Motorcycle rides through traffic

Motorcycling in Victoria

The owners of more than 190,000 registered motorcycles in Victoria ride a motorcycle or motor scooter as a quick and fun way of getting around. Motorcycles and scooters are usually cheaper than a car to buy and run, can be fun to ride, and offer benefits in the congested inner city to filter through slow-moving traffic and park close to your destination. 

However, riders are more vulnerable than people in cars. A small mistake between the drivers of two vehicles may be some dented panels when both are cars, but life-threatening and life-changing when one of the vehicles is a motorcycle.

A parked Harley Davidson

Market research

In 2018, RACV undertook market research with nearly 600 Victorian on-road motorcyclists to better understand riders and their issues and concerns.

The research found that fun (45 per cent) and freedom (14 per cent) are the main reasons people ride. That was significantly higher than avoiding traffic congestion (7 per cent) and ease of getting around (6 per cent), despite that being a significant advantage of riding a motorcycle or scooter.

The market research found that the biggest issues for riders were poor driving or a lack of awareness and respect for riders (18 per cent), and motorists not paying attention or being distracted (14 per cent).

When presented with a list of more than 30 barriers, concerns and frustrations about riding, the biggest concerns were: 

A collection of motorcycles and scooters.
  • drivers not seeing riders when changing lanes (60 per cent);
  • drivers turning across their path (58 per cent); 
  • poor road conditions (46 per cent); 
  • poor weather creating hazardous conditions (43 per cent); and 
  • truck and bus drivers not seeing riders when turning or changing lanes (41 per cent). 

Despite public commentary about wire-rope crash barriers, only one-third selected wire-rope barriers as a concern. Less than one-quarter selected the TAC motorcycle levy and only one-fifth thought roadside barriers were too close to lanes.  

 

MotoCAP motorcycle clothing safety

RACV has become a partner in the MotoCAP program that will provide motorcycle riders and scooter riders with independent advice about the safety of motorcycle clothing. The program complements RACV’s funding for ANCAP and UCSR that star rate the crash worthiness of new and used cars.

Research findings

The research found that riders believe the top three actions to address these issues are more driver education and safety reminders, more education and practice for learners, and better road maintenance. RACV supports there being more education and reminders about road rules, and better road maintenance across Victoria. RACV has been vocal on these issues. 

One of the common complaints RACV hears about motorcycle riders is that they ride between cars. It’s important that car, truck and bus drivers learn that when traffic speeds are less than 30kmh, this type of riding by fully licensed riders, called ‘filtering’, is legal. Weaving through traffic at higher speeds, called ‘lane splitting’, is illegal. There are rules about when and where riders can safely and legally filter. Drivers need to look carefully for riders when changing lanes, in all traffic conditions.

RACV Motorcycle market research 2018
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Illustration of lane filtering with a motorbike

Sharing the road

RACV supports all road users responsibly ‘sharing the road’, which includes obeying the road rules and applying the courtesies and behaviours that make travel safer even when someone makes a mistake. For more information on the road rules that apply to drivers travelling near motorcycle riders, see the section sharing the road with motorcycles. For a summary of the additional rules that apply to motorcyclists riding on roads, see road rules for motorcycle riders.

RACV has partnered with MotoCAP to provide independent advice on motorcycle clothing safety