A crash card to save lives

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - NEWS -

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

Kim Olive.

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