Sunday, 24 June 2007

No shit, sherlock

I would like to think that I care a little bit more about being a good motorist than do most people on the road. The alternative doesn't bear thinking about. I know too much about the potential consequences of an accident to ever want to be involved in one.

I also, in a situation many people would consider ironic, enjoy cycling and motorcycling. Which just means that whenever I throw a leg over a bike, I'm more than a little bit paranoid.

I also happen to know, via work, a little bit more about road safety statistics than most people, and I have this to say: The anti-speeding campaign is poorly designed, never going to be effective, and a red herring.

But moving on.

These two gems, from the Courier Mail RSS feeds, and from the ABC RSS feeds:

Exhibit A (Curious Snail):

"A YOUNG motorcyclist has died after a collision with a four-wheel-drive north of Brisbane.

The man, believed to be in his late teens or early 20s, died after his trail bike collided with the 4WD at the intersection of Old Gympie and Twin View Roads at Elimbah, near Caboolture, about 2.10pm (AEST) today, police said."

Exhibit B (ABC):

"A 26-year-old Queensland man has died after he crashed his motorcycle at Toowoomba in the state's south-east.

Police say it appears the man was thrown from his bike when he ran into a barrier at Mount Lofty Park about 2:30 am AEST.

He died at the scene. Investigations are continuing."

Speaking as a motorcyclist, I have one immediate response to each:

Exhibit A: A 4WD? really? How surprising! I hope the driver gets the book thrown at them.

Exhibit B: Idiot.

It seems clear to me that Exhibit B demonstrates inappropriate speed, pure and simple. There may have been treacherous road conditions, but unless there was an unidentified other vehicle involved that rider was going too fast. And every motorcyclist alive has a passionate hatred of 4wheel drives and the inconsiderate, incompetent pricks who drive them. Forget Volvos: If you want the most easily stereotyped unsafe population of drivers: 4WDs win hands down. I've had close shaves myself and, as I said, I'm paranoid.

But this is the bit that really takes the cake for quality journalism, the final sentence of the Curious Snail report:

"The driver of the 4WD was uninjured."

No shit, Sherlock. I'd like to know what sort of collision with a motorcycle would injure the driver of a suburban tank. Unless we're talking about a Suzuki Sierra, nothing short of a Honda Goldwing or one of those Harley Road Kings that have six-stacker CD player, climate controlled air-conditioning and take up more space than my Camry could possibly endanger the driver of a 4WD unless the rider was thrown up, came through the windscreen and headbutted them.

Now there's an entertaining thought...

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