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Mark

Mark Collins

Year of Award: 2013 Award State: Victoria Transport And Infrastructure > General
Transport And Infrastructure > Road
To improve motorcycle rider safety by updating training methods and curricula in Australia - Japan, UK, Netherlands, Austria, USA
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Motorcycle riding and particularly commuting are increasing in popularity in Australia, however this growth has seen an increase in rider casualties, particularly for novice riders who are three times more likely to be involved in a crash compared to more experienced riders.

In most states, new riders attend a training and assessment course prior to becoming licensed, and logically this would seem the best opportunity for them to attain good riding skills and defensive riding strategies required to ride safely. However, Australian training and licensing systems don’t appear to be addressing the needs of novice riders if crash involvement is used to measure success. Current training programs concentrate mainly on physical riding skills, and are sadly out date in terms of curriculum development and tackling the higher order cognitive skills and thinking styles required to ride safely in today’s traffic conditions.

This study will review a number of international training methods and licensing programs with a view to suggesting and incorporating ‘best practice’ into the Australian scene.

Ray Ochs from The Motorcycle Safety Foundation (USA) has been developing rider training programs and instructor courses for over two decades. He outlined the course review process, identified ‘must have’ course components, summarised learner-centred techniques and discussed instructor skills and training. These features require serious consideration for the Australian situation if we are to improve novice rider outcomes.

Arjan Everink from The Royal Dutch Motorcyclists Association (KNMV) has developed and been running an on-road training program for licensed riders that aims to make them more aware of the risks involved in riding, and to take more responsibility for their own safety. This is one of the first training programs in the world to show positive safety outcomes for the participants. Australian program designers should review this work when developing risk programs for new riders.

Dr Martin Winkelbauer from The Austrian Road Safety Board (KfV) has co-developed a multi stage training program for new riders with behavioural factors and acknowledgement of risk being given precedence over riding skills as the most effective way of avoiding incidents. Australian licensing programs concentrate mainly on reactionary riding skills instead of proactive behavioural strategies as a way of reducing crashes. This focus on behaviour strategies should be considered by Australian licence program developers.

The ability of riding instructors to relate to students, critique riding skills accurately, and to frame the learning process for the individual was extremely well demonstrated during the Diploma of Advanced Riding Instruction delivered by Paul Mostyn of The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents in the UK. There is much Australia can learn from international instructor training and accreditation programs, and as above, there needs to be national agreement and a dedicated training authority to direct and oversee this process.

Australian states need a licensing program that is coordinated nationally, where the development process involves road safety experts, licensing agencies and training providers working cooperatively to incorporate ‘best practice’ methods and systems from other jurisdictions.

 

The recommendations made in this report can have positive outcomes for rider training and licensing schemes, with the ultimate aim of improving novice rider safety. I will communicate these findings to the relevant licensing authorities, state road safety groups, rider and driver training organisations and research organisations and universities in an attempt to reduce novice rider crashes in Australia.

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