Making a mark for motorcycle safety


Some unusual markings will soon appear on southern Coromandel roads, part of a trial to warn motorcyclists that deceptive bends lie ahead.


A digitally altered image showing what the trialled lane markings will look like.

The Coromandel area has some fantastic scenery which has made it popular as a touring route for cars and motorcycles alike.

However its rugged scenery and twisting roads also contain many deceptive corners, which have seen a high number of motorcycle crashes over the past few years.

From May new road markings will be trialled aimed at reducing the rider's speed on the approach to deceptive corners and improve their lane positioning. These lane markings are part of the Safer Rides multi-agency project aimed at improving motorcyclist safety.

Less than 3 per cent of the vehicles on the 130 kilometre Southern Coromandel Loop (Kopu/Whangamata/Waihi/Paeroa/Kopu) are motorcycles and yet between 2008 and 2012 motorcycles accounted for 44 per cent of all fatal and serious injury crashes.

The new marking technique is known as a perceptual countermeasure because of the way it changes the way the road looks or is perceived by motorcyclists.

Hamish Mackie from Mackie Research and Consulting is a human factors specialist involved in evaluating the project for effectiveness.

“These road markings will provide riders with advance warning about the geometry of the curve ahead, which will hopefully encourage them to slow down before the approach. We also want to encourage riders to take a safe line through the curve by perceptually narrowing the road using lane markings,” Hamish says.

Michelle Te Wharau, Transport Agency Principal Safety Engineer, says the effect these markings have on rider speed and lane position will be closely monitored and analysed.

“The lane markings are just one of a series of safety improvements being trialled. Other initiatives include upgraded signage, road surface improvements, removal or protection of roadside hazards as well as new rescue helicopter landing areas” Michelle says.

“While the Safer Rides project has a focus on motorcyclists, the initiatives planned will benefit all road users” Michelle says.

The Safer Rides – Southern Coromandel project sees the NZ Transport Agency teaming up with Motorcycle Safety Advisory Council, NZ Police, ACC, Thames-Coromandel and Hauraki District Councils, Waikato Regional Council as well as motorcycling user groups to try and improve safety on these roads.

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