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Trail Topics

   An Open Letter to Minister Terry Waldron

    Saturday, November 26, 2011

Author: Peter Mathieson

As a motorcyclist with over 35 years of experience of road, trail and competition riding, I assure you that the benefits from trail bike riding are many, including economic, social and the general well being of participants.

12 months ago I wrote to you seeking your active support for the WA State Trail Bike Strategy which was developed more than three years ago and has only been actioned in part by providing very limited funding of $80k , despite members from both sides of the House supporting the Strategy (Hansard [ASSEMBLY .— Wednesday, 23 March 2011].

Whilst this initial funding is welcomed, I note with some asperity and cynicism that recent fatal shark attacks off the Western Australian coast have resulted in immediate decisions from the Government to spend the substantial sum of $13.5 million over the next 5 years into studies of shark behaviour and other measures to reduce the risk of attacks. This expenditure is further to the Premier's recent knee-jerk reaction to spend $1 million to subsidise daily aerial patrols until April 2012.

Whilst shark attacks create an air of palpable fear in the community, it is undeniable that people who venture into the dangerous environment of the ocean do so at their own risk. A value cannot be placed on the impacts of tragic shark attacks, and one feels for the families and friends of victims. Nevertheless, sharks live in the ocean, their movements cannot be predicted and no amount of studying and patrolling will assist in reducing the risk of attacks.

Recently, the community has also been saddened by the unnecessary deaths of trail bike riders. Where is the decisive action from Government to take action and commit funding over these tragic incidents? Are the lives of trail bike riders of less value politically, than ocean lovers?

The State Trail Bike Strategy can’t begin to address the issues until the government formally endorses it and allocates the necessary funds.

Recreational motorcycling is here to stay. The lack of amenity and safe places to ride will continue to be a problem in the community until action is taken.

I urge you to act now and provide adequate funding for the WA State Trail Bike Strategy.

Peter Mathieson
Trail bike rider and RTRA Member

15 November 2011