Monday, 29 November 2010

Motorbike accidents in the media - part 19

Well, gawd. When I promised to examine all media reports of motorcycle accidents that came my way, I had wondered if I'd be able to keep it up all year.

I hadn't realised that my free time wouldn't match my obligations. Since handing in my thesis, I've had what feels like less time to blog or anything else.

Two three-day weekends away, a bike rally and a romantic jaunt with my fabulous girlfriend for my birthday, helped.

But, seriously, how did I get this far behind?

Going back to November 2: Motorcyclist killed at Dayboro after his bike collided with a car (Courier Mail)

One day these headlines will kill me.

I can only think of two explanations for why journalists and editors use "the vehicle did" instead of "the driver did", and they are: Tiptoeing around offending anyone by blaming someone's death on themselves, and; avoiding legal complications by not attributing blame.

I am really going to have to investigate that one further.

This article is five paragraphs long, the lead paragraph is uselessly short, and there is a weird combination of the definite ("was thrown... near a bend... just after...") and the uncertain ("It is believed he was found..."). Huh?

The driver was still being treated at the scene, which suggests after massive shock or a major accident to cause injuries to the occupant of a cage as well as the rider.

The ABC also covered this same accident: Motorcyclist killed near Brisbane

A headline which is, if anything, a little short.

Three paragraphs, hardly justifying a byline, and the lead quite comprehensive.

Then there's the final paragraph: "The driver of the four-wheel-drive was not injured."

Huh? So what was he being treated for in the CM story?

From November 4, from the CM: Man killed in moped crash near Cooktown was wearing a helmet

It appeared in my RSS fees as "Helmet no help in moped death".

What. The. Fuck?

The headline on the site is pointless - it's law we wear helmets. So what? The headline I got in my RSS feeds, sitting there quietly grinning at me even today, is just stupid. What was going through the mind of the editor who wrote either one? Libertarian anti-helmet sentiments, perhaps? Nothing, maybe?

Then, in the lead paragraph: "... was wearing a helmet at the time, say police."

Facepalm. Oh, very facepalm.

He was from Victoria, probably lost control on loose gravel, which is very easy to do, and then a final paragraph about the road toll for the year.

I can only assume that the useless commentary on the helmet was a desperate attempt to bulk out the article. There was no actual point for it.

Now, there are two big solid article I want to address in a separate post, so one more:

From November 5, from ABC News: Motorcyclist jailed after high-speed race

The opening paragraph mentions crashing "into a truck driver", which raises eyebrows until you get to the fifth of six paragraphs, which says two riders veered into a breakdown lane where one struck a truck driver, who was presumably outside his vehicle at the time.

This article seems to have passed through a higher degree of editing - it's crisp, and linear.

I will just point out one piece of civilian hyperbole: "it was like being passed by two F-111's."

F-111's? The fastest road bikes, without and even with serious modifications, are capable of about 300km/h. The Japanese manufacturers have a hand-shake agreement with their government to fit limiters, to 299km/h.

I'm pretty sure an F-111 pilot would have to struggle to get down to any speed that low.

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