Monday, 12 July 2010

Motorbike accidents in the media, part 11.

Has there been an eleven cylinder motorbike? Possibly, but I can't find it, and for that I am profoundly glad.

This is really getting away from me. I have several stories open in Firefox tabs, several more waiting to be opened, and there's almost a complete row of tabs. At this point, I'm not sure if this represents an increase in accidents or an increase in reporting.

That is a slightly odd headline. Using the indefinite article twice looks like a slightly clumsy attempt at correct grammar, and one which headlines usually ignore in favour of brevity. The headline also doesn't say who was injured, leaving the reader to assume it may have been the driver and the rider.

Actually, no: Two young men on the bike, aged 25 and 20, both received compound fractures.

The five paragraphs in this story contain enough information for three solid paragraphs, and any mention of circumstances, or even the apparently usual "The driver of the car was unhurt", is not included.

There was an odd formatting error in the web page, however.

It feels rushed, both in writing and posting.

Next up, also from the Courier Mail, is Woman killed in Townsville crash between motorbike and truck (June 01).

Interestingly, not only is this article better written, but includes an inline link to the approximate address on Google Maps. Which is, unsurprisingly, a major intersection, although there is no information given about what each vehicle may have been doing.

The interesting thing about this collision is that it was at 11am - everybody should have been awake, and it was no longer rush hour.

In contrast to a great many stories I've covered in this series, this one didn't contain any more information but was better written and presented.

Still from the Courier Mail, Man dies in motorcycle crash in Toowoomba, from June 14.

Seven paragraphs here, and surprisingly they're not all wasted - largely because only five of them are dealing with the accident.

6pm - dark, rush hour - a ute was waiting to turn right across traffic from a multi-lane road.

Traffic behind the vehicle was merging into the left lane but the motorcycle failed to merge and crashed into the back of the ute.

I can't really fault this article beyond putting "slamming into" in the opening paragraph.

I do have to question whether the ute had its lights on, and how the rider had a big enough lapse in concentration to crash into the back of it.

Since he was DOA at the hospital, we'll never know.

The last two paragraphs of the story are:
The fatality takes Queensland's 2010 road toll to 107 lives lost, including 20 motorcyclists.
At the same time last year 166 people had died on Queensland roads, 36 of them motorcyclists.

My personal wish is that any politician who gets up and says "This proves that being tougher on speeding saves lives" gets forced to write out "Correlation does not prove causation", 10,000 times or until they cry for mercy.

And if anybody has done an in-depth analysis of all the road-safety factors in recent years, I would love to know about it.

I'll finish with one more article, from the Ipswich-based Queensland Times: Motorcyclist airlifted to hospital, June 28, a headline so terse it's frustrating.

Five paragraphs, the last of which is "A spokesman for RACQ CareFlight said she was in a stable condition."

Essentially, a woman was riding a motorbike by herself at 9.45am on a Saturday morning when she "fell off her motorbike going around a corner."

Near the Maroon Dam probably means the Boonah Rathdowney Rd, which looks rather interesting and is immediately on my list of places to visit one of these days. From the look of the road, I'd say the usual suspects apply: oil, leaves, gravel, running out of talent.

Thankfully she's not dead, but suspected spinal injuries is nothing to be grateful for. I'm wondering why she was taken to the Toowoomba Base Hospital, not Ipswich or even Gold Coast - prevailing winds may have decided the pilot, for all I know.

For a nice change, this article is written in a very readable style instead of over-terse news-ese, and couldn't really include more information without actually talking to the woman, who was probably highly sedated at the time.
Four stories, none of them saying enough but, on the other hand, none of them really getting anything majorly wrong, either.

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