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Motorcyclist deaths up 19% in Victoria

AAP logoAAP 1/01/2017 Helen Velissaris

Motorcyclists are over-represented in Victoria's road toll, forcing police to plead with riders to be extra-vigilant and seek further riding lessons.

Motorcyclists accounted for 19 per cent of all deaths on Victorian roads.

Out of 291 deaths on Victorian roads, 56 were motorcyclists or passengers on the motorcycle.

Many of the riders had been riding illegally.

"Twenty four of them shouldn't have been on the roads at all; they were either not licensed or they weren't licensed to ride the bike that they were on," Road Policing Command Assistant Commissioner Doug Fryer said.

The number of riders on the road has also grown by 20 per cent in the past four years, VicRoads' chief executive John Merritt said.

"Obviously there has been an enormous growth in popularity of motorcycle riding in the state and sadly some of that is being reflected in the road trauma that we've seen this year," Mr Merritt said.

Many are returning riders who might not have used their motorbike licence for 20 years.

With the higher rate of middle-aged riders getting injured or even killed, Mr Fryer has urged people to be honest about their abilities.

"Go and get some riding lessons to make sure you're right to ride," he said.

There was also a big increase in elderly drivers between 80-89 years killed on Victorian roads, up 87 per cent.

Last year, stricter tests were introduced for those hoping to obtain a motorbike licence and for full-licence holders.

Mr Merritt expects the impact of that to show in rider's attention to safety.

More than 50 per cent of all road deaths were on country roads.

VIC ROAD TOLL FAST FACTS:

* 291 fatalities

* 41 pedestrians died

* 141 deaths in Melbourne metro, 150 deaths in country Vic

* 13 double fatalities, one triple fatality

* February had highest road toll of 34 killed

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