Southern Coromandel Loop Initiative
The NZTA has been looking at what they call motorcycle ‘black spots’—sections of roads that have a disproportionately high number of bike crashes, injuries and fatalities. Improving motorcycle safety is one of the top five priorities in Safer Journeys, New Zealand’s Road Safety Strategy 2010 – 2020, and MSAC is collaborating with NZTA to help brings a “bike’s-eye view of the road” to this work.
The Victoria Motorcycle Advisory Council (VMAC), the inspiration for establishing MSAC, has also been closely involved in the project. Their motorcycle black spot improvement programme has been credited with a 35% reduction in casualties for all road users on those routes.
The work in New Zealand is currently focussed on the loop connecting Paeroa, Waihi, Whangamata, Hikuwai and Kopu, around the Coromandel. This 130km stretch of road is very popular with motorcyclists, but unfortunately it has seen 23 riders seriously injured and seven killed in the last decade. Nearly all the serious crashes have happened on just 36km of the loop.
What we’re doing
To get an accurate “bike’s eye view of the road”, we studied the route using motorcycles kitted with video cameras. The “instrumented” bikes can read the road from the unique perspective of a motorcyclist.
This exercise provided the information for local and international experts to scrutinise the route, identify safety issues unique to motorcyclists, and recommend suitable interventions.
MSAC has now recommended to ACC that they allocate levy funds to contribute to a number of road improvements specific to motorcycle safety on this route.
The motorcycle safety levy will contribute to roughly 25% of these improvements, with NZTA funding the balance.
The levy contribution covers:
Reducing Gravel Migration: Loose gravel on the road is a serious hazard for motorcyclists, so it is planned to seal back gravel driveways and intersecting roads, so the amount of gravel migrating onto the road is minimised.
Increasing painted edgelines from 100mm to 200mm in width: This road marking treatment is being used already on high-risk sections of state highways throughout the country, to give better visual clues to riders. We are aware of the importance of using road marking paint that is not a hazard for motorcycles.
Trialling different perception countermeasures in tight-corner locations. We will be trialling the effectiveness of:
- Installing edge marker posts at a closer spacing within low radius curves.
- Painting 300mm long, 500mm wide white or yellow transverse markings at 3.5m intervals on the approach to curves. Non-slip road paint to be specified.
- Active chevron signage
If improvements to this route prove successful, there will be the opportunity to adopt them for other popular riding routes. This work is in partnership with NZTA, and is connected to Safer Journeys for Motorcycling on New Zealand Roads guide.