November 6, 2015 at 9:30 am #10167
Rank: 1200cc Rider
- Location: Hamilton
- Bike: Suzuki DR650 ADV
Middle-aged men riding increasingly powerful motorcycles are being given a rev-up over road safety.
Data from insurer IAG shows that last year, the highest number of motorcycle claims came from 41 to 45-year-old males.
The last three years also saw a 10 per cent drop in claims from 19 to 25-year-olds, defying stereotypes of testosterone-fuelled youths.
Ministry of Transport statistics show a huge reversal in accident demographics since the 1980s, when those killed or injured were almost all young riders.
In the last three years, 81 bikies over the age of 40 have died, compared to 50 deaths in all other age groups.
Chris Kiddey, a technical claims expert at specialist insurer Swann, said many motorcycles were ridden recreationally.
The data could suggest returning riders, or new riders starting later in life, were not taking to the road with the caution required, he said.
“It can take a few years to be able to afford a big powerful one.
“The motorbikes may be more powerful and agile than they remember, and the riders a little less so.”
The majority of bikes on New Zealand roads are new models, with many registered in the last two years.
Average engine sizes are increasing over time and are now close to 625 cubic centimetres.
According to ACC, owners of big bikes over 600cc would face a five-fold increase in levies if they were made to cover the full cost of accident claims.
While the compulsory accident insurer plans to keep the current levy at $429, it said the real cost would be $2114.
Men make up 81 per cent of all injured motorcyclists, and 94 per cent of those killed in accidents.
The Ministry of Transport’s manager of land transport safety, Leo Mortimer, said motorcyclists were 19 times more likely to be killed than car drivers, based on distances travelled.
He said those that were returning to riding should visit the rideforever.co.nz website, and make sure their bike was appropriate to their needs.
For at-fault collisions, the average cost of an insurance claims in the last three years was about $3000.
Kiddey said almost half of all motorbikes had to be written off after accidents, compared to about 10 per cent of cars.
“To a degree that’s obviously because the average motorbike costs less than a car, but it also represents the fact that if a bike gets in an accident, the damage is often major.”
Wellington had the highest number of motorcycle claims for the last three years, double the total number in central Auckland.
Kiddey said that could be a reflection of the windy and hilly roads, and the weather.
In recent years, there was also a spike in accidents during the evening commuting window of 5pm to 7pm.
Kiddey urged riders to take greater care on the road, especially during peak periods when there was more traffic around.
Even if you are a highly skilled rider, other drivers can present the biggest risk:
- Increased visibility could save your life. Wear high-vis clothing and reflectors, and keep your lights on.
- Know your bike. The difference between one motorbike and another, in relation to your own height and weight, can be far more significant than the difference between cars.
- If you are new to riding, take a motorcycle skills course. Ride Forever is heavily subsidised, and available nationwide.
- Get used to your bike before you put it – and yourself – in harm’s way.
- Wear the right gear. A rider without a helmet is three times more likely to suffer severe brain damage.
Source: Ministry of Transport, Swann
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