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Knowledge, key to bike safety

Friday, July 04, 2014    

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MOTORCYCLE safety was a key topic during the recently held Driver & Road Safety Expo at Jamaica College, St Andrew.

"We're just not getting through to the bikers," Kenute Hare, director road safety unit in the Ministry of Transport, Works, and Housing, told Auto.

Hare's concern is due to the increase in motorcycle ownership among younger and inexperienced riders.

"We have actually began information campaigns at the high school level," Hare said.

Biker Tarik Kiddoe provided a well-received presentation which addressed problems that left riders vulnerable. He cites the two key factors for accidents as lack of risk management and lack of training.

"The first thing is that riders have to access several key areas like speed, weather, traffic conditions, etc, before taking to the road," Kiddoe said.

As for training, he acknowledges that many new riders approach motorcycle operation from a bicycle standpoint.

"The number one cause of fatal motorcycle accidents, where no other vehicle is involved, is failure to negotiate a turn. This happens because most young riders aren't aware of how a bike actually turns at speed. They panic and crash," he explained.

This ignorance is enhanced by two other factors: the company the rider keeps and a circumvention of the licensing process.

"Who you ride with plays a big role. If their riding peers are not disciplined when they are learning from them, the rider probably won't be as well," he said.

Hare addressed the licensing issue.

"Riders have been able to bypass certification and training by constantly renewing their learner's permit. This is something fixed in the upcoming road traffic act," Hare announced.

Kiddoe's presentation also looked at the role safety gear plays in reducing rider injuries and the most common bike vehicle accident, the hook collision.

— RD

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