Making New Zealand’s Coromandel Loop safer for riders
Construction has begun on a $2.5 million project to install a range of bike safety treatments aimed at keeping motorcyclists safer on the Northern Coromandel Loop.
Safer Rides, the multi-agency project, builds on a pilot undertaken in 2014 on the Southern section of the loop.
NZ Transport Agency Director Safety and Environment, Harry Wilson says the goal of the Safer Rides project is to reduce the number of motorcyclists dying or being seriously injured on the popular route.
“The 190km Northern section of the loop on SH25 between Thames and Hikuai, is a popular route with motorcyclists because of the challenges it provides. Sadly it has a disproportionately high number of motorcyclists dying or being seriously injured,” says Mr Wilson.
Between 2012 and 2016 2% of the vehicles that travel on the route were motorcycles but they represented 50% of all fatalities.
ACC Head of Injury Prevention Isaac Carlson says “we want to make the road more friendly for motorcyclists by making a range of improvements to the road itself. We’ll also continue to help riders better prepare for the unique challenges of riding in the Coromandel with rider training.”
“The focus of the project is simple – to help keep riders on their bikes, but if they do come off to make those crashes survivable. And if they need medical treatment, getting them access to it as quickly as possible,” says Mr Carlson.
The safety improvements should be completed by mid-December and include: safety barriers, improvements to the road surface and drainage features, signs before sharp corners, sealing rural property entrances to prevent loose gravel from straying onto the road, and rescue helicopter landing sites. Innovative road markings were installed earlier this year and are being evaluated.
Mr Wilson says “these initiatives were trialled on the Southern Coromandel loop and we have had some good feedback from riders, although it is too soon to say whether they have reduced the number of motorcyclist deaths and serious injuries.”
An education campaign will be running over summer reminding riders to ‘keep their head in the game’ with advertising, riding tips along the route and information in motorcycle shops and online at: www.nzta.govt.nz/coromandelloop.