Government Lies, damn lies and statistics

The Victorian Motorcycle Council (VMC) has again called for the State Government to discontinue the selective use of discredited data and misleading statements that falsely represent motorcyclists, following the recent release of the State Road Safety Strategy 2013-2022. 
VMC Chairman Peter Baulch said: “The Strategy is based upon unreliable data gathered from an agenda driven online survey and distribution through a single newspaper. Such surveys are notorious for failing to produce reliable data and it is to the Government’s discredit that they should use it as the basis of such an important strategy”. 
Rob Salvatore – Vice Chairman of VMC said: “The strategy also relies on data issued by the Department of Justice and TAC that fails close scrutiny – how can we trust the agencies involved?” 
Despite repeated offers of assistance to government and stakeholders, the VMC which is the state’s peak rider representative body, was not involved in any consultation process prior to the release. 
“Consultation would have saved the report the embarrassment of proposing knee jerk regulation such as mandatory motorcycle boots which can best be described as tokenism.” Said Peter Baulch. 
In a clear example of the left hand not knowing what the right is doing, the recommendations of the State Governments own Parliamentary Road Safety Committee appear to have been completely overlooked or ignored when preparing the Road Safety Strategy. 
The dysfunction is further evident between the agencies themselves, whereas the TAC has widely proclaimed that riders were 38times more likely to be injured, the strategy instead claims a much reduced statistic of only four times more likely. 
The strategy and its supporting information claims that “nearly 60 per cent of speeding motorcyclists avoid infringement as they do not have a front number plate” and presented this as an inequity between road users. 
The statement is demonstrably untrue and the characterisation is emotive sophistry. 
“Available Traffic Camera Office data absolutely rejects the front number plate claim. We know that the camera system fails to identify as many bikes from the rear as it does from the front and frontal failures only account for 0.4% of all speeding detections. Fitting FNP’s to address this spurious claim will cost the community $30m for no nett road safety gain,” said Rob Salvatore. 
The VMC believes that the use of 60% figure within the strategy should best be regarded as hysterical fear-mongering and further evidence of a campaign aimed at seeking public sanction for ‘big brother’ policing. 
The VMC and its members call upon the TAC, the Department of Justice and VicRoads to consult with peak motorcycle representatives and to defer the Motorcycle component of the State Road Safety Strategy 2013-2022 until the widely researched recommendations of the Parliamentary Road Safety Committee Inquiry into Motorcycle Safety have been fully considered.