By Jackson Russell
The Mitchell Proactive Policing Unit has started a new campaign to promote safety for motorcyclists both on and off road.
With COVID-19 restrictions easing, more motorcyclists are making their way into Mitchell Shire to enjoy off-road tracks in Mt Disappointment State Forest and Tallarook State Forest and winding mountain roads throughout the area.
Senior Constable Ryan Coleman said it was an opportunity to raise awareness and engage with motorcyclists to reinforce the importance of safe riding.
“This is all due to the fact that all sorts of bike riders contribute quite highly to the road toll each year,” he said.
“Unfortunately, that’s a pretty consistent pattern each year, so this is an effort locally to keep those numbers down and reduce it where possible.”
Police will engage with motorcyclists through general patrols and set up at popular riding spots to engage with riders before they get out on the road.
The campaign is being supported by the Traffic Accident Commission and its Spokes motorcycle safety campaign.
Sen Const Coleman said the goal of the campaign was not just to target riders doing the wrong thing, but engage with those doing the right thing and remind them of the dangers.
“With riders, they don’t ride all the time and it can be more of a hobby or recreation activity so it can be nice to be reminded of what’s required of you, not just by law, but for your own safety,” he said.
“I’m trying to do it in a bit of a different way rather than going out and writing tickets.
“We can get results and catch people doing the wrong thing, but my role is to prevent that from happening rather than reacting to it, and potentially preventing road trauma in the long run.”
Sen Const Coleman said the area was bustling with riders over the AFL grand final long weekend.
“It was taken on really well by the public so I can only imagine from November 8 that we’re going to have lots of people out in the bush and on our roads,” he said.
“We’ll have different locations in Mt Disappointment and Tallarook state forests targeting those on dirt bikes and we’ll stick to general roving patrols in the areas in the north and north-east between here and Kinglake, all your spur roads that are quite popular.”