The Forgotten Road Users

Riding a motorcycle is associated with a high risk of fatal crashes, both in Australia and in many other parts of the world. Accounting for only 4.5 percent of Australian vehicle registrations, motorcycle riders account for an alarming 15 percent of road deaths.

While the past two decades have seen significant improvements in driver education programs for car occupants, learner programs for motorcycle riders seem to have been left behind.

A recent Cochrane Review by The George Institute has revealed a worrying lack of evidence of just how effective training programs are in reducing death and serious injury for motorcycle riders. The researchers reviewed previous research studies that examined the effectiveness of both pre and post licence training across the world. They found that while compulsory pre-licence training may act as a deterrent to motorcyclists getting their licence, the level of evidence to assess motorcycle training effectiveness was so poor that they were unable to say what type of training is best.

Associate Professor, Rebecca Ivers, Director of Injury at The George Institute said, “It’s of great concern that there is such a black hole of evidence when it comes to assessing what works and what doesn’t in motorcycle rider training.”

“If governments are serious about reducing motorcycle deaths on the road they should rigorously evaluate any new or existing rider training programs so they can measure their effectiveness based on evidence rather than assumption”, says Ivers.

By 2030 road traffic injuries are predicted to become the fifth leading cause of death globally. The need for government action is even greater for low and middle income countries like India, China and Vietnam where the use of motorcycles is higher than in developed countries.

Associate Professor Rebecca Ivers is currently leading an evaluation of a motorcycle rider coaching program being run in Victoria which will go some way to addressing the gap in evidence in this area.