New safety rails on Coromandel roads are being hailed as a game-changer in preventing motorcyclists from being seriously injured or killed.
The rails have been installed along a 130-kilometre stretch of road on the Coromandel Peninsular known as the Coromandel Loop which passes through Kopu, Whangamata, Waihi and Paeroa.
The loop is popular with motorcyclists and the rails are specifically designed to protect them.
Crash data over the last five years from the New Zealand Transport Agency showed motorcycle riders were involved in 42 percent of fatal and serious crashes along the stretch of highway, but only made up two percent of road users.
The rails redirect the rider along the barrier and away from the guardrail posts.
Motorcycle Safety Advisory Council member Janice Millman said the rails would reduce the chance of motorcyclists coming off their bikes from being seriously injured.
The new rails were lower than existing safety barriers and would stop riders hitting posts or sliding under the barrier.
"The barriers are designed to receive impact with some cushioning effect rather than being just a straight hard hit."
The barriers have been erected at 19 sites along the Coromandel Loop.
Motorcyclists could also do a lot more to protect themselves, Ms Millman said.
"The vast majority of motorcycle accidents and fatalities are sadly avoidable.
"Watch your speed, read the roads, look for other vehicles and never assume you know what is around the next corner."
If crash numbers were lower at the end of a two year trial period, the new barriers will be rolled-out around the country, NZTA said.
The new barriers were part of the Safer Rides Project which is a New Zealand first and is a multi-agency project involving NZTA, the Motorcycle Safety Advisory Council, ACC, police and Hauraki, Thames-Coromandel and Waikato Regional councils.
Other safety improvements being trialled include upgraded signs for curves, wider edge-lines, new road markings and billboards with tips for ways to cope with the challenges of riding the route.