Melton police have warned that speeding motorbikes are potential “weapons” after charging a motorcyclist with riding at more than 70km/h above the speed limit on Australia Day.

Police impounded the motorbike and booked a Melton man, aged in his 20s, after he was clocked at 140km/h in a 70km/h zone on the Melton Highway about 2.30pm.

They renewed their calls for safer driving in the wake of several fatalities across the state last week, which included two teenagers whose car plunged off the EJ Whitten bridge on Wednesday.

Sergeant Chris Stuhldreier, of the Melton highway patrol, said people underestimate the consequences of being involved in a motorbike accident.

“A motorbike … weighs somewhere between 200 and 300 kilos,” he said. “That weight, travelling at that speed becomes a missile.

“Driving at that speed on a motorbike means there would be almost no margin for error – if an animal was to run in front of that bike, or if the rider was struck by a bird, or if the rider was to cross a pothole … any one of those causes could be enough for him to lose control, kill himself and possibly somebody else.”

The motorcyclist was among 44 drivers caught speeding on Melton roads during the Australia Day break as part of Operation Amity. Almost 90 driving offences were recorded, including 10 unregistered vehicles, six unlicensed drivers, and three drug-affected drivers. One driver was caught above the legal alcohol limit.

Focus on speed

Sergeant Stuhldreier said his team focused largely on speed on Melton’s major freeways, highways and arterial roads.

“Vehicles can become weapons considering their mass and size … and the speed you’re travelling at,” he said.

“Speed limits are set by governing authorities because that’s what’s deemed to be relatively safe for that road. When drivers flout that, they’re not only putting themselves at risk but they’re putting the general public at risk.”

Sergeant Stuhldreier urged drivers to watch both their speed and distance from other vehicles.

Across the state, five people died on roads over the Australia Day break, with police detecting almost 8000 traffic offences.

Victoria Police’s Superintendent Deb Robertson said the figures were disturbing.

“We put the call out to people … to look out for their mates, but these drivers are showing blatant disregard for not only their own lives but the lives of those around them,” she said.

“These figures are unacceptable, and it’s up to all of us to change them.

“Each individual driver must be responsible for their behaviour on the roads.”