Tourists and locals wanting to obtain a motorcycle licence will now be required to wear a helmet both to the station and during the driving test.
Police Inspector John Strickland says people were running into parked police cars and into walls, and even hurtling out on to the road.
“It is concerning for police when we have clients coming in for the test, and there are injuries sustained in the process.”
Strickland says they have found riders tend to treat the test site as a practice area, which it is not.
“This is a place to test their capabilities and their confidence, not for the purpose of practice. That is not on.”
Some crashes have involved motorcyclists smacking into the side of police vehicles, so Strickland says the first thing they had to do was move the vehicles of the way of the testing area.
“We then looked at the issue more, and the commissioner decided that we would make it compulsory for tourists as well as our local people to wear safety helmets while taking the test.”
Put simply, Strickland says this means “no helmet, no go.”
“I think it’s a very good move, and will prevent us from being liable for any damages and injuries.”
Just last week, he says he witnessed a crash at the back of the test site involving a rider who was clearly nervous.
“He turned around and for some reason he accelerated straight into the wall. Of course he was in pain, and an ambulance was called.” Strickland says it is important that police maintain the helmet requirement because it is all about accident prevention measures.
“Some people aren’t happy about it but that’s it, decision made, and it’s a decision from the top.”
Police have encouraged the rental companies to follow suit in providing their clients with helmets.
Strickland says most of the tourists don’t want to wear helmets, but whether they like it or not they will wear safety helmets during their test.
Most days, police test up to 70 people, while on a slow day they test around 30, says Strickland.
Many people are turned down for their licence, and some complain and end up crying.
“But we say no, they need to get themselves properly trained and come back when they’re ready.”
He also says some people see someone else crashing and they change their mind about riding a motorbike on the spot.
“We don’t want to portray that type of fear. But if people can’t handle a motorcycle, we can pick it up.”
Strickland says the move is not in line with the current campaign pushing for safety helmets to be used on the roads.
“We don’t want to be responsible for the injuries people were at risk of while being tested here.”