THE State Health Minister, Jill Hennessy, covered a wide range of topics while visiting the Wonthaggi hospital last week, including the impact of the drug ice on health workers’ safety, mental health services locally and the recent spike in motorcycle trauma.
Speaking to staff in the hospital’s Emergency Department, Ms Hennessy was keen to hear if there had been any drug-related, violent episodes and what protocols the health service had in place to protect staff and other patients.
She was also interested to know if the hospital had responded to more motorcycle accidents this year.
“Apparently part of the reason for the rise in road trauma from motorcycles this year is that because of the good weather, there are a lot more people out riding their motorbikes,” Ms Hennessy said.
“This is particularly the case with the more mature riders, especially older blokes who have taken up riding motorcycles again.”
“That would be me,” said Bass Coast Health’s new chair, Don Paproth.
“It’s true, apparently, unfortunately some of the older riders have come up in the trauma reports,” she said.
The Transport Accident Commission has responded to the alarming rise in motorcycle deaths and injury this year in several ways.
As well as highlighting the risks for riders, they have also ensured a safer start on the road by introducing phase 2 of the new Motorcycle Graduated Licence Scheme (GLS).
From April 2, riders applying for their learners licence will be required to undertake more extensive training and testing.
Roads and Road Safety Minister, Luke Donnellan (one of few Ministers not in Wonthaggi last week) said the higher rate of motorcycle crashes in Victoria this year was alarming.
“Many of these recent crashes involved speed and inexperience,” Mr Donnellan said.
“We know that better preparation before getting out on the road can lead to increased safety and less crashes and that’s why phase 2 of the Motorcycle Graduated Licensing System is so important.
“The Motorcycle Graduated Licensing System is designed to help riders harness the right blend of knowledge and practical skills to become safe and experienced riders,” Mr Donnellan said.
Phase 2 of the Motorcycle GLS will help to ensure that new riders have both the knowledge and the real experience to become safer riders on Victoria’s roads.
The training – which includes theory and practical assessments – has a greater emphasis not only on basic skills but also higher order skills such as awareness, judgement and decision making. This will help riders to develop a better understanding of safe riding practices.
The practical training will include off-road exercises in a controlled environment and on-road training with applicants assessed after two days.
Motorcycle L platers will also need to take part in Check Ride – a one day activity session providing advice on safe riding skills and strategies during the high-risk learner phase.
Phase 2 of the system serves as an important reminder to riders about the importance of safe riding practices on Victoria’s roads.