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Rimutaka Hill motorcyclists encouraged to attend skills day

Rimutaka Hill motorcyclists encouraged to attend Martinborough skills day

Motorcyclists who ride regularly on the Rimutaka Hill Road are encouraged to attend a skills and safety training day in Martinborough this Sunday 9 February.

“This is a great opportunity for experienced riders to refresh their skills and maybe learn something new, and of course it would be beneficial for new riders,” says Susan Hutchinson-Daniel, the Regional Council’s motorcycle safety coordinator.

“Professional motorcycle trainers from Roadsafe Motorcycle Riding Techniques Ltd will take motorcyclists through a set of challenging exercises and answer any riding questions. And there’s also an opportunity to learn some basic maintenance to keep you riding safely.”

There are spot prizes to be won and all participants go in a draw for a $200 voucher for motorcycle gear.

Motorcycle skills training in Wellington region is supported and sponsored by ACC, the NZ Transport Agency, local councils and Greater Wellington Regional Council.

Susan Hutchinson-Daniel, the Regional Council’s motorcycle safety coordinator, says skills training was identified as a priority by motorcyclists who took part in a ‘Safe Ride Rimutaka’ consultation last September.

“We spoke to 170 riders from six motorcycle clubs in the region about how we could reduce the injury crash rate for motorcyclists on the Rimutaka Hill Road.
Crash statistics for Rimutaka Hill Road show that between 2007 – 2012 (2013 results are still being finalised) 84% of crashes involved riders losing control on a bend, 76% of crashes happened on a weekend, and 89% of crashes happened when the road was dry.

Consultation participants suggested a range of actions that motorcyclists, clubs, police, NZTA and other agencies could do to make the Rimutaka Hill Road ride safer. Suggestions included motoryclists attend rider skills training and be proactive about reporting hazards on the road. Clubs could ensure that bike maintenance is included as a regular part of their programmes and could discourage close formation group riding on the Rimutaka Hill Road and similar routes. Police patrols travelling over the road could report any hazards and spills for prompt response and police could investigate the use of cameras for enforcement of drivers who cross the centreline. Councils and other agencies could develop campaigns encouraging other road users to be aware of motorcyclists.

In addition, participants suggested that NZTA could undertake a range of measures: provide more vehicle bays and slow passing lanes, and install more signs about slow lanes, keep a watching brief on trials of motorcycle-friendly barrier designs in New Zealand and overseas; progressively improve the quality of the road surface, plan for longer term reconstruction work to correct camber and alignment issues and work with partners to develop guidelines or regulations that will prevent unsuitable heavy vehicles from using the route.

Since the consultation, the Transport Agency has installed several signs including “Stopping Bays” to encourage slower vehicles to pull over. It’s about to commence detailed design on the remaining sections of the hill that require roadside barriers for installation later on this year.

The Transport Agency is also investigating the speed limit over the hill with the intention to reduce parts of the route to a safer speed limit and is investigating the installation of electronic weather activated speed limit signs.

The Martinborough skills training will run on Sunday 9 February from 9am – 1.30pm in Texas Street (just off The Square). To register and for more information, contact: Bruce Pauling tel: 06 377 1379 or email: rsmanager@wairsc.org.nz
ends

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