Home' Open Road Sydney North and North West : OR0916 Contents SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2016
SIX YEARS AGO, I SAID GOODBYE to my best friend of more than 30 years. He was
commuting to work on his powered scooter when, less than a kilometre from home,
he was involved in a fatal collision. Writing about it still brings tears to my eyes. The
details of the crash remain unclear, but it seems likely someone didn’t see someone.
People ride motorcycles for many reasons. Even as a toddler, I had a great love
for motorcycles. Growing up on a farm, I had access to them (as well as cars,
tractors and trucks) and big paddocks on which to ride. Little did I know this would
eventually lead me to ride through many different countries. After more than two
million kilometres criss-crossing the world on a bike, I’m yet to have a crash or
incident. My love of motorcycling has even led to a career in rider and driver training.
But, alas, motorcycling can lead to moments of grief and loss. That’s why it’s so
important to learn the art of low-risk motorcycling, using:
Observation This includes scanning the road ahead, regularly checking mirrors,
and turning your head to look for cars in your blind spots. Also observe where
you’re riding on the road and make sure other road users can see you.
Position A motorcyclist has no protection in a collision, but because his or her vehicle
is much smaller, it’s easier to avoid hazards than in a car. Ensure there’s plenty of
space between you and potential hazards and it will greatly reduce your risk.
Speed Management The effect of speed is exponential so when you double your
speed it increases stopping distance by a factor of four. Braking on a motorcycle can
also be more complicated than in a car. Applying the brake while leaning over in a
corner, for example, takes skill. Managing speed also means doing things to reduce
your reaction time in the event of a hazard.
NRMA driver training expert Mark Toole looks at some simple
strategies to reduce the risk of an accident while on two wheels
BE A LOW-RISK MOTORCYCLIST
CAN YOU PASS THE TEST?
How good is your road knowledge?
Answer these three sample questions to
find out (solutions below):
1. It’s night time and you are travelling in
a line of vehicles. What size gap should
you leave between your vehicle and the
vehicles in front of you?
a) A gap of about four seconds as it’s easy
to misjudge distances at night.
b) A gap of about two seconds so you can
watch the vehicles in front closely and see
when they are stopping.
c) The same three-second gap you would
leave during the day.
2. Before moving from a stationary
position at the side of the road or a
median strip parking area, you must
signal for at least five seconds, checking
mirrors and blind spots...
True or false?
3. You buy a car and find the spare tyre is
smooth; the tread is only just visible. If
you get a puncture will it be legal to drive
the car with a smooth spare tyre?
a) Yes, if the tyre is correctly inflated and
the side walls are in good condition.
b) Yes, but you must get the puncture fixed
within 24 hours.
c) No, it’s illegal to drive a car with a smooth
tyre even if it’s the spare.
ANSWERS: 1.A, 2.True,3.C
Motorbikes need to
be fully upright for
While the entry-level 2.0 -litre engine is
adequate, our choice is the 2.5 -litre petrol
engine that has more power and torque.
Forester pricing starts at $29,990 plus
on-roads, with the volume-selling 2.5 -litre
starting at $39,490.
Like the Forester, the RAV4 is a household
name. Even though a plethora of newer
competition has swamped it in recent
years, the RAV4’s popularity with buyers
has never waned.
It’s more than capable off-road, but if
dirt roads aren’t your thing Toyota offers
the RAV4 in 2WD spec. Newer rivals have
exposed some shortcomings in standard
features and ergonomics, but recent
upgrades and an interior redesign have
greatly improved the RAV4’s functionality.
Engine choices include a diesel and
entry-level 2.0 -litre petrol, but the best
option is the 2.5 -litre petrol for around
town. Fuel economy isn’t its strong suit, at
8.5L/100km, but that’s tempered by
Toyota’s capped priced vehicle servicing for
the first three years. The RAV4 line-up also
has a five-star ANCAP safety rating.
On-road the RAV4 feels more like a
traditional SUV and its handling isn’t as
sharp as some of the competition, but
that’s really only exposed when you push it
through tighter corners. Pricing is
competitive, starting at $27,990 for the
entry-level GX. Our choice is the GXL
petrol priced at $36,990 .
Got a motoring question? Send it to
firstname.lastname@example.org or Level 1,
9 George St, North Strathfield, NSW
2137. Please note we cannot publish or
personally reply to all questions.
Upgrading the family
OPEN ROAD 39
26/08/2016 8:05 pm
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