“All of a sudden, motorbikes are everywhere”

September is an important time of the year for the motorbike community.

The start of spring marks the launch of Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. It is an ACC and Motorcycle Safety Advisory Council initiative held during September to raise awareness of motorcycle safety.

“More than 50 per cent of motorcyclists de-register and put their bikes away over the winter months,” says ACC Injury Prevention Partner Dave Keilty.

“But now you’re going to see those bikes start to come back out in the warmer weather.

“So, all of a sudden from a car driver’s perspective bikes are everywhere, they seem to be coming from all directions, at speed and it can be quite daunting.”

From a motorbike riders’ perspective, Keilty says it’s important to ease into your riding after the break.

“This month is a time to refresh your skills, or knock your sharp edges off, anything that might have gone a bit rusty over the break. And it’s just nice to get out on the bike again.”

In 2022, ACC accepted 4185 motorbike related injury claims – the highest number in the past three years. 

In 2022, the leading regions for motorbike related injuries were Auckland (1045) Waikato (617), Canterbury (471) and Bay of Plenty (345).

Men (3406) made more than four times the number of motorbike injury claims compared to women (779).

Motorcyclists make up four per cent of the total motor-vehicles on the road, but in 2022 they made up 20 percent of the cost of road crashes.  In 2022, ACC managed 7,000 active claims for motorcyclists with a total cost of $119 million.

One reason for this is due to the lack of protection motorcyclists have compared to other vehicles, making riders 21 times more likely to be killed or severely injured in a crash.

Keilty says motorbike riders and car drivers are both responsible for reducing motorcycle fatalities and injuries.

Riders need to make sure their gear and bikes are in good condition before hitting the roads. While car drivers should keep an eye out for motorcyclists, particularly at intersections.

From 2016 - 2020 there were 2,758 crashes involving a motorcycle or moped at urban intersections, Waka Kotahi (NZ Transport Agency) data shows.  Of those, 538 involved serious injury and there were 38 fatalities.

Drivers are at fault in 90 per cent of crashes between cars and motorbikes at urban intersections, Ministry of Transport figures show.

“We’ve got to be more aware of the dangers at intersections – all of us,” says Keilty.  

“Look again for motorcyclists, not just the gap. Be aware of your blind spots.”

To improve safety for riders, ACC runs the Ride Forever coaching programme. Riders who have completed a Ride Forever course are up to 50 per cent less likely to lodge a motorcycle-related accident claim than non-trained riders.

“We have people who have been riding for over 40 years who then get on a course and say how much of an eye-opener it is,” says Keilty.

“There’s no reason not to get on one. So, find your nearest course on our website and sign up – it might just save your life.”

ACC encourages riders to follow these steps to stay safe on the road:

  1. Check your bikes are well maintained
  2. Ensure your gear is up to scratch
  3. Refresh your skills by completing an ACC Ride Forever coaching programme

Learn more about Ride Forever at www.rideforever.co.nz

Motorcycle Awareness Month

  • During September you can register for a course for free using the MAM23 code when you book
  • Check out if you are eligible for Cashback, get $100 off your rego for 2 years!

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