Stayin' alive - Police crackdown keeps bikers riding
A MAJOR police operation targeting rogue motorcyclists is being hailed a success after helping reduce road deaths on the Tweed and Gold Coast.
Tweed Senior Sergeant Bill Darnell said motorcycle road deaths had dipped dramatically since the cross-border operation known as High Side began.
So far this year the Tweed and Gold Coast have recorded just one motorcycle fatality each, substantially lower than figures for the same period in 2007, said Sen Sgt Darnell.
The operation, which began last November, followed a horror year on the roads in which 27 motorcyclists were killed in the Tweed/Byron and Gold Coast regions.
In a four-month-long blitz officers from the Tweed/Byron Local Area Command (LAC) and Gold Coast District Highway Patrol targeted speeding and reckless driving on country back roads. The operation's conclusion yesterday drew a heavy police presence, with officers from both the Tweed and the Gold Coast conducting random breath tests and licence checks at the Queensland/NSW border on Numinbah Road.
A cavalcade of Ulysses Motorcycle Club members on a memorial ride to Crams Farm were among those stopped by police.
Despite the interruption, motorcyclists yesterday appeared in good spirits, with many telling the Tweed Daily News they were supportive of police efforts to curb dangerous road practices.
Surfers Paradise motorcyclist Mike Smith, who was pulled over for a random breath test, said he had no problem being stopped by police.
"I think it's fine. It's something to keep us safe and it's just part of the process," he said.
A Ulysses member, who wished only to be known as Garry, said a police presence was necessary to deter irresponsible riders on the roads.
"It's fair enough, there's a lot of ratbags around," he said.
"It's not a bad thing to see them (the police) out here, if they can catch a few idiots."
Sen Sgt Darnell said well-known hinterland routes were among those specifically targeted by police throughout the operation with a series of checkpoints and random patrols.
"Motorcyclists are converging on country roads in the western areas of Tweed/Byron LAC and using the roadway as a racetrack," he said.
"The riders ignore road rules and drive their machines in excess of the speed limit to test their bikes and their skills."
Operational figures released yesterday show highway patrol officers from both sides of the border issued a total of 260 infringement notices, with more than 140 of these offences detected in New South Wales. Of these, 11 per cent were offenders travelling at more than 30km/h over the speed limit.
Motorcyclists obscuring their number plates and overtaking at speed on double lines were among the more extreme offences detected by police.