorcycle safety through behavioural change programs including changes to the car licence curriculum and road rules so that motorcyclists and the risks posed to them by other road users are highlighted. Other areas that should also be explored include school education and advertising campaigns aimed at all road users.

Recommendation 56:
That VicRoads and the Transport Accident Commission investigate the potential of simulators and virtual training software to complement motorcycle training.

Recommendation 57:
That road safety agencies set and incorporate trauma reduction targets for motorcycles, and motorcycle segments, in motorcycle strategies and for individual interventions. Targets should be both aspirational and empirical in nature.

Recommendation 58:
That the Transport Accident Commission and VicRoads review their driver instructional materials to deal with the issue of safety features on vehicles that may affect a driver’s ability to see motorcyclists.

Recommendation 59:
That the benefits and risks of filtering, as distinct from lane splitting, be reviewed with the aim of introducing filtering in Victoria. A review committee should be constituted within 12 months of the tabling of this report and its members must include motorcycle community stakeholders and advocates, transport academics, police and other government agencies. The review committee will be responsible for:
• Creating a definition that includes references to speed and the location of the rider on the road during filtering among others;
• Identifying the benefits and risks of legalising filtering;
• Undertaking research into the incidence of rear-end crashes and crashes involving motorcycles and other vehicles within the same lane;
• Formulating training requirements so that riders can safely filter;
• Implementing a trial of filtering, followed by an evaluation to allow for a realistic assessment of the risks of filtering; and
• Consulting with the public and motorcycle stakeholders.
The review committee will produce a report, with recommendations, and submit it to the Minister for Transport and the Road Safety Committee within 12 months of the committee being constituted.

Recommendation 60:
That the Transport Accident Commission’s funding of enforcement be reviewed with a view to identifying whether there has been an undue reliance on enforcement, by the Transport Accident Commission, and whether these funds would be more appropriately spent on alternative programs, initiatives and activities (such as subsidising countermeasures) which can improve motorcycle safety.

Recommendation 61:
That road safety agencies incorporate subsidies and incentives in motorcycle strategies, interventions and when introducing new countermeasures. Only countermeasures that have a measurable road safety benefit, either by reducing crash risk or improving trauma rates, should be eligible for such subsidies and incentives.

Recommendation 62:
That the hypothecation of funds derived from enforcement, and their transfer to a specific road safety fund which could be used to supplement existing funding for road safety measures, including those aimed at motorcyclists, such as that in Western Australia and New South Wales, be implemented in Victoria.

Recommendation 63:
That the Department of Sustainability and Environment and road safety agencies investigate ways to increase the awareness of emergency location devices among off-road motorcyclists and assess ways to improve access to such devices, including making such devices available for a small rental fee.

Recommendation 64:
That VicRoads and the Transport Accident Commission provide yearly reports to the Motorcycle Advisory Group on research, advancements and evaluations of Intelligent Transport Systems and associated technologies, both in Australia and overseas. These reports should also be made available to the public through the respective agencies websites.