Queensland

Motorcycle deaths make up one quarter of Queensland road toll: police

Almost one quarter of Queensland's 2015 road toll – the 242 Queenslanders who died last year in a road accident – was linked to motorcycles, senior police confirmed on New Year's Day.

And yet motorcycles make up less than 4 per cent of the 4.9 million registered vehicles on Queensland roads.

Motorbike accidents made up one quarter of Queensland's 2015 road toll: Police
Motorbike accidents made up one quarter of Queensland's 2015 road toll: Police Photo: John Paul Moloney

Queensland's 2015 road toll was 242; 19 more than 2014, but the second-best result for Queensland road safety authorities since records have been taken.

The per capita road toll trend shows a gradual decline with the fatalities falling from 32.14 fatalities per 100,000 population in 1974 to 4.72 fatalities per 100,000 people in 2015.

However of the 242 road fatalities in 2015, 54 were linked to motorcycles – where the victim was either a motorcycle rider, a pillion passenger on a motorcycle or was struck by a motorcycle.

That is 17 motorcycle road deaths more in 2015 than in 2014.

Police have been extremely concerned at the safety risks of motorcycles for a decade.

Indeed Queensland's last road fatality for 2015 was a motorcycle crash, Commissioner Ian Stewart told reporters.

Main Roads and Queensland's first-ever Road Safety Minister Mark Bailey said the road toll must be driven down as quickly as possible.

He outlined several changes to try to reduce Queensland's road toll to 200 per year by 2020.

  • $500 million to be allocated over two years targeting high risk road fatality locations around Queensland;
  • Changes to motorcycle licences in 2016;
  • Fast-tracking 'separations' between highway lanes;
  • New social media campaign to persuade young drivers to 'settle down'; and
  • Extra 100 sets of flashing lights around school zones.

Motorcycle licence changes: Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey

"Of great concern this year has been the number of motorcycle fatalities," Mr Bailey said.

"It often involves a single motorcycle and no other vehicle," he said.

Mr Bailey said changes to motorcycle licences would be bought in to place from 2016.

"Motorcycle riders will need to have longer at each level before they progress to more powerful bikes," Mr Bailey said.

"That is to get the experience, so we can drive the motorcycle road toll down."

New social media campaign targeting young drivers

Mr Bailey said the new social media campaign – launched in mid 2015 - would appear in 2016, targeting young drivers in particular.

"It's targeted at young people – our highest risk demographic in terms of road fatalities – designed by them, talking to them – you will see that in 2016 as well."

Road deaths increase in North Queensland

Assistant Commissioner Mike Keating said the biggest increases in fatal road accidents were in North Queensland.

"We are seeing deaths by people making poor decisions right across the state, but we have seen a  spike over the past 18 months or so in the Far North District," he said.

Assistant Commissioner Keating specifically listed the Peninsula Development Road, roads around Cooktown and Mareeba and Mount Mulligan.

"The Central Police region has seen a reduction in three fatalities for the year and there have been some slight increases in Brisbane and Gold Coast region as well," he said.

However Assistant Commissioner Keating said police research showed road conditions were not causing accidents, instead blaming poor decisions by motorists.

"People don't make a good assessment of the risk that they face," he said.

Ice beginning to emerge in drug driving tests

Between one in four and one in five Queensland drivers stopped by police have tested positive for drugs; mostly cannabis, he said.

"The major substance that we are still seeing is cannabis. But there are some variations depending on the age brackets," he said.

"Ice has increased marginally, but not significantly. Overwhelmingly cannabis is still the drug that we test," he said.

More than 33,000 were drug-tested on Queensland roads in 2015, up from 21,000 in 2014, because the number of police officers who can run drug-testing jumped from 50 to 300.

Assistant Commissioner Keating said the road toll trend was positive, even if each individual road death was a personal tragedy.

"If we look at it over a five year trend – it is actually 16 below where we would see it – on average - for that period," he said.

He said it was possible to reduce Queensland's road toll to 200 by 2020.

"I think that is an aspirational target that we can certainly achieve if everybody commits to it, yes."

Don't miss important news stories. Like us on Facebook.

45 comments