Colin ‘Nobby’ Clarke, a long-time motorcycle rider with the Wairarapa Ulysses motorcycle club, is a big fan of Ride Forever courses. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

September marks the start of the motorcycle riding season, and the number of riders on the road are set to double with the onset of warmer weather.

And after a year where 46 motorcyclists died on New Zealand roads, ACC and the Wairarapa Road Safety Council have partnered to encourage drivers and riders to look out for each other on the road.

This Motorcycle Awareness Month is a timely reminder to think about what everyone can do to make motorcycling safer, says WRSC manager Bruce Pauling.

“We’re asking drivers to do three things: check their blind spot, turn their head to look behind them before changing lanes and look twice at intersections.

“These simple three things have the potential to save lives and to prevent a large number of crashes.”

Pauling said drivers may not see motorcyclists at first glance – “so check again, and look twice, these things can make all the difference”.

He said safety was a “two-way street” however.

“Motorcyclists need to step up and take responsibility for their own safety as well.

“It’s them, their pillions, and their families, who suffer in the result of a crash.

“Ensuring their machines have been serviced and road ready for spring is a must.

“Then, by enrolling with an on-road ACC Ride Forever course, they will learn the best techniques to enjoy their rides safely and responsibly.”

He said riders should always wear good safety gear, a full-face helmet, scan ahead for vehicles exiting side roads, overtake safely, and ride to the conditions

“Wairarapa has seen its share of tragedies involving motorcyclists over the past two years and is seen as a high-risk region for riders.

“The Remutaka Hill, and South Wairarapa and Masterton-Castlepoint roads can be challenging for riders, so having the right skills and techniques via great training is vital.”

To enable all riders to become safer, The Road Safety Council is providing free Ride Forever courses in Wairarapa through until Christmas.

Just book through www.rideforever.co.nz, choose ‘the two bald bikers’ trainers, and use the promo code WRSC.

Anyone signing up for the Ride Forever courses in September will also be in a draw to win $500 of motorcycle gear from ACC.

Colin ‘Nobby’ Clarke, a long-time motorcyclist with the Wairarapa Ulysses motorcycle club, is a big fan of Ride Forever courses.

“They are essential to give riders an insight into scanning ahead, road ‘positioning’, and the effects of speed, especially on corners, where a lot of riders come to grief.

“Then, riders need to continuously practice these skills.”

He would like drivers to look properly to see riders, and indicate their intentions early, so riders can adjust their line and speed accordingly.

“And riders need to get rid of the notion that car drivers are always at fault . . . we can all do better.”

Wairarapa AA board member and keen motorcyclist Tim Hintz is all for the Ride Forever courses.

“I think sometimes we think we are better riders than we actually are.

“It’s all about becoming a better rider and staying safe.

“Personally, I feel they should be compulsory for all riders.”

ACC Motorcycle programme manager David Keilty said the increase in riders over summer leads to more motorcycling crashes.

“We want riders to take a moment before they get back on their bike and refresh their skills with Ride Forever coaching.

“Riders should also check their bike is well-maintained and make sure they’re wearing the right gear.

“Last year 46 motorcyclists were killed in New Zealand, 7372 motorcyclists received treatment and support from ACC.

“The total cost of motorcycle-related claims was more than $94 million, but the real cost is to the rider, their families and their friends.”

  • For more information Motorcycle Awareness Month visit motorcycleawareness.co.nz
  • For more information about Ride Forever, visit www.wairsc.org.nz or www.rideforever.co.nz, or check out the Wairarapa Road Safety Council Facebook page.