Once upon a time the MRA ACT had an ongoing quarterly newsletter called The Inside Line, however the member responsible was unable to continue the publication. We would love it if one of our current, or prospective, members could take this mantle up again.

If you think you could help, we’d love to hear from you! Please approach any of the committee members to discuss.

From the AMC: ARRB

This is a guest posting from Guy Stanford from the Australian Motorcycle Council

David Milling, from the Australian Road Research Board (ARRB), was the rider of the hi-tech FJR1300 used by ARRB to collect data as part of studies in recent years conducted in Queensland and South Australia into motorcycles and road infrastructure.

Last month, Dave made a presentation at the annual International Transport Forum in Germany about motorcycles and infrastructure. This focussed on what can be done to improve motorcycle safety across the network and emphasising the need for greater consideration of motorcycles in transport planning. His presentation drew significantly on the 2016 Austroads report Infrastructure improvements to reduce motorcycle casualties, and of note he made a point of mentioning that the Australian Motorcycle Council and our member organisations had been directly consulted in the preparation of that report.

There are many facts, figures and references in this report that will be of great use going forward, and we’ll certainly be bringing this report to the attention of Infrastructure Minister Michael McCormack.

The full report can be downloaded here, and it is highly recommended to take the time to read through.

ACT Black Dog 1 Dayer 2018
On Sunday 18 March, some of the MRA ACT committee took part in the ACT leg of the Black Dog Ride 1 Dayer; going from Queenbeyan to Batemans Bay.

The MRA ACT enjoys contributing to and/or taking part in causes that benefit riders, and the general community, and it was a pleasure to ride together with over 160 people united under the banner of support and raising awareness; we have been informed that the day was able to raise ~$5,500.00!

The Cause

I cannot say it better than the Black Dog Ride themselves, so:

1 in 5 Australians experience a mental health condition each year. 3 million Australians are living with depression or anxiety. 8 Australians take their lives each day. That’s nearly 3,000 lives lost each year. 180 Australians attempt to take their lives each day. The tragic loss of our loved ones to suicide drives Black Dog Ride to build a community culture of awareness, inclusion and acceptance. Breaking down the barrier of silence encourages our friends, family and colleagues to seek help, because mental illnesses are just that, illnesses. They can be managed and people living with them can lead meaningful, fulfilling lives. Fostering awareness is the catalyst for encouraging help seeking behaviour and preventing suicide.

For more information see the official Black Dog Ride site.

Photos from the Morning

The MRA ACT presence Less focus on the MRA ACT presence
Early still, coffee line short, and only one row of bikes so far Motorcyclists aren't known for their ability to line up straight ...
Second row is filling up nicely A bit over three rows in the end, over 250 riders! Let's RIDE!!!
***CALLING ALL STATES*** AMC Welcomes Road Rule Changes

It is with great privilege to be able to relay the Australian Motorcycle Council’s media release concerning the new nationally-agreed Australian Road Rules published this week.

Of note are the following:

  • Formalise the use of European helmets certified to UN/ECE 22-05

    UN/ECE 22-05 provide safer helmets and a more competitive market

  • Clarify that standards compliance for helmets is at point of manufacture

    Current Rules demand a helmet must be in exactly the same condition as when sold; unmarked by use and including all original packaging and booklets, which is impossible

  • Remove legally-grey areas, such as use of dark visors in bright daylight, and use of communicators and cameras

  • Provide uniform Rules for lane filtering

    Currently four different sets of rules exist, with considerable variation

  • Tidy up some small variations resulting from unclear definition criteria

The MRA ACT is proud to have been part of this discussion in providing a more consistent and safer riding environment for all Australians. At the state level, individuals, government bodies, and associations, like ours, are readying to lobby the state/territorial government to adopt these new national rules, with as little alteration/amendment as possible.

The full media release from the Australian Motorcycle Council can be viewed here.

Supporting Our Community – Thanks from St John’s Care

Rhonda Thorpe, Operations Manager to St John’s Care, sent a beautiful letter of thanks to all MRA ACT members for the continued generosity and support of community organisations such as theirs.

An excerpt from the letter:

Last year in the Present Room, we were able to provide major gifts, books and stocking fillers for around 525 children who otherwise might not have received much at Christmas. We were also able to give out toys to families coming to our Emergency Relief Centre (ERC) who did not meet the criteria for accessing the Present Room.

As well, we provided Christmas hampers to the 237 families who attended the Present Room and used the remainder of our 300 hampers in the ERC in the week before Christmas. In the three weeks of December when we were open for business, we saw 440 clients in the ERC. This is more than we would usually expect to see in an entire month. Those who didn’t receive full Christmas hampers received some Christmas items along with their regular groceries and fresh food.

On Christmas Day, we provided a 2-course lunch for over 250 people plus soft drinks, tea and coffee and cake. As well, there were bon bons, Christmas carols for all to join in led by our wonderful musicians, a visit from Santa Claus and bags of sweets to take home.

Please pass on my heartfelt thanks to the members of the MRA for their support and my best wishes for 2018.

So, to all of our members, thank you for your membership and support; we are only able to help others thanks to you.

The letter in full is available here.

From the AMC: Towards 2020: Vital Next Phase of Automated Vehicle Regulation Approved

This is a guest posting from Guy Stanford from the Australian Motorcycle Council


What is proper control of a vehicle?

The big question is WHO is liable in the case of a crash with an automated vehicle (property damage and injury compensation).

Many road authority administrators believe that replacing humans with robots will solve all the problems of crashes – by removing the unreliable human.
This has a lot of appeal to the road safety people and a number of them are nothing short of gaggin’ for it, as it means they can finally make themselves relevant.

It appears that many politicos in the road safety area have been well lunched by the vendors of automated vehicles and may have a rosy-eyed view.
The risk is that policy may become tilted in favour of robots and against the ordinary road user.
PARTICULARLY for motorcyclists.

Motorcycle detection technology is quite backward.

e.g. it has been proposed that motorcycles be required to carry a transponder so that automated vehicles can more readily detect them; this must be vigorously opposed on several grounds.

  • Firstly, economic grounds.
  • It would mean that “regulatory protection” has been granted to the vendors of automated vehicles, allowing the vendors to project their business risk onto the road using public (including push bikes and strollers).

  • Secondly, technology grounds.
  • The need for detection technology would be shelved (saving the vendors development costs).
    Robotic cars would rely entirely on the transponder (which may not work reliably, or simply fail due to the high-vibration environment of a motorcycle – as do many items already in service).

  • Thirdly, privacy grounds.
  • Detection beacons would become a feature of every major street corner, identifying every motorcycle as to time, place, speed, frequency, company kept, etc.

The latest report from the NTC seems to focus on ONE aspect only of the steady move towards sharing the road with autonomous and partially autonomous vehicles.

We need to keep reading, tracking policy development as well as tracking the thinking of administrators attempting to implement that policy.
Identifying the relevant policy wonks in each jurisdiction would be useful.

The big problem will be “scope creep”.
(when a basic item agreed to, is used to justify a more invasive or one-party favourable aspect)
The common problem will be narrow minded thinking focused only on cars or heavy transport.

We need to raise our profile as motorcyclists at the highest levels of policy steering.
(as noted by Shaun at the AGM, the TIC includes representatives of cars, trucks, buses, but not motorcycles)

If we fail to protest errors or wrong-headed directions at each development point, we fail as motorcycle advocates.
(remember, we are NOT “lobbyists”)
There are broad societal impacts ahead. This is really important.