Bike injury payouts soar to more than $200m a year

An increase in the number of motorcyclists and cyclists injured on Victorian roads during the past decade has led to the amount of compensation being paid out more than tripling to $203 million a year.

An analysis of Transport Accident Commission data found the number of injuries to people on motor and push bikes has risen significantly - from 1009 in 2000-01 to a high of 1337 in 2011-12.

The number of compensation claims by motorcyclists and cyclists has increased over that time at a greater rate than by other road-accident victims. At the turn of the century, one in seven claims was by a motorcyclist or cyclist. Now it is one in five.

This means the amount paid to people injured on two-wheeled transport has soared from $56 million to $203 million a year.

Experts say the increase is driven by the growing popularity of these modes of transport. The number of cyclists admitted to hospital has more than doubled among people aged 26 to 59 and the number of middle-aged male motorcyclists being injured is also up, as is the number of motorcyclist deaths.

The commission's road-safety manager, Samantha Cockfield, said the rises were linked to an increase in the popularity of recreational cycling and motorcycling among people in those age groups.

Monash Accident Research Centre associate director Stuart Newstead said cyclist injuries could be reduced through changes to roads - including more dedicated bike lanes - but that preventing motorcyclist injuries was ''a very difficult question''. He said improved protective clothing, anti-lock brakes and stability control would reduce injuries, but riders had been reluctant to embrace new safety technology.

Independent Riders Group spokesman Damien Codognotto urged the implementation of a 2012 parliamentary inquiry into motorcycle casualties.

Motorcyclist Heather Ellis said she was ''extremely lucky'' not to have sustained serious injuries after she was involved in a crash last year. The 50-year-old from Healesville stopped at traffic lights in Reservoir when a car slammed into the back of her. She was taken to hospital with bruising. She said protective clothing saved her.

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