Fatal motorcycle crashes in Northland 2019
January 1: Waipapakauri, 22-year-old on a Harley Davidson
January 7: Kawakawa, 48-year-old on a Harley Davidson
March 16: Tangowahine, 63-year-old on a Harley Davidson
March 16: SH12, Omania, 46-year-old on a Harley Davidson
A Northland woman is urging motorcyclists to be more visible on the road after a dramatic change in motorist attitudes when she switched traditional black leathers for pink.
The call comes as road safety officials push to make the region’s roads safer for motorcyclists after it was identified that of the 10 fatal crashes in Northland this year, four have involved men on Harley Davidson motorcycles.
At the Regional Transport Committee meeting in Whangarei this week Far North District councillor and experienced motorcycle rider Ann Court explained since she had swapped the traditional black coloured riding gear for a pink leather jacket and started wearing her long hair down, she had noticed a marked change in driver behaviour.
“You’ve got to have bright gear on so everyone can see you. Black helmets and black leathers really do just blend into the road,” Court said.
“When I changed to pink the attitudinal change in motorists behaviour happened over night.”
Drivers gave her a wider berth when passing and were more cautious when completing a passing manoeuvre and merging back into traffic.
She credited the change with being more visible and the fact she could be identified as a woman rider.
Court, who has been riding motorcycles on and off for 40 years, rode a Harley Davidson before swapping to a Triumph Bonneville. She said when she started to ride the bigger road bikes she enrolled in a “Ride Forever” course and gained some essential safety tips.
NZ Transport Agency statistics show that between 2014 and the year to date there have been 20 fatalities involving motorcyclist and moped riders in Northland.
During the same period there were 149 people seriously injured.
Loss of control on a bend or a head-on crashes was the most common type of crash in 89 crashes followed by crossing or turning in 19 and overtaking 18.
The most common factors were poor handling, alcohol, speed and poor observation.
Agency stats also show that in the period from October 1 to December 31 2018 the Northland police district had the highest number of motorcyclists hospitalised for less than a day per 100,000 population with 24.
Transport projects officer at Northland Regional Council Ian Crayton-Brown said in an effort to address the concerning trend new motorcyclist road signs, funded by ACC, were being posted around the popular and high-risk corridors and routes in Northland.
Work had also started on the development of a “Northland Motorcycle Safety” Strategy aimed at informing road safety partners and road controlling authorities.
During January and February this year, 46 motorcyclists had attended the “Ride Forever” motorcycle safety-training course which were jointly subsidised by ACC and NRC.
Senior Sergeant Ian Rowe said Harley Davidson bikes were designed for cruising America’s straight roads with sweeping corners not New Zealand’s, and in particular Northland’s twisty roads.
Ride Forever instructor Lance Goulsbro said Harley Davidson bikes attracted a certain type of attitude and style of rider who often did not think they needed to attend courses.
ACC figures show motorcyclists who are under 30 and over 40 are most at risk and those riding high-powered bikes with engines over 600cc were involved in the most fatal and serious injury crashes.
Most motorcycle crashes happened between noon and 8pm with a large weekend peak between noon and 4pm.
ACC said motorcycling had increased, particularly in the older age groups.