MOTORCYCLISTS in Victoria have two Police to look out for, as Operation Motus – a patrol unit specifically aimed at policing motorcyclists – has been unveiled by Victorian police in an attempt to curb the spike in recent rider fatalities, which has so far seen 28 riders killed in 2016.
The operation signals a shift in the focus of the Victorian Police Solo Unit, as more than 70 police motorbikes will patrol major roads at peak periods.
The focus of the Solo Unit will be to target all motorcyclists in an attempt to isolate unlicensed riders or those riding outside the conditions of their licence, speed, impairment, unsafe/illegal behaviour and those wearing ‘inappropriate’ protective clothing.
Big questions remain over the unit being able find an unlicensed riders or those rising outside of the conditions of their licence short of pulling over everyone they come across have not been answered directly.
Road Policing Assistant Commissioner Doug Fryer said, “If you’re a motorcyclist in Victoria who hasn’t been checked by the police lately, expect that to change.”
That sounds like it means officers will pull over every rider they come across.
Mr Fryer said the patrols were to ‘warn’, ‘educate’ and ‘engage’ with riders, “It may be to talk to them about appropriate clothing, or the line they are taking when they are riding.”
Why are we getting a police response to an increase in rider fatalities which sounds like it’s going to result in lectures from police about your choice of riding gear and the way you ride – even if both are within the law.
What right do the police have to delay a licensed, law-abiding motorcyclist with a lecture about appropriate clothing?
The Victorian Police has no civil right or obligation to do this.
Cycle Torque encourages motorcyclists – especially anyone with a high risk of being involved in an accident (including but not limited to learners, returning riders and idiots) – to wear motorcycle-specific protective gear, but we don’t believe Police should be pulling people over and ‘chatting’ about riders’ choices.
We also don’t believe it is our job to lecture riders either. Inform riders about what is out there, yes… we do that, but what you choose to wear is none of our business, nor is it any of the police’s business.
It will make riders become paranoid of being pulled over without breaking the law.
When riders are paranoid about being pulled over, their comfortable, ‘police-approved’ safety gear isn’t aiding concentration, which is one of the reasons the police will tell you to buy it, when they pull you over and proceed with a lecture and ‘random’ breath-test.
Checking the speedo every 10 seconds might also end up in riders taking the wrong line from time to time, and hence pulled over for education purposes, and yep… another ‘random’ breath-test.
“There are certain aspects of policing motorcycles that can’t be done by vehicles,” Mr Fryer said.
“We have had a horror start to the year when it comes to motorcycle fatalities and this is our response.
“The Solo Unit will now be deployed to areas we have identified as particular hot spots for motorcycle fatalities, collisions or dangerous behaviour.”
Mr Fryer has previously told the Herald Sun the closest thing to a pattern they can establish with this year’s death toll is good weather, but “long-term trend data highlights that riding a motorcycle in Victoria — when looking at 20-year trend data — has never been safer.”
A recent Victorian Government-funded tourism strategy actually outlined the benefits of motorcycling in the area, the Minister for Tourism and Major Events Louise Asher said, “motorcycle tourism has the potential to make an important contribution to the Victorian economy, particularly in regional areas,” and these measures will only deter motorcyclists from travelling to this nanny state.
Any revenue raised from nabbing a few unlicensed and speeding riders will not be offset by motorcyclists being put off travelling to Victoria.
“Motorcycling is the fastest growing road user sector, nationally experiencing eight per cent growth per year over the last decade and 12.5 per cent in sales growth last year alone,” Asher said.
Victorian police will say Operation Motus will be a success if the death toll is lower.
But, will it?
No one will want ride a motorcycle there long enough to find out.