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Innovative road markings to improve motorcycle safety

2 May 2014

Innovative road markings to improve motorcycle safety

People travelling in the Southern Coromandel area this month will notice some unusual road markings in the lanes before deceptive corners, says the NZ Transport Agency today.

These planned new lane markings are part of the Safer Rides multi-agency project aimed at improving motorcyclist safety. The 130km Southern Coromandel Loop (Kopu/Whangamata/Waihi/Paeroa/Kopu) has experienced a disproportionately high number of serious motorcycle crashes in recent years. While just one to three percent of the vehicles that travel along the route are motorcycles, between 2008-2012, motorcyclists were involved in 44% of all fatal and serious injury crashes.

The innovative lane markings are designed to reduce the rider's speed on the approach to deceptive corners and improve their lane positioning. The initiative, is known as a perceptual countermeasure because of the way it changes the way the road looks or is perceived by motorcyclists.

Hamish Mackie from Mackie Research and Consulting, is a human factors specialist involved in evaluating the Coromandel project for effectiveness.

“These road markings will provide riders with advance warning about the actual geometry of the curve ahead, which will hopefully encourage them to slow down before the approach. We also want to encourage riders to take a safe line through the curve by perceptually narrowing the road using lane markings. This has a slowing effect and has been trialled for general traffic in other parts of the country.” says Hamish.

Michelle Te Wharau, Transport Agency Principal Safety Engineer, says the effect these markings have on rider speed and lane position will be closely monitored and analysed.

“The lane markings are just one of a series of safety improvements being trialled. Other initiatives include upgraded signage, road surface improvements, removal or protection of roadside hazards as well as new rescue helicopter landing areas” says Michelle.

The Transport Agency is working in partnership with other road safety groups, including Motorcycle Safety Advisory Council; NZ Police; ACC; Thames-Coromandel and Hauraki District Councils; Waikato Regional Council as well as motorcycling user groups.

“While the Safer Rides project has a focus on motorcyclists, the initiatives planned will benefit all road users” says Mrs Te Wharau.



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