New Zealand Police and the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) are calling upon motorcyclists and drivers to do more to keep safe on the road.

“It has been a disappointing start to the year for motorcyclists with the number of deaths so far,” said ACC’s Carey Griffiths, Senior Injury Prevention Programme Manager (Motorcycles).

“With 53 motorcyclists dying on our roads last year (48 riders and 5 pillion passengers), the highest number since 1998, we hope that this year does not carry on the way it has started.”

Eight motorcyclists have died on New Zealand roads since the beginning of this year.

“The disturbing feature of these deaths is that the majority involve male riders all over the age of 40,” said Mr Griffiths.

One fatal crash involved a 54-year-old who was on a learner’s licence and another 54-year-old also on a learner’s licence was caught travelling at 162kph.

“This highlights a real issue that we are dealing with. It concerns older male riders who are overly confident and often riding bikes that are beyond their experience and capabilities.”

Nearly three quarters (73%) of fatal crashes occur on the open road where a loss of control can be deadly.

Motorcycles make up less than 5 per cent of all vehicles on the road but 15 per cent of all fatal crashes involve motorcycle riders, and motorcyclists now make up 10% of all road users injured.