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The Coromandel Loop

The Loop’s iconic status was built on spectacular scenery, twisty and demanding tarmac, and proximity to Auckland, Tauranga and Hamilton. It was also deadly, making it the subject of some major upgrades.

The Coromandel Loop was identified as a high-risk route for motorcyclists. ACC, NZTA, MSAC, and riders themselves, decided to focus on high-risk routes for motorcyclists. They made a list of favourite routes and a nationwide survey was conducted to see where motorcyclists were riding, and how often.

Cross-referencing this with data showing nearly half of all fatal and serious motorcycle crashes happen on just 3% of the road network revealed some clear priorities. The Coromandel Loop was a big one.

Making roads more motorcycle friendly

ACC developed a co-funding programme with local authorities and NZTA to review the highest risk, most frequently-ridden motorcycle routes and see what might be done about them. Ride Forever was heavily involved in the process, with one of our expert instructors–kitted out with a camera, microphone and data monitors–riding the Loop and providing a running commentary.

For some, it was an eye-opener. Many had simply never seen a road from a rider’s perspective, let alone one as challenging as the Coromandel Loop.

It became a pilot for ways to make roads more motorcycle-friendly: safer and more forgiving without destroying the fun factor that determines their popularity.

Changes and development to the loop

First to open was the Southern Coromandel Loop: covering around 130km  of SH26 (Paeroa to Kopu), SH25A (Kopu to near Hikuai), SH25 (near Hikuai to Waihi) and SH2 (Waihi to Paeroa). The main changes were:

  • Innovative road markings and upgraded signage on the approach to some deceptive corners
  • Improved road surfaces, such as resealing in places and sealing driveway entrances
  • Earthworks to improve sightlines through some corners
  • Taking barriers to ground level on some corners
  • Increasing the separation between opposing lanes in critical places
  • Removing or modifying some roadside hazards to help reduce the severity of potential injuries if riders crash
  • Getting injured riders access to medical treatment as quickly as possible via new rescue helicopter landing areas and improved cellphone coverage. 

NZTA Coromandel Loop web portal