Queensland motorbike riders on the road again
An easing of COVID-19 restrictions means bike riders across the state can hit the road again but they still have to follow some rules.
Most riders I have spoken to believe they are safe from coronavirus (COVID-19) because of the inherent isolated nature of motorcycle riding:
- Riders wear a helmet and gloves, so they can’t touch their face or sneeze in yours;
- They ride more than the requisite 1.5m apart; and
- They don’t tend to ride to crowded beaches or parks, instead heading into more sparsely populated country areas.
But the real problem is they are gregarious and like to get together for what are referred to as “bench racing sessions” where they compare bike tech specs and discuss riding techniques.
They also gravitate to areas where there are winding and challenging roads, such as Mount Glorious.
Mount Glorious Cafe owner Hugh Douglas said his cafe was shut down because of complaints about riders not keeping their distance.
Mr Douglas, who has reopened under social distancing regulations, said motorcycle riders tended to hang around as it was “impossible for them to grab a takeaway coffee and brekky roll and head off somewhere quiet to drink and eat".
Mr Douglas said he would ensure there is plenty of signage about social distancing but remained concerned some riders would not get the message.
STATE GOVERNMENT GUIDELINES
ENJOY SOME TRAVEL, BUT STAY SAFE
Thankfully, most motorcycle Facebook pages have refrained from organising group rides.
It’s been a tough few weeks for motorcyclists banned from riding out of their neighbourhood except for work, medical appointments, essential groceries and compassionate visits.
Now they will be allowed to ride to a 50km radius from home and already many have been calculating exactly where they can legally ride.
For most Brisbane riders, that includes Mount Glorious and Mount Mee.
Gold Coast riders should be able to explore much of the popular hinterland roads, while Sunshine Coast riders will head for the Blackall Ranges and Toowoomba’s riders have plenty of the Great Dividing Range’s roads to explore.
Of course, border crossings will be out of the question.
Queensland Health confirmed riders can take one pillion with them but if they want to ride with others, there are some restrictions.
You can only ride with one other person who is not in your household or with several members of your household.
But when motorcyclists stop for coffee or fuel, they need to maintain social distancing measures and should consider alternatives to the usual routes.
Riders should also carry disposable gloves to use at the bowser, hand sanitiser and a credit card rather than cash.
Most importantly, riders need to do the right thing to ensure further easing of restrictions and not a return to lockdown.
Before you hit the road
Riders have been advised to do some basic maintenance checks on their motorbikes before heading out with many having been parked or stored since mid-March.
RACQ Head of Technical and Safety Policy Steve Spalding said riders should make sure their bike was ready by checking basic safety and maintenance items such as tyre pressures, chain adjustment, oil level and that all controls operated smoothly.
“Always check tyre pressures when the tyres are cold and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations on pressure, while the air available in servos is convenient, buying a reliable pressure gauge is a worthwhile investment and will give piece of mind that you are setting your tyres at the correct pressure,” he said.
“Similarly, with engine oil, check its level according to the motorcycle manufacturer’s recommended procedure, which is also usually when the engine is cold.
“You might need to call on the help of another person if the bike needs to be kept upright and doesn’t have a centre stand.”
Mr Spalding said making sure the brakes and clutch were working smoothly and not grabbing or sticking was essential to the safe operation of the vehicle and should be part of any preparation before riding.