Motorists urged to take care on fast new roads

Thursday May 14, 2020 Written by Published in Crime
A young man died when he crashed his motorbike outside the Friendly Mart in Arorangi, shortly after nightfall. 20050414 A young man died when he crashed his motorbike outside the Friendly Mart in Arorangi, shortly after nightfall. 20050414

Road safety champions are hailing the public restraint and police enforcement that ensured last month had the fewest reported road accidents on record.

But sadly, that was followed by the death this month of a 25-year-old man who was speeding and not wearing a helmet – and police are concerned that motorists may be getting complacent again.

The closure of bars is thought to have helped reduce road accident numbers last month, but police warn that people have continued to drink at home, and then drive.

A new law comes into force on June 26, requiring all motorbike riders and passengers to wear helmets; it’s hoped that may contribute to changing public attitudes to dangerous behaviour on the roads.

Now, Road Safety Council representative Rod Henderson – once a familiar sight motorcycling Rarotonga with his white hair blowing in the breeze – is leading by example.

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He has begun wearing a helmet, and is calling on other adults to do the same. “If we want our young people to wear helmets, then the older generation should be an example,” he said.

He called on people to purchase or order their helmets

The use of mobile phones and earphones on motorbikes is now banned, as well, and the legal breath alcohol limit has been lowered from 400mcg to 250mcg.

Henderson said all of this combined with Covid-19 liquor trading restrictions to help reduce the number of crashes – especially the reduced hours of sale for alcohol.

“Police have stepped up during this time and the lockdown has contributed to this.”

Police spokesperson Trevor Pitt also credited stringent police work in the past month. Just six motor vehicle crashes were reported to police last month – a significant drop from the previous low of nine accidents reported in June 2017, he said.

Crash numbers were trending down even before the bar closures and restrictions on alcohol sales, he said, and this reduction had been further encouraged by police cracking down on noisy parties and overnight road traffic.

Police were concerned that motorists might now be becoming complacent, though, and were more likely to speed on the newly improved roads through Tupapa and Matavera. He warned that crashes were expected to increase this month, as social distancing restrictions ease.

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