Motorcycle safety week (22 to 30 November) started poorly, two riders tragically lost their lives in the days before the launch.  The very high number of motorcycle fatalities in 2014 is alarming.

Motorcycles account for 24% of fatalities state-wide and this number is higher in the metropolitan area (32%) than Regional Western Australia (17%). Last year 25 motorcyclists died on our roads and worryingly, the situation looks worse for the current year, with motorcycle fatalities already totalling 41 people.

At an individual level, as vulnerable road users, motorcyclists (as well as cyclists and pedestrians) must take responsibility for their own safety.

This means modifying risk taking behaviour, lowering speeds, wearing the best available clothing, wearing conspicuous clothing and readying for the possibility that other road users will make mistakes.

None of this removes the responsibility for motorists and other road users to look, to see, to comprehend and make good decisions.

For newly licensed and returning riders, becoming licensed is just the first step toward motorcycle proficiency. Attaining a motorcycle licence needs to be followed by quality training that transitions riders from inexperienced to accomplished with the skills, confidence and tools to ride wisely and safely.

The high proportion of weekend afternoon crashes and their locations supports the thinking that riding as a recreational activity may be playing a significant role in motorcycle crashes. The right riding kit, the right attitudes and the right skills, are vital to helping make these enjoyable activities as safe as possible.

Motorcycle safety week may have started badly on the roads, but all of us can do our part in making it end better. Riders by riding safe, drivers by driving safe and all of us by sharing the road.

RAC advocates for the safety of all road users and is a member on the Western Australian Road Safety Council, Motorcycle and Scooter Action Group and Vulnerable Road User Advisory Group.