21 Jan 2011

Morgan to head motorcycle levy advisory group

6:48 pm on 21 January 2011

The Government has announced that $2 million from ACC levies is to be invested in motorcycle safety.

Motorcycle fatalities have increased by 66% since the 2000, compared with a 24% decrease in the overall road toll in the same period.

A new advisory council will be led by economist and motorcycling enthusiast Gareth Morgan.

Dr Morgan says the plan is not to discourage motorcycling; the intention is quite the opposite.

"We want more people riding bikes, but we want them doing it safely. What we don't want is the motorcycle levy to keep rising like this. Obviously, it's put in place because of the accidents and because of the injuries.

"So we need to bring the accidents and the injuries down - it's pretty simple, really."

ACC Minister Nick Smith says the Government wants to work with motorcyclists to improve safety, save lives and reduce the costs of accidents.

Dr Smith says motorcycling is a popular and efficient means of transportation, but a fatality a week is unacceptable.

The Auckland president of the Bikers' Rights Organisation believes motorcyclists will get better value for money put into the council than some of the other things they have to pay for.

Les Mason says work that could be done includes more attention to blind spots on the road, improving surfaces and getting rid of gravel.