Our roads are not racetracks: police crackdown

Police plan to crack down on dangerous motorcyclists on Hunter roads after a spate of fatal crashes. Picture: Phil HearneA NEW operation is underway to crack down on motorcycle safety on roads through the Hunter Valley, Lake Macquarie and Central Hunter police commands.

Operation Silverstone, which is launched at Maitland on Wednesday, is focused on keeping drivers alive after a rash of fatalities on the region’s roads.

Northern Region Traffic Tactician for the Traffic & Highway Patrol CommandChief Inspector Trent Le-Merton said the operation would use marked and unmarked cars and aircrafts to find drivers and riders putting themselves and others at risk.

“Unlike the legendary Silverstone racing circuit, our roads should not be used as racetracks, as some drivers and riders have, which is costing lives,” Chief Inspector Le-Merton said.

“The operation will involve a range of police resources including both marked and unmarked Highway Patrol cars, police motorcycles and aircraft for aerial surveillance, all focused on detecting those drivers and riders putting themselves, and other road users at great risk.

There have been 41 motorcycle fatalities this year in NSW including two this month on the Putty Rd, which is a recognised motorcycle riding route.

This is four more than this time last year.

“Sadly, 29 fatalities have been recorded on Hunter roads in 2015 after a spate of multiple fatalities, which is 13 more than 2014,” Chief Inspector LeMerton said.

“Many speed-related motorcycle crashes happen in good conditions with no other vehicles involved.

“There seems to be an over-representation of mature-aged riders on powerful machines who are coming ‘unstuck’ on curves striking road side objects.

Highly visibile police will be on the region’s roads throughout the operation, which will also employ other tactics.

“Police activities will be promoted through social media and directly through vehicle enthusiast websites to heighten public awareness of this road safety strategy,” Chief Inspector LeMerton said.

“Even experienced riders need time to react to changing situations on the road and as we get older reaction times slow.

“It takes three-quarters of a second to make a decision to act once you see a hazard, and the same time again for the action to be effective.”