Reopen to motorbikes abandoned section of Bennelong Parkway Homebush Bay for practice.

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Council has closed road to motorcycles due to noise complaints. This closure has disappointed a mature and responsible community of motorcyclists who were making use of an otherwise abandoned and underutilised piece of infrastructure to build community safety and awareness for motorcycle riders both learning and fully licensed.

Motorcycles are becoming more popular due to the fact that they have low traffic impact, are economical, need little parking requirements, and are ideal for medium to high-density building areas. However, they do offer a greater risk to the operator, especially the inexperienced operator.

  • ·         A person learning to operate a car is actively protected by the vehicle shell, seatbelts and more, and is more visible than a motorcyclist.
  • ·         The physical skills to drive a car are far less complex than that required to ride a motorbike.  
  • ·         Should a car driver make a small error they might scratch or dent the car.  An impact by a motorcyclist is much more serious consequences.
  • ·         Learning to ride a motorcycle safely requires the development of a number of physical skills.
  • ·         Practicing these skills enables the skills to become more natural to perform and the rider operator to focus more on the lifesaving skills of observation, avoidance and preparedness for unwelcome situations.

These skills are best developed by practicing regularly and developed through repetition. The NSW government prescribes that users pass a Motorcycle Operators Skills Test to obtain a license. It focuses on slow speed manoeuvring and includes emergency stops from 20km/h, which should not produce a skid and if it does, not produce a squeal due to the low speed. Also it includes swerves around half tennis balls, U- turns and the like.

This closed section of road, and the ability to practice in a controlled environment have contributed greatly to the safety of many motorcyclist over a number of years.

Motorcyclists who had been using the road since closed to motorcycle riders did so to increase their skills to be safer and more knowledgeable riders. The target of the sessions was learner riders wishing to practice for their P plate test. Referred to in NSW as the MOST skills test.

Council has closed access to this road to vehicles for some time and motorcycles were able to access it due to their small footprint. Subsequently this access has been removed and signage placed by council to prohibit vehicles specifically reportedly as a result of noise complaints from local residents and one would expect safety concerns.

All the manoeuvres they practice are at low speed, mostly at less than 20km /hr and all under 30km/hr, and in this, it is unlikely that the objectionable noise emanated from such practice. It was more likely from undisciplined and immature more experienced motorcyclists who can carry on in their preferred manner anywhere at any time. Making closure of this section of road ineffective to that disruptive element

The nearest residence is over 500m away to the north and would be subject to normal traffic noise daily. Sometimes more than normal during events in the surrounding precinct. The section of road is only some 300m long, only approximately half of this was used for the practice area, and set up to replicate the MOST test. The level of noise the caused complaint is highly unlikely to be the result of motorbikes doing slow speed manoeuvres at well less than 30km/h. If a council officer were to observe the practice sessions they would only see such activity.

The area is gazetted as a road with an implied speed limit of 60km/hr. Vehicles on it are required to be

  • ·         Legal
  • ·         Registered
  • ·         insured
  • ·         operated by a licensed approved rider

Further most bikes would be LAMS approved and limited in power to weight ratio accordingly.

 As such, the NSW Police force and RMS could police these vehicles and their lawful operation at the site.

Given the above we the undersigned would propose that the following solution would address the concerns of local residents and the police and enable the road to again be used to improve the safety of many motorcyclists and other road users;

  • ·         The road be reopened to motorbikes for limited hours 10am to 4pm Mon – Sun. ( access outside these times would incur a fine)
  • ·         The speed limit be reduced to 30km/hr ( enforceable by police)
  • ·         Traffic calming be effected by the installation of single bike pass through chicanes via concrete barriers along the length of affected road as per below creating two sections of about 150 to 160m.