Page 278 - Week 01 - Thursday, 16 February 2006

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . .

have been forcibly internally displaced in the last three years. The situation is complicated by US intervention through Plan Colombia, which provides aid and training to the military and is attempting to control drug trafficking by aerial spraying of coca crops with herbicides, which also destroy legal crops, cause environmental destruction and displace farmers in the process. So we have a mess there.

As it turns out, there is another election coming up this year in Colombia—a congressional election in March and presidential elections in May—and the Global Greens have stationed somebody there. Dario Ghiladucci from the European Greens has gone to Bogota as a Green ambassador in the run-up to the elections, and that, I suppose, is partly to monitor what is happening, to try and keep some sort of honesty in the election process and also, more importantly, to inform the rest of us Greens of developments locally.

It is important to remember the courage of Ingrid, who continued to be a political campaigner for what she knew was right even though she knew she was always in danger of kidnap at the least, death at the worst.

Motorcyclists—training program

MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella) (6.19): Tonight I rise to talk about something that has been a passion of mine since my early teenage years—motorcycle riding. I am not here to talk about the joys of jumping on my Daytona and going on a leisurely ride around the wonderfully maintained Canberra roads; instead I would like to raise awareness of a new safety training program that the NRMA Road Safety Trust and the Motorcycle Riders Association, supported by the ACT government, launched two weeks ago. The program is titled Ride ’n Thrive and it is a training program conducted by Honda Australia Rider Training, HART, on behalf of the MRA ACT. The program is a risk management rider development program, which will provide discerning riders with the necessary skills to perfect their road craft and survival skills.

I always practise road craft when riding for leisure, and particularly watch others learn to use it when participating in rides organised by the MRA ACT. As I have already mentioned, I have been riding motorcycles for a large part of my life and in such time I have ridden bikes of all standards and sizes. The bikes of today have quite different power and handling characteristics from the bikes of the past, which means that skill levels need to change along with the increased power and size of motorcycles.

Even though I have been riding for such a long time, I completed the Schuberg stay upright course so I could learn and feel more confident about riding both my old and new bikes. Ride ’n Thrive offers bike enthusiasts a chance to improve their skill levels and to monitor and improve motorcycle safety. The program is aimed at reinforcing or introducing riders to the simple but often forgotten strategies that help keep us safe on the roads. Some of the concepts covered while undergoing the course are observation and anticipation, road positioning, space selection and fatigue management, as well as risk selection. These concepts will be introduced through discussion, demonstration, practice and feedback during the on-road group ride. The course is designed to help promote safe and responsible road use, so the introduction of this course is very timely. With the tragic loss of eight Canberra motorcyclists in 2005, the MRA ACT have been vocal in working with riders to enhance safety and encourage more riders to attend these

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . .