12 tips to keep motorbike riders safe


RIDE TO LIVE: If you can’t see 5 seconds ahead, slow down until you can – you must be able to stop in the distance you can see to be clear.

RIDE TO LIVE: If you can’t see 5 seconds ahead, slow down until you can – you must be able to stop in the distance you can see to be clear.

Bike riders are at greater risk riding a bike than motorists driving a car. However, there are things that can be done to minimise the risk. NRMA’s Senior Policy Advisor and bike rider Jack Haley gives his advice.

1. Maintain your bike properly – worn tyres and brakes, for instance, can make the bike behave unpredictably.  Regular maintenance can also prevent you being stranded a long way from home.  If you are not confident of doing it yourself, get a qualified bike mechanic to do it.

2. Get to know your bike. If you have ABS, try it out on a private or quiet road with no-one behind you so you know what to expect, rather than find out about it in an emergency.  If you have switchable traction control, leave it on unless you are confident you can handle the rear tyre breaking loose under power.

3. Wear good quality clothing. While there is not yet a star rating system for clothing (there is an Australian group working on it), check to see if at least the body armour in clothing is CE rated.  Some clothing claims compliance with the CE material abrasion tests as well, so you may wish to consider purchasing this gear.  Riding to work is generally lower speed but the abrasiveness of the road surface and the rigidity of roadside objects is the same everywhere, so wear protective gear to ride to work and change when you get there.  On longer rides, good gear prevents you getting too hot or cold, which affects your awareness and riding skills.

4. Choose clothing with some reflective panels or piping and preferably with coloured inserts to break up the overall black material.  A matt black helmet with black clothing on a matt black bike is hard for anyone to see at night. Reflective tape stuck to clothing and/or the bike can also be useful at night.  Some may want to go the whole hog and wear a reflective vest.  If the bike’s headlight aim is adjustable, check that it is correct – if too low, it will affect your visibility; if too high it will annoy other road users and is illegal.

5. When riding, scan as far ahead as you can, preferably at least 5 seconds, so you have advanced warning of threats – darker patches on the road might be an oil spill, an object on the road might look like a paper bag but could be a rock, and lots of brake lights ahead might indicate the traffic is stopping quickly.  If you can’t see 5 seconds ahead, slow down until you can – you must be able to stop in the distance you can see to be clear.  Visit Ride to Live for a few video demonstrations of recognising risk.

6. Look where you want to go, not where you don’t – you tend to go where you’re looking.  If you want to enjoy the scenery, stop and take a proper look.

7. Give anything that might be a hazard some clearance – road workers, a car with a door open, a dog on the side of the road.

8. When cornering, aim to keep towards the centre of the lane – this will keep you away from on-coming traffic on right hand corners and broken edges and potholes on left hand corners.  Start wide until you can see the apex of the corner, then finish relatively tight, without using the very edge/centre of the lane.

9. Unless moving up to overtake, stay at least 3 seconds back from a vehicle in front – not only does this give you more room to brake if necessary, it gives you a better view of what is happening ahead of the preceding vehicle, providing you with information earlier, giving you more time to react if you need to.  On wet or gravel roads, or rough surfaces, increase the gap.

10. Beware of complacency if you ride the same route every day – many things will be the same but the unexpected can always occur.

11. Attend training courses regularly – no one knows or remembers everything.

12. Get covered with roadside assistance for your motorbike.

Do you have any motorbike safety tips? Comment below. Looking for a new motorbike? NRMA also offers motorcycle loans.


Putting trust back into mechanics

MotoServe Trustworthy Mechanics

SERVICE WITH A SMILE: By the end of the year, 25 NRMA MotorServe centres will be open for business. Pictured: NRMA MotorServe South Strathfield Manager, Jason Cimino, and NRMA MotorServe CEO, Elaine McFadzean.

Finding a mechanic you can trust can be hard. Few people know what goes on under a modern bonnet and it can be a challenge to find someone they can trust to do work.

That’s the reason why, eight years ago, NRMA started the MotorServe chain of service centres. It was a business decision driven by Members, who were constantly asking NRMA for help for car repairs and servicing. MotorServe was established to ensure all Members got transparency and peace of mind every time they took their car for a service.

“From the very beginning we have made sure our customers know what is being done to their car and, importantly, how much it is going to cost, says MotorServe CEO Elaine McFadzean.”

“Because we’re NRMA, motorists know that they are getting honest and reliable service and good value for their money.”

Seven Hills was the location of the very first MotorServe; by the end of this year there will be 25 service centres in New South Wales and the ACT.

“We are within 10km of 87% of our Members,” says Ms Fadzean. “We want it to be easy for our Members to reach us.”

Both Members and non-Members can use MotorServe services. However, there are many Member-only savings, with exclusive rates that include essential ServicingLog Book ServicesGeneral RepairsVehicle Inspections and more.

“We have great facilities and all of our service centres are equipped with the latest technology. Most importantly of all, we have a team of highly skilled mechanics who can deal with even the most complicated mechanical problems, says Elaine McFadzean.

“I regularly visit of our MotorServe service centres and talk to all our mechanics and I can honestly say that all of us are committed to giving our Members the best experience we can.”

The MotorServe Difference

  • Members save 10% on all repairs
  • You approve all work before we start
  • 6 month/10,000km guarantee on any work
  • Log book servicing to manufacturers specs

Call 1300 223 544 to make a booking or visit the MotorServe website.

Apprenticeship program
MotorServe employs almost 240 people and NRMA gives back to local communities by offering a tailored apprenticeship program – a Certificate III in Automotive (Mechanical – Light Vehicle) Apprenticeship Program. Our apprentices have the opportunity to learn more than a trade. They receive practical training that not only equips them with the skills to become great technicians but provides them with genuine career development opportunities.

All training is delivered by experienced automotive technicians. In addition, our apprentices receive personalised support from their in-store workplace coaches and a dedicated apprenticeship team.

For more information about the apprenticeship program, email: apprenticeships@mynrma.com.au.

Where do you service your car?

How to to avoid the hidden costs of a new car

NRMA Road Test Editor, Tim Pomroy, knows a lot about cars. He spoke to NRMA’s Open Road on how to walk away with a good deal.

The hidden costs of a new car

TIM’S TIPS: Car salesmen can be overwhelming so be prepared before you start the car search journey.

When buying a new car,  the list price is only a starting point – it’s essential to factor in running, warranty and insurance costs to know what you’ll really pay.

1. Know what model you are after but be flexible with the specs

Car dealers love buyers who have no clear idea what type of vehicle they are after. A good salesman can steer the buyer around the showroom and sell them a vehicle that has the best financial incentives for the salesman. Sales managers don’t like stock that hangs around too long, either, since its costs them money in terms of floor plan financing so not surprisingly they may be very keen to shift slow-moving models.

You can make this work in your favour if you know the exact make you’re after and the dealer’s stock controller had a brain fade and ordered a bunch of cars with weird colours. If you’re flexible with the specification level, colour and options, you could walk away with a better deal in financial terms than you would if you ordered a vehicle that’s not in stock.

2. How much are you ultimately paying? Manufacturers list price [MLP] or Drive Away?

There’s a big difference, Drive Away includes dealer delivery, registration and insurance, and is a much truer indication. Let’s use the Mitsubishi Mirage ES, an Australia’s Best Cars category winner as an example that has a MLP of $11,990. Indicative Drive Away pricing increases the cost of the Mirage up to $14,352.

Most drivers are opting for automatic transmissions and in the Mirage’s case that’s an extra $2000. If you don’t like white you need to add $550 for the remaining five colour options. Add $370 for comprehensive insurance and the $11,990 Mirage is closer to $20k than $10k and that’s without any extras.

3. Compare your price with another dealer. You might be able to negotiate a better price.

How new is your new car? Even if you are buying the ‘2015 current model’ buying in the early part of the year could mean that it was built in the previous. It doesn’t become an issue until trade-in time, where the valuer will price it as a 2014, where you could lose $$$.

4. How much will it cost to keep your new steed in the drive?

Capped price servicing is becoming the norm but it is subject to variation and excludes items like brake pads and rotors, considered wear and tear items.

5. How extensive is the brands dealer network?

It’s especially important in rural areas where if there is no dealer you may need to travel long distances for service and warranty.

6. Take a proper test drive, not just a lap around the block.

You need to check things like seat adjustability and comfort, vision forward and rear and general ergonomics. Once you sign on the dotted line and drive out of the dealership it’s almost impossible to return it!

7. Beware the extras trap!

Many new cars in the showroom will be loaded up with extras or packs, and the temptation will be to go with them. On some premium brands the average spend on extras can be around $7,000, that’s fine if you’re aware, but it could be a trap for some on a tight budget.

Compare finance deals offered by the dealer with other forms of financing. Just like housing loans there’s a multitude of options available to the consumer. NRMA Car Loans can help you with this.

8. Start you’re research with us!

The NRMA has a long history of providing motoring advice and reviews on all types of vehicles and combine nationally with other state clubs for the Australia’s Best Cars awards program. For 2015, 220 vehicles were reviewed and rated. Using the My Best Cars tool at australiasbestcars.com.au you can highlight the areas that are most important to you, and it will provide a selection of vehicles most appropriate to get the ball rolling. You need to do your research if you want trustworthy after-care for your new car. NRMA MotorServe is a great place to start. NRMA MotorServe centres are authorised to service new vehicles, stamping the log book and upholding the manufacturer’s warranty

What do you look for when purchasing a vehicle?

