Thursday, 5 August 2010

Motorbike accidents in the media, part 13

If there has ever been a 13 cylinder motorbike I really don't want to know about it. (Actually I do, but I hope there hasn't been!)

The Courier Mail are keeping up their habit of long headlines: "Car mounts footpath in rush hour, injures pedestrian and motorcyclst in Fortitude Valley" (July 21).

Three paragraphs, but bad formatting makes it look like two at first. It doesn't say how exactly the two cars, motorbike and pedestrian were involved, which is surely the big question. I mean - what? Surely the police would have some idea what happened if it was during rush hour?

Unless, of course, by the time police got there through rush hour traffic it had been so long that nobody could remember.

Oh yes, and: "motorbike-rider"? Really? That doesn't fit any hyphenation rule I'm familiar with!

Slightly shorter headline from the CM from the same day: "Police seek witnesses after black sedan hits motorcycle in Mackay" (July 21).

The second paragraph desperately needs reworking to get rid of the commas, but the entire piece reads far too much like a mildly reworked police media release.

Mind you, there is a potentially amusing note that the black "SS or SV6" Commodore (and don't tell me you were even slightly surprised by that), "may have panel damage to the front right handside." For bonus points, kick the editor who posted that without fixing it.

There isn't really much I can say about this apart from saying that somebody should have rewritten it so that it wasn't quite so obviously a massaged media release. All it says is what the police are prepared to say, how they are prepared to say it.

From guess who, another long headline: "Harley-Davidson rider killed by Toyota Camry as he turned into driveway at Jimboomba" (July 23).

Okay, they hyphenated it correctly, but once again I am forced to ask: Why are HDs always identified in copy, when other brands very rarely are? Do journalists get a kick-back from HD marketing, or something? And why haven't I been told?

I could also go into the attribution of action to the car not the driver, but I've done that before. It's stupid, and unhelpful.

As an interesting insight: This story first hit the Mail's RSS feeds as "Man dead after motorbike accident", and then again as "Harley rider killed by Camry". Exact same copy. Hmmm...

Eight paragraphs, five about this story and then mentioning another couple of accidents.

I think this one's worth quoting in full: 
POLICE are baffled by a fatal motorcycle crash at Jimboomba, southwest of Brisbane, in which a 64-year-old riding a Harley-Davidson bike was killed.

Now that's weird. They name HD, but find it necessary to add "bike". 

Police said the man was turning into a wide, sweeping driveway on Cusack Lane, when he was struck from behind by a Toyota Camry towing a trailer.

Apart from the extraneous comma, that just screams a driver who was not paying attention. There is simply no excuse for running into the back of someone who has not just slammed their brakes on in an emergency.

The bike rider, Robert Walsh, died at the scene and the 68-year-old male driver of the car was unhurt.

It's amazing how people inside big metal cages are unhurt when colliding with small vehicles like bikes, isn't it?
His 66-year-old passenger was taken to Logan Hospital suffering shock and chest pains.

Heart problems, I'm betting.

The Forensic Crash Unit is investigating.

I should hope so. Preferably by taking the driver into a small room and asking pointed questions.

Full credit to the Courier Mail for embedding Google Maps links in this story.

This story needed more editing, fewer cliches and a quote from the police explaining the "baffled" part, but hadn't been too badly written to begin with.

I think that'll do for this episode. Three items, one media outlet, three excessively long headlines. 

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