Motorcycle licence overhaul call

ROAD trauma experts and the state's leading motorcycle association have recommended an overhaul of the motorcycle licensing system claiming it does not properly prepare riders.

The Transport, Housing and Local Government Parliamentary Committee is inquiring into changes to the current motorcycle licensing system.

The detailed review comes on the back of increasing motorcyclist fatalities, particularly in the Sunshine Coast region.

Motorcycle Riders' Association of Queensland president Chris Mearns said hopeful riders should be required to display more evidence of their riding ability before being granted a licence.

"There needs to be a heavy input in relation to this issue of licensing both on how you apply for a licence and secondly on road craft," he said.

According to the Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety, motorcycle riders now account for 25% of the road toll in Queensland, an increase from only 10% a decade ago.

Currently, motorcycle riders are assessed for a licence through either the Q-Safe or Q-Ride programs.

Q-Safe involves a practical, Department of Main Roads and Transport-run practical test after a six-month learner licence period.

Q-Ride does not require a minimum learner licence period and involves a competency-based assessment.
Mr Mearns said Q-Ride had its place but Q-Safe needed to be overhauled.

"Q-Safe is akin to any other licensing system - there is no evidence where you gained the necessary skills to gain a licence," he said.

"That is a worry to us.

"I can't believe a 35-minute test...can satisfactorily guarantee people getting through it will have the minimum skill set.

" a far better situation. It has the basis of requiring (and) proving competency and hopefully at the end that minimum skill set will put the rider in a position to ride off into the danger zone."

Q-Safe should be amended to include more evidence-based assessment and Q-Ride needs to include more hazard-based perception training.

Professor Narelle Hamworth from the Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety sees no point in the minimum learner licence period for motorbike riders.

"We don't have any justification in trying to keep them as learners longer," she told the parliamentary committee.

"Motorbike riders are not safe so there is no real justification keeping them on that learners (period) for longer."

Prof Hamworth suggested developing a program to run with existing licensing processes that would focus on psychological attitudes taken towards motorbike riding.

"(The current process) does not teach people how to handle traffic and how not to handle them," she said. 

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