POLICE are cautioning motorcyclists not to ride alone in the Yarra Ranges.
Yarra Ranges highway patrol's Leading Senior Constable Graeme Rust said solo riders should be particularly wary of the Reefton and Black Spurs vicinity due to the lack of mobile phone coverage and the distance from emergency services.
Senior Constable Rust said riders travelling by themselves should tell someone where they planned to ride and what time they would be returning so the alarm could be raised if they didn't make it back on time.
For example, Dandenong Motorcycle Club's Barry Deal said registered trail bike riders from their club often took an e-alert beacon to contact an ambulance in case of an emergency.
The warning comes just weeks after the death of a motorcyclist on the Reefton Spur. A man aged in his 20s crashed and was discovered by a passing motorist several hours later.
Senior Constable Rust said many incidents were speed-related.
"It's a mountainous, twisty road but it's not a race track," he said.
The Yarra Ranges have long attracted motorcycle riders wanting to be challenged by the sharp bends of the road and to enjoy the beauty of the forest, but local police are concerned that riders are not adjusting their speed to the challenging conditions.
They may also be unaware of hazards such as roaming wildlife that might cause riders to lose control of their bikes.
"You wouldn't ride 100 kilometres an hour around a school. Again, if you can't see where you're riding, why travel at high speed?" Senior Constable Rust said.
The crash on Reefton Spur last month occurred in the fifth year of Operation Surreptitious, a successful local highway patrol initiative targeting speeding motorists in the Yarra Ranges.
Senior Constable Rust said before Operation Surreptitious there were emergency airlifts occurring in the Yarra Ranges once or twice a week — whereas now they might occur only once or twice a season.
In the past 12 months, 304 traffic offences were detected as part of Operation Surreptitious, including 262 speeding offences involving motorcycles and cars.