Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Motorbike accidents in the media - Part 16

Anyone want to guess if there are 16-cylinder motorbikes out there? Drop me a line if you find one.

A brief four articles today, to catch up to mid September:

We start with a rare report of a non-fatal collision, from August 27, the Courier Mail giving us Woman hurt in crash between motorbike and lorry at New Farm.

Another CM story, another tedious headline.

There is a weird atypical quotation mark in the last paragraph.

"Woman motorbike rider" is clumsy, "she collided with a truck" needs supporting evidence, and I would be interested to know who was going where, who had right of way and what the truck was doing at the time.

Not a particularly well written article, a hurriedly edited one, and overall unsatisfying.

From September 7, the CM also gives us Motorcyclist killed in car collision at Finnie, outside Toowoomba

I can only assume they have a reason for these headlines. There must be a reason.

Six paragraphs, all quite tight and concise but with one clumsy and poorly placed comma, the last paragraph an update on the yearly road toll figures.

Collision between car and bike, 30yo male rider died at scene.

The Toowoomba-Karara Rd is a bit winding, so all the usual country-road risks apply: suspect edges, casual attitude to driving, temptation to go faster than the road affords, loose or compromised surface, etc.

A concise news article, with little information but no randomly thrown quotes or assumptions, either.

From September 9, the CM also gives us Man dies in scooter crash in South Brisbane

A headline that could be improved, but at least this one isn't trying to be a paragraph unto itself.

Eight paragraphs, two different quoted sources, a bit of information and a very oddly worded intro: "A man in his early 20s has died after an accident involving a scooter". What? Was he riding it, or not? Was he a pedestrian?

Further down we are forced to assume he was riding, and appeared to have collided with a power pole.

Bizarrely, he may have been travelling with another scooter at the time. So where, pray tell, did they go? And who called the ambulance?

Most odd.

The article could have been tighter, but the comment below it is a classic - sincere, concerned, stating that the law is ridiculous because riding "these things" doesn't need a bike licence whereas young motorcyclists are restricted by tight laws.

Unfortunately, the article didn't say what type of scooter it was, and he may have had a bike licence. The laws restricting beginner riders don't guarantee good training and don't prevent you getting your hands on something quite capable of getting you in serious trouble, and without knowing a lot more about the accident there is no way of telling that any licensing or training would have made a blind bit of difference.

One more, from  September 16 and, yes, the CM again (deep breath): Motorcyclist killed after losing control of bike while overtaking on Bruce Highway at Chevallum (breath out)

I would like to point out that the RSS headline was "Biker killed while overtaking". Sigh.

Ten paragraphs and a call to send in tributes. One other odd quotation mark.

This time, a photo, showing a bike a bit sporty and with considerable rear-end, not front-end, damage, which supports the claim he lost control before hitting the truck, and a spot where I would not have been trying to overtake at all - two lanes and a corner with impaired visibility.

Finally, we have enough eyewitness reports for a decent article - he was seen overtaking other vehicles and "braking heavily" (subjective) before losing control.

Nowhere in the article does it say he hit a truck - just in the photo caption. What the? Wasn't it most likely that impact which killed him, not tumbling along the road?

"Speeding by the motorcycle was a significant factor", Sgt Crowley said. Which seems justified, but he may have been exceeding the speed limit or may have just been overtaking in a stupid manner but inside the speed limit, or may have judged it well then hit a spot of diesel oil on the road.

Also: "was seen overtaking vehicles in the left-bound lane". Left relative to what, exactly?

We finish with some human-interest background profile stuff.

This article was decently written in a very local-paper manner, but it desperately, desperately needed more editing.

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