The Coromandel Loop has always been a favourite destination for Auckland, Tauranga and Waikato riders, and some even further afield. Unfortunately, too many motorcyclists have been killed or seriously injured on this route. Something had to change. So, in 2013, a pilot project was started to see if it could be made safer for motorcyclists. Ride Forever was involved from the start, and a key contribution was using one of our instructors to ride and assess the route. Andrew Templeton of Roadsafe (one of the Ride Forever coaches) was kitted out with a camera, microphone and recording equipment to provide a rider’s eye view and commentary on the road as it stood.
This was a huge help for the roading engineers. Normal practice for assessing a road was for the engineer to view it from a van. Suddenly, they were seeing it from an expert rider’s perspective, identifying all manner of risks and potential hazards.
The Southern Loop pilot
Fast-forward a few years and the result was the Southern Coromandel Loop. Over its 130km length all manner of improvements had been put in place. They included new road markings that impressed on riders the need to slow for tight corners, more separation between oncoming traffic in some places, even pushing back a hillside to improve sightlines, new barriers and even a handful of new rescue helipads if things went wrong.
Before the work, 42% of serious and fatal crashes on the Southern Loop involved motorcyclists, even though we were just 2% of the traffic. The NZ Transport Agency say it’s too early to tell if it has made an impact on death or serious injury statistics, however ACC reported 31% fewer claims over the summer period and claimed their costs were halved. Just as importantly for keen riders, the road was still huge fun to ride.
Following on from that success, the Transport Agency and ACC decided to complete the rest of the Coromandel Loop with similar improvements on the northern section. That work is now underway and due to be completed by December 2017.
Make riding the Coromandel Loop more enjoyable
Of course this does mean a lot of riders may pile onto the peninsula, which can present a few risks in itself. So if you’re going to check it out, do watch out for over-enthusiastic sorts who might put themselves, and you, in danger. Make sure not to put your head over the centreline on narrow, twisting sections. Remember: stay wide until you can see the exit and make your exit tight—don’t run wide.
The other thing to be careful of is the risk of riders getting tired. The Southern Loop alone is 130km. Factor in riding there and back, and it is a long, long day. If riding the full loop, a better plan might be to stay overnight and don't feel the need to rush it. After all, it’s the Coromandel we’re talking here, so you’ve got beautiful scenery, lots of things to do and plenty of accommodation options.
The NZ Transport Agency has set up a handy web page for riders who want to do the Loop. It provides links to local weather, traffic info, events and other handy stuff, and also details how the Loop's been made safer for us all:
NZ Transport Agency's Coromandel Loop webpage
If you do fancy exploring the Coromandel Loop, the best preparation of all would be to brush up your skills with a Ride Forever course. Even if you’ve done one before, it’s a perfect opportunity to refresh what you’ve learned. And the Coromandel Loop is the perfect place to practice it. It remains one of New Zealand’s great riding roads.
If the Loop is calling you, the really great news is our Ride Ready promotion is running until 18 December. It means you can get a FREE 10-point safety check at participating dealers and a free Ride Forever course too! For all the details go to:
Get Ride-Ready with these two great offers