The 130 kilometre-long Southern Coromandel loop is a magnet for motorcyclists. It combines breathtaking scenery with twisting roads and tight corners.
However, the route has seen a disproportionate number of motorcycle crashes. Between 2009 and 2013, motorcyclists accounted for 42% of the fatal and serious crashes along the route, and yet they made up only 2% of road users.
To turn this around, the Transport Agency teamed up with the Motorcycle Safety Advisory Council, ACC, the Thames-Coromandel and Hauraki district councils, Waikato Regional Council, NZ Police and motorcycling user groups.
The Safer Rides team has overseen a range of safety improvements aimed at:
Innovative road markings, known as perceptual countermeasures, were used on five particularly deceptive curves on the route in order to reduce riders’ speed on the approach and improve their lane positioning. These markings signal to riders that the curve ahead is getting tighter and the lane narrower.
Four emergency helicopter landing pads were installed on State Highways 25 and 25A between Kopu and Whangamata, in consultation with the Westpac rescue helicopter service. Improvements in cell phone coverage also ensure that emergency services can be on the scene quickly if crashes occur.
Other popular motorcycle routes in the region have been earmarked for similar work, including the Northern Coromandel loop and Pokeno to Raglan.