Life slows down but the cars speed up

It seems that as our lives become more confined and our behaviours more constricted during the time of COVID, drivers have decided to utilise the empty roads for therapy sessions, speeding dangerously for a fleeting moment of release.

And fleeting it was... for the alarming number who have died over the last month or so.

The many bike riders who have taken to the streets during various lockdown stages have observed full-throttle craziness at a whole new level.

Whereas once you would see a motorcyclist pulling a high-speed mono on an arterial maybe once a year, now it seems like every week.

The behaviours are not those of grandad sneaking over the limit by a few km/h, they are conscious, deliberate decisions to drive two and three time over the limit.

These are drivers fully aware that their dangerous speeding is placing the lives of any bike riders and pedestrians on the road at risk of death or serious injury.

This outbreak of lawlessness shows we still have a long way to go in suppressing deadly behaviours as well as deadly viruses.

Victoria’s Road Policing Command Assistant Commissioner Libby Murphy says there were dangerous trends emerging.

“Since there has been less cars on the road, we are seeing people treat the highways like a speedway,” she said.

“It is extremely concerning and dangerous not just for the offending driver - they place all road users in harm’s way.”

Victoria Police analysis suggests speed factors are a likely issue in about 40 per cent of road collisions.

AC Murphy said there were also growing issues involving motorcyclists.

“We are seeing an increase in the number of serious collisions involving motorcycles, both off road and on road,” she said.

“In about 60 per cent of fatal motorcycle collisions we are seeing the motorcyclist as the party at fault.

“It is crucial that motorcyclists ride to the conditions and their experience.”

Drugs and alcohol continue to be a prominent factor in serious road collisions.

Assistant Commissioner Murphy said other issues included distractions, particularly people looking at their mobile phones, and fatigue.

“We are seeing a trend of single-vehicle crashes where the vehicle comes off the road, especially in regional areas,” she said.

“Fatigue is something that everybody needs to be aware of and take the responsibility to manage before they get behind the wheel.”

Assistant Commissioner Murphy said all Victorian road users needed to remain conscious of their responsibilities on the road, drive to the conditions and stay safe.

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