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When we think about travelling on a motorbike or bicycle we usually focus on the destination, how far or fast we travel, and maybe the terrain.  But how often do you think about stopping?

Stopping distance comparisons for cars, motorbikes and bikes in the dry and wet

Number Of Road Users

When road users make judgements about how to safely enter a lane of moving traffic, manoeuvre or stop, they need to predict how other vehicles will behave.  But our predictions are based on life experience.

In the first quarter of 2020 there were 235,788 motorcycles registered in NSW, and 2,952,721 passenger vehicles. Whilst 32% of people in NSW (around 2,624,100), rode a bike at least once in the past year, 72% were children and only 23% used their bicycle for transport.

Stopping Distances For Dry, Wet and Sloped Conditions

When it comes to stopping distances on the road, most people’s judgements would be based on cars.  We compared stopping distances for cars, motorbikes and bicycles over 40 and 50 km/hr.

Wet road surfaces made a big difference for motorbike and car stopping distances. For bikes wet surfaces make little difference but downhill gradients have a significant impact.

“We all like to think we ride safely, but comparing the numbers and stopping distances was a real eye opener,” said Bicycle NSW General Manager of Public Affairs, Bastien Wallace.

“Being able to stop safely is just as important as the rest of the riding experience. As Vulnerable Road Users, our safety and well-being cannot be left in others’ hands. Being mentally prepared for the unexpected is half the equation. Leaving plenty of room for error is also crucial: an extra two seconds can drastically reduce collisions, close calls, and anxiety — all without slowing down overall progress,” added MCCNSW Vice-Chairman, Jason Antony.

National Road Safety Week set aside Saturday November 21st for Bicycle and Motorcycle safety issues.  Bicycle NSW has enjoyed the support of the Motorcycle Council of NSW for our Safety on Spokes campaign, and together we wish all riders safe journeys. 

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