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Spring bike safety push

Wairarapa road safety council manager, Bruce Pauling, left, giving experienced rider Nobby Clarke information on the Ride Forever courses. PHOTO/JAKE BELESKI

JAKE BELESKI

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Spring is fast approaching and for some that means scouring the garage for that long-lost helmet and dusting off the motorcycle in anticipation of some long rides on the open road.

It sounds like an attractive prospect, but it is important to consider the safety of yourself, and others.

That is the message Wairarapa road safety council manager, Bruce Pauling, is hoping to portray with the ‘Ride ready for Spring’ courses.

The initiative to improve safety outcomes for motorcyclists is now being rolled out nationally by ACC.

Mr Pauling said five per cent of road users were motorcyclists, but they were involved in 15 per cent of fatal crashes.

“2015 saw the highest number of motorcycle deaths and serious injuries since 1997, with 54 deaths and over 1200 injuries.

“Wairarapa, with the Rimutaka Hill and our scenic rural road network, is a real attraction for enthusiasts, but without all the safety boxes ticked, a pleasant Sunday ride can have tragic consequences.”

He said machines had often been sitting idle in the shed for months without any maintenance or attention, while enthusiasts from a few years ago were also taking up riding again, and some would be a bit rusty and simply not equipped.

“I wanted local riders to have safe machines, but also encourage them to upskill and brush up on their riding techniques by doing an ACC ‘Ride Forever’ on-road course.”

Local retailers Fagan Motorcycles, Langlands Motorcycles, Sargent Motorcycles and Barry Jessop Motorcycles would do free motorcycle safety checks, as well as discussing any issues with the rider and providing information on how to book a free Ride Forever course, he said.

Wairarapa resident Nobby Clarke has been riding since he was 18, and is a member of the Ulysses Wairarapa branch.

The courses were a great initiative, he said.

“A motorbike will naturally stand up and go straight, and anything that goes wrong is usually your own fault.

“In the Ride Forever courses you learn to do different things and slow down correctly.”

Not riding over the winter months could cause rustiness, and you could forget things, he said.

“These courses bring it all back to you.

“The big thing is that riding a motorbike you’re actually living the road, unlike in a car where you just point where you want to go.”

Dates will be set once numbers are confirmed, and Mr Pauling said courses would be held on a Saturday or Sunday.

Riders would be fitted out with communication equipment and be on the road for the whole day, incorporating the Rimutaka Hill, local roads and possibly a loop ride to Whanganui.

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