A Motorcycle rider dies every 3 years at Barbagallo Raceway. Stop preventable deaths.
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In the last 16 years, 5 motorcycle riders have lost their lives at Barbagallo Raceway, Western Australia as a result of hitting solid barriers. In some areas concrete walls are five to eight metres from the track, earthmoving tyre barriers are sand-filled and in effect the same as striking solid concrete. The motorcycling safety industry has made huge advances in protective equipment over the last 30 years, however you need a safe track with adequate run off areas. It's an athletic sport and riders are pushing hard to improve. Falls are part of the game and 99% of the time you brush yourself down and walk away ... providing there's no barrier to slam into. The second last rider to die hitting a barrier was my 24 year old son in December 2009.
Our local raceway has progressively been transformed over the years into an increasingly unsafe environment for motorcyclists. The circuit was developed on crown land set aside as an A Class Reserve dedicated to "recreation (motorsport)" in the late 1960's. The State has an implied responsibility and duty of care as they have said that circuit will be the home for all road pavement based motorsport. They have provided millions in taxpayer funds over the years to the circuit management body, predominately for improvements solely relating to car racing. Western Australian taxpayers have a stake in this shared use facility.
Motorcycles are now the largest user group at Barbagallo Raceway, a facility that is a proven killer of motorcyclists, yet the State will not help and will not take any responsibility. The riders should be commended for taking their sport to the track, rather than undertaking unsafe behaviour on our roads, but they're exposed to unacceptable risk by making this choice. In effect, the State Government are forcing motorcyclists to ride at a venue that doesn't meet Motorcycling Australia's own 2012 Track Guidelines that are intended to reflect the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM) specifications.
The answer is simple ... provide direction and appropriate assistance/funding to the current circuit managers to ensure that Barbagallo Raceway complies with Motorcycling Australia specifications to improve safety for motorcyclists, or provide assistance to an independent entity to build a circuit that does, utilising existing land/donating an appropriately located suitable plot of land as was done for the car racing community in the 1960s.
A few million would probably fix the remaining dangerous corners at Barbagallo Raceway with the correct run off material being graded aggregate arrestor gravel, the correct run off lengths and pay for the disposal of the earthmoving tyres stacked in fenced off non-spectator areas. The direct and indirect costs of killing a young person cost many more millions. And a permanent disabling injury costs the community even more. Making the track safe will pay for itself after a few years. A wise thinking person, looks not only at what something is going to cost ... they also look at the cost of not doing it.
If you feel strongly about this serious safety problem please email the Minister, The Hon. Mick Murray: firstname.lastname@example.org
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