Spy brings you the road goss

Big Rigs - - COLUMN - I SPY ON THE ROAD ispy@bi­grigs.com.au

Hitch­hiker de­bate

WHETHER truck driv­ers should pick up hitch­hik­ers has again come un­der the mi­cro­scope af­ter an in­ci­dent in WA.

A man was charged with two counts of crim­i­nal dam­age and one count of intent to harm when he ap­peared in court fol­low­ing an in­ci­dent when a truckie picked up two hitch­hik­ers.

Over the past 20 years, Spy has spo­ken to many truck­ies about hitch­hik­ers and a lot claim to have given the odd one a lift.

That is de­spite the ob­vi­ous dan­gers, al­though to be fair the bad in­ci­dences are few and far be­tween.

Most com­pa­nies have a pol­icy that their truck driv­ers can’t pick up hik­ers and any re­ported cases can re­sult in dis­missal from their job.

In­sur­ance com­pa­nies can knock back a claim if a truck is dam­aged by a hiker.

Few of those who ad­mit­ted to Spy they will give a hiker a lift are em­ployed driv­ers.

In fact most are owner-op­er­a­tors or small fleet own­ers.

The rea­son they give is bore­dom and the com­pany hik­ers pro­vide, es­pe­cially on a long run.

Back in 2003, Spy cov­ered a story af­ter a Good Sa­mar­i­tan truckie picked a hitch­hiker up and it was the start of a 15 hour drive in which his life was threat­ened.

That truckie had the best in­ten­tions when he picked up the hitch­hiker near Bris­bane and was then taken hostage at gun­point.

The truckie was forced to drive to Bowen and 15 hours later had to stop for fuel at the Cal­tex Road­house, be­side the Bruce High­way just south of the town, where he man­aged to es­cape and alert staff.

While not wanting to sound like Mr Ob­vi­ous, all of the ev­i­dence avail­able seems to point to a sen­si­ble con­clu­sion that any truckie who picks up a hiker does so at their own risk. FOOT­NOTE: One vet­eran truckie who is against pick­ing up hitch­hik­ers had this to say: “It is a bit like some­body who swims or en­ters wa­ters in­hab­ited by sharks or croc­o­diles and is at­tacked. If they stayed out of the habi­tat they wouldn’t have risked an at­tack. Same as with hitch­hik­ers, don’t pick one up and they can’t hurt you.”

Ev­i­dence vi­tal

PHO­TO­GRAPHIC ev­i­dence proved vi­tal af­ter a truckie who drives a light rig re­ceived a breach for speed­ing in the mail.

To add to the drama, this ticket al­most ig­nited a gen­uine fam­ily feud.

This qui­etly spo­ken lad aged in his mid-30s was given a lec­ture by his de facto part­ner who in­structed him to “slow down” on the road.

Our mate was lick­ing his wounds and check­ing his fi­nances to en­sure he could pay the fine by the re­quired date.

Other­wise it would go to court, and costs – if he was found guilty – would be much higher.

But some­thing in his mind told him that he wasn’t the cul­prit. Not with­out foun­da­tion ei­ther.

When a pic ar­rived of the al­leged breach it pointed the fin­ger squarely at his mis­sus.

“I was work­ing about 900km from the place where the speed­ing was cap­tured on cam­era even though it was my ve­hi­cle,” he told Spy who al­most swal­lowed his break­fast ce­real with laugh­ter.

When this ev­i­dence on the ta­ble the lovely lady had to ad­mit it was her at the wheel, al­though qual­i­fy­ing that by say­ing she had for­got­ten.

So she pro­ceeded to a lo­cal JP who for­warded that ad­mis­sion onto au­thor­i­ties so the breach could go to the cor­rect per­son, her.

Bal­anc­ing act

IT WAS early in the morn­ing as a Dar­win-based truckie drove along the Stu­art High­way and got a big sur­prise.

He saw two women walk­ing along with lug­gage bags bal­anc­ing on their heads.

Their hands were not on the bags and our driver was very cu­ri­ous.

But he was on a tight sched­ule and de­cided not to stop to find out about the bags.

Spy reck­ons that with the time worry the fel­low made the right de­ci­sion.

Even though it would have been a “bal­anc­ing act”.

