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Published: 2013-10-23 00:00:00

With the number of motorcycles on Waikato roads expected to swell over the Labour long weekend and coming weeks, riders are being urged to first check their bikes are road ready.

The Waikato Regional Road Safety Education Group has erected billboards on key routes on the state highway network popular with riders. 

These billboards will be in place until mid December and promote four key safety messages for riders: plan corners, avoid driver’s blind spots, allow time to react, and respect road conditions. 

“Spring traditionally marks a return to riding, with motorcyclists keen to get back on the road and take advantage of the improving weather,” said Waikato Regional Council’s road safety coordinator, Monique Haines. 

“When you’re heading out on that first ride, give your tyres and yourself a chance to warm up. Also, take the time to perform a pre-ride check of your bike, as careful checks may help to prevent a crash. A well maintained, regularly serviced and well set up bike is a joy to ride,” Mrs Haines, also a motorcycle enthusiast, said. 

“It’s no surprise that motorcyclists have a higher level of risk per kilometre travelled. The risk of being involved in a fatal or injury crash is 20 times higher for a motorcyclist than a car driver over the same distance travelled.

“Motorcyclists make up nine per cent of all injured road users and face risks higher than other vehicle drivers. The two main risk factors are a decreased stability and a much lower level of occupant protection than is provided by a car.”

The peak times for all motorcycle crashes are between 12 noon and 4pm on Saturdays and Sundays for recreational riders, and between 4pm and 8pm on weekdays for commuters.

“Riders make up 42 per cent of all casualties, but 71 per cent of road deaths. Many of these will be riders of bikes 500cc or bigger, because they spend a greater proportion of time on highways travelling at higher speeds.”

Mrs Haines urged all motorcyclists to take the opportunity to attend road rider training courses to improve their skills and confidence.

“Riding training events are run across the region and they’re not just for beginners – they are also ideal for experienced riders, as well as those returning to riding after a break of a number of years.”

More tips to keep you safe while riding, as well as information on Waikato rider training events, can be found at www.reducetherisk.co.nz

The Waikato Regional Road Safety Education Group is led by Waikato Regional Council, working in conjunction with other regional safety stakeholders including the NZ Transport Agency, NZ Police, ACC and councils.