Finding your optimal driving position

UP STRAIGHT: Your backside should be placed towards the back of the seat for support of your lower spine.

UP STRAIGHT: Your backside should be placed towards the back of the seat for support of your lower spine.

Ensuring your car is set up correctly for every journey not only provides you with optimal comfort, it will also help to ensure your journey is a safe one.

Here NRMA Safer Driving take you through a few simple tips from your feet to your head to help you ensure you are set up in your car correctly.


  • Your right heel should be placed on the floor between the accelerator and the brake. Your foot should able to swivel between the accelerator and brake without lifting off the floor.
  • Your left heel should rest on the footrest provided in most vehicles on the left side wall of the foot well. It should be placed here at all times for an automatic vehicle and when not in use for the clutch in a manual vehicle.

Legs and back

  • There should be a slight bend in your knees which not only aids in comfort but  also acts as a brace in case of a crash and allows for better absorption of road bumps while driving. Straight legs do not provide the required dexterity required to operate the foot controls correctly.
  • Your backside should be placed towards the back of the seat for support of your lower spine and posture.
  • Move the car seat forward or back to ensure you are not too far away from the foot controls and the steering wheel. You can also move the car seat up and down in most modern vehicles.

Steering wheel

  • Most modern vehicles have numerous adjustments for the steering wheel which is paramount for safe deployment of the airbags. Steering wheels commonly can be adjusted up down and also in and out in telescopic manner.
  • The steering wheel should be lowered as much as possible without blocking your view of instrument information such as speedometer. Ideally it should sit facing towards your chest (not face) with approximately an A4 page distance between your and the middle of steering wheel. Any closer than A4 page length could result in an increased risk of injury in the event of an airbag deployment in a crash.
  • After making the adjustments mentioned above, place both wrists on top of the steering wheel.  Your arms should be completely straight. This allows you to have a slight bend in your arms when returning your hands to the normal holding of the steering wheel position.  This again helps aid with the correct amount of dexterity for steering and use of auxiliary controls.

 Seat Belt

  • Seat-belt_22.07Low, Flat, Firm: There should be no twists or knots in the belt. Seat belts are designed to be fitted across the strong points of the skeleton. Low, flat and firm across the hips and shoulder.
  • The seat belt height can be adjusted in most vehicles via a mechanism which slides up and down the inside right pillar of the car. A rule of thumb is for the seat belt adjuster to sit approximately even with your right ear.

Head Rest

  • Designed to support your head in a sudden impact, and reduce neck injury and whip lash.
  • The middle of the headrest should sit around the rounded position of your skull where it meets your spinal column.

Now that you are all set up correctly, you can ensure you have a safe and comfortable drive, every drive.

Do you check your optimal position regularly? Was this something you were taught when learning to drive?

Check out NRMA Safer Driving for more advice and to book a lesson.

Road rules for pedestrians


Blog updated on 20 August 2015.

Road aren’t only for motorists and cyclists - they are for pedestrians too. As with cars, there are a number of rules, some better known than others, that govern how pedestrians use the road - as well as fines for breaking them.

Fatal crashes on NSW roads are up this year compared to the same period last year, as is the number of pedestrians killed. There have been 41 pedestrian fatalities so far this year. In the same period in 2014, 28 pedestrians were killed.

Part 14 of Road Rules 2014 covers pedestrians. Some of the key rules in this section are:

230  Crossing a road – general

  1. A pedestrian crossing a road:
    (a)  must cross by the shortest safe route, and
    (b)  must not stay on the road longer than necessary to cross the road safely.

Maximum penalty: 20 penalty units.

236  Pedestrians not to cause a traffic hazard or obstruction

  1. A pedestrian must not cause a traffic hazard by moving into the path of a driver.
    Maximum penalty: 20 penalty units.
  2. A pedestrian must not unreasonably obstruct the path of any driver or another pedestrian.

238  Pedestrians travelling along a road (except in or on a wheeled recreational device or toy)

  1. A pedestrian must not travel along a road if there is a footpath or nature strip adjacent to the road, unless it is impracticable to travel on the footpath or nature strip.

Read the full road rules for pedestrians.

Most of the Rules for pedestrians are taught to us as children. However, pedestrian deaths continue to be significant. As the road is a shared zone, it is important that all users respect and adhere to the rules to make it the safe place that it can be.

Should the rules for pedestrians be better policed?