Chivalry on the high­way

MOST of the older truck­ies Spy has spo­ken to over the last decade reckon that in the old days driv­ers would go out of their way to help some­body in need.

But they say that has changed and now in­stead of the ma­jor­ity of truck­ies stop­ping to help some­body change a tyre or need­ing re­pairs, they cruise past.

Well that was not the case on May 17 when a ve­hi­cle (see pic) be­came bogged be­side the Flinders High­way.

It near Canal Creek on the Clon­curry to Ju­lia Creek stretch.

Sev­eral truck­ies passed on an SOS over their ra­dio and some Good Sa­mar­i­tans in a 4WD towed the stricken ve­hi­cle out.

A truckie emailed this pic to Spy and I thank him for that.

Canal with a C

ON THE very sub­ject of Canal Creek, and there are many named this around Aus­tralia, road signs at each end are among the most van­dalised in the coun­try.

Of­ten un­known vil­lains will stop and paint over the C leav­ing the name as ‘Anal Creek’.

Spy re­ally tried to get to the bot­tom of this and sev­eral truck­ies ex­plained.

“They like to snap pho­to­graphs of the name miss­ing the C on their mo­bile phones as sou­venirs.”

And I just hope that any reader doesn’t call Spy a bum for men­tion­ing this lit­tle bit of trivia.

Mov­ing ex­pe­ri­ence

OLD Spy dropped his “trou­ble and strife” off to the air­port one morn­ing about 5am and was head­ing home.

Much to his cha­grin, Spy re­ceived an SOS call from his dar­ling wife ask­ing him to come back to the air­port as she had left some­thing in the car.

Now when the lady barks out an or­der, Spy usu­ally jumps to at­ten­tion and dropped off the miss­ing item.

Which proved to be a bonus as on the way home the sec­ond time, and still in the dark, Spy saw lots of lights in the on­com­ing two lanes.

I thought it was an ac­ci­dent, but much to my sur­prise it was a house on the back of a trailer be­ing moved.

Al­though Spy couldn’t do a u-turn to snap pics I got a good view and the truck driver did a mag­nif­i­cent job, so too the es­corts.

A lot goes into mov­ing build­ings and Spy now recog­nises the ef­fort put in by mem­bers of the road transport in­dus­try.

Er­rol Flynn clone

THERE is a bar at­ten­dant who works at a ho­tel pop­u­lar with truck driv­ers who many reckon looks like the late Hol­ly­wood heart­throb Er­rol Flynn.

Spy fre­quents the wa­ter­ing hole and has over­heard sev­eral groups of fe­males deep in dis­cus­sion over the lad.

“He could leave his boots un­der my bed any night,” one quipped which brought laugh­ter from her mates.

Some of the truck­ies who drink there on their days off also say he is a gen­uine Flynn clone.

Swash­buck­ling Flynn was born at Ho­bart in 1909 and died aged 50.

He achieved fame as a Hol­ly­wood ac­tor which in­cluded a star­ring role in the film Mutiny on the Bounty.

His dash­ing good looks made him very pop­u­lar with mem­bers of the fairer sex.

Spy can re­port the Chris­tian name of his looka­like is Ken­dall.

This fel­low is aged in his early 20s and is hap­pily in a re­la­tion­ship with a stun­ning beauty who works at the same place.

But Ken­dall did laugh when told of the com­pli­ments he had re­ceived and even ad­mit­ted to Spy he got a “mys­tery text” that night from an un­known fe­male which he promptly deleted.

Help­ful truck­ies

AN el­derly dis­abled man with a walk­ing frame be­come anx­ious af­ter go­ing into the ladies toi­let at a Puma Road­house by mis­take.

A pa­tron sit­ting not far away from the toi­lets yelled out to the vet­eran to tell him that the men’s dunny was not far away.

How­ever the gent be­came dis­ori­ented and then two truck­ies saw what was go­ing on and helped him to the cor­rect “wa­ter­ing sta­tion”.

While the se­nior cit­i­zen was hav­ing a call of nature his daugh­ter ap­peared from the road­house eatery and ex­plained the old fella had de­men­tia.

She thanked the truck­ies for their as­sis­tance.

Call us on 0405 910 056

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

CRI­SIS AVERTED: Good Sa­mar­i­tans pull a bogged ve­hi­cle from the side of the Flinders High­way.

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