A crash card to save lives
KIM Olive has met many motorcyclists in the 45 years he has loved bikes but estimates 98 per cent of them have been injured on the road — most of them badly, some of them fatally.
“Most don’t get back on a bike,” he said.
Until late last year, Mr Olive was in the 2 per cent. But in September, on his way home from work, a motorist did an illegal Uturn in front of him. He hit the car and flew over the top, smashing onto the road.
He ended up with 26 plates and screws in his face, nine fractures in his back, a steel rod in his leg and wiring around a kneecap. He was lucky. The BMW he was riding is a high bike; had he been riding his Harley Davidson, he’d be dead.
In the past two months, seven motorcyclists have died on NSW roads. So far this year, there have been 32 deaths and more than 8200 incidents. Since 2014, some 221 motorcyclists have died on NSW roads.
The figures have prompted NSW Police and NSW Ambulance to urge motorcycle riders to be more careful. They are also calling on them to order a Crash Card, an initiative of Hornsby council, which is worn in the lining of the helmet and includes their personal details and medical information.
Assistant Police Commissioner Michael Corboy, the commander of the Traffic and Highway Patrol Command and a motorcycle rider himself, said both riders and motorists were contributing to the toll.
“It’s those motorcyclists who choose to take risks in speeding, drink or drug riding, not wearing a proper helmet, riding fatigued or distracted who are costing lives,” he said. “It is those other drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians who are not keeping a proper look out for motorcyclists (or) presenting a hazard, this is also costing lives.”
Last year, there were 19,623 motorcycle offences recorded by police. This year, there have been 7190 and counting. The CBD and Bondi top the list.
In past years, the number of motorcycles and scooters on NSW roads has increased almost threefold, from 88,146 in 2000 to 230,849. Over that period the motorcycle death toll has remained steady, while the driver, passenger and pedestrian tolls have fallen.
Carol Leung, a 28-yearold designer from the north shore, has been riding since she was 21 but had to take a few years’ break in the middle after she broke six bones in her foot in an accident. She needed three surgeries to fix them.
She loves riding on the open road but hates city commuting because of the stress involved. “You always have to ride as if someone is trying to kill you, that’s what keeps you alive,” said Ms Leung, who wears a crash card in her helmet.
“I try to avoid doing stupid things on the road. Lane filtering (riding between stationary or slow-moving cars) is now legal, but I don’t do it unless all the traffic is stopped, that way I know they are not going to move and hit me.”
Carol Leung and Jordan Lattouf are always careful. Picture: Rohan Kelly