By CASEY NEILL
MOTORCYCLISTS are threatening to boycott the Cranbourne GP Run after police announced a bike safety crackdown.
Greater Dandenong Highway Patrol Senior Sergeant Scott Roberts last week told the News his officers would pull over “just about every motorbike they see” during the next few months.
“There’s been an unfortunate increase in accidents involving motorbike riders,” he said.
“Every time a motorbike rider comes off his bike there’s an injury, and more often than not it’s classified as a serious injury.
“We’ve decided to do something about it.”
But the announcement prompted an angry response from riders, who said they were being unfairly targeted.
Independent Riders Group (IRG) spokesman Damien Codognotto said members were thinking twice about taking part in the Cranbourne GP Run to the Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix at Phillip Island in October.
“I’m one of them,” he said.
“I’ve had two emails from riders who simply will not go to the island at that time.
“Nothing puts touring riders off returning to an area or a state more than being pulled up for doing nothing wrong, checked like a common criminal by the road and given a lecture by someone who may not be able to ride, let alone safely.”
Mr Codognotto said the GP Run was a good example of “a massive number of riders coming together, enjoying themselves and spending their money with no safety problems at all”.
“Police do not pull up just about every sports car driver they see headed for the Albert Park Grand Prix but they definitely target motorcyclists,” he said.
“The road safety stats do not indicate that this kind of targeting is useful in terms of road safety.
“We are all for improved road safety but police would do a lot more to ‘minimise the trauma’ if they got rid of the anti-bike culture in the force, put more police motorcycles on our roads and blitzed in car offences like breaking mobile phone laws.
“The main cause of injury to motorcycle, scooter and bicycle riders and pedestrians is car driver error.”
Sen Sgt Roberts said that since June 2013, serious injuries to motorcyclists increased 20 per cent in the Greater Dandenong, Casey and Cardinia local government areas.
“Two recent incidents involving motorcycles and other vehicles resulted in one death and one serious injury,” he said.
“On both these occasions, the motorcycle was on the incorrect side of the road.”
Sen Sgt Roberts said the operation sought to address the behaviour of all road users.
“I am confident that the majority of motorcyclists who obey the road rules will welcome the safer environment a police presence brings,” he said.
He said officers would check whether bikes were roadworthy and warn riders about lane-splitting, riding up service lanes and taking unnecessary risks.
Sen Sgt Roberts said police were targeting spring because of the warmer weather and the MotoGP.
“Motorbikes get put away over the winter months. Riders dust them off and get out in the nicer weather,” he said.
“Sometimes they haven’t ridden for a while so they’re a bit rusty with their skills, or they haven’t checked the bike out.
“We just want to minimise the trauma.”