Motorcyclists would need to have L-plate car driving experience for one year before switching to two wheels under a radical new safety plan.
A South Australian university review of motorcycle safety has recommended Learner rider ages be lifted to 18 years (with a full 12 months on ‘L’ plates) and unrestricted licence holders to 21 years and six months (up from 20 years).
SA Police Minister Corey Wingard has confirmed the plan is being considered by the State Government as part of a review of motorcycle licencing.
“Exposing potential young motorcycle riders to the rules of the road in the relative safety of a car before allowing them access to a learner bike licence could save lives,’’ Mr Wingard said.
The one-year-in-a-car-first rule for motorcycle learners was first proposed in a 2017 University of Adelaide study at the beginning of the current licencing scheme reform process.
”Driving a car involves a lower level of risk than a motorcycle, so the novice progresses from learning to drive a car to the more difficult and risky task of learning to ride a motorcycle,’’ the study found.
In the past 5 years motorcyclists represented 17% of serious injuries and 12% of fatalities on our roads. In the last 5 years on average 11 motorcyclists were killed and 127 were seriously injured on South Australian roads. In 2016 motorcycle fatalities fell to 8, the lowest in the last 5 years. The majority of motorcycle crashes occur on straight level roads in dry conditions. Over half of serious casualty crashes are single vehicle type crashes involving only the motorcycle. 46% of serious casualty crashes in the Adelaide Metro area occur at intersections and 15% in the rural areas are at intersections. 42% of serious casualties are males aged over 45 years of age. While younger rider serious casualties have been decreasing in numbers they are still over-represented in terms of motorcycle licence and registration numbers. Almost one third of the riders killed had an illegal alcohol level and nearly a quarter tested positive to drugs.