Thursday, 9 December 2010

Motorbike accidents in the media - part 21

Feast your eyes on this one: From November 24 from the Queensland Times, Man caught doing 300 metre wheelie.

That's: Caught on a public road, doing two wheelies, on an unregistered trail bike. It would only have been better if the cop in the unmarked car had been in a marked car.

Seriously, how selfish/stupid (delete by personal preference) do you have to be?

He said he felt he was in control and yes, pulling a stunt like that does demonstrate a considerable level of control, but it also demonstrates a considerable lack of judgement and considerable self-centredness.

I rather like the magistrate's remark: “You’ll be geting a letter from Transport near Christmas – it won’t be a Christmas card.” That spelling mistake was from the original copy, by the way.

Apart from that, a well-written and well-edited article. Also, entertaining for all the wrong reasons.

Same paper, November 27, actual accident: Teen dies after motorbike crash.

Only two things spoil this article, which is concise, clear and fairly complete: "The the" at the beginning of the second paragraph and "he from died from internal injuries" at the end of the third.

The Courier Mail had the story the day before, and ruined it with another classic CM headline: Young man, 18, in a critical condition after his motorbike strikes tree in Blackstone, Ipswich.

In Blackstone? At Blackstone?

Just as I'm beginning to think this was a well-structured, cleanly-written and good article before that headline was put on it, we have "his machine struck a tree". Give me strength.

And then, the QT did a full write up on November 29: Trail bike rider dies

This article says "bushland near Blackstone". The CM article named a street. I'm guessing the CM, as first cab off the rank, was given incorrect, preliminary information.

We have extensive quotes from a police officer, and for once they don't come across as patronising or just plain bloody stupid - they are, in fact, fair, reasonable, sensible and intelligent. Makes a nice change.

But then, having mentioned safety equipment in quotes - it is not known whether safety equipment played a factor in the crash at the weekend.

I'm inclined to think that when reporting a specific accident you should make your quotes relevant to that accident. Don't confuse the readers and risk giving them a false impression.

Other than that, it's a good article.

From the Courier Mail, November 27: Man dies as motorcycle hits power pole at Bowen.

The RSS headline for this was (at least initially) "Motorcyclist dies in crash", which is about as news-worthy and informative as "Advocates criticise spending".

So... the rider died? An onlooker died? Somebody completely unrelated to the event died?

"Smashed into" a pole, which is unnecessary use of language, then "passerby stumbled upon the scene", which always sounds as though he tripped over it before noticing it was there.

A lovely use of quotes for "failed to negotiate", and then another unnecessary verb - slammed - rounds out an overwritten article.

Okay, one more and that's November out of the way:

Courier Mail, November 29: Motorcyclist loses control, killed on Gympie Road Arterial.

At least they didn't say "Motorcycle loses control, kills rider". On the other hand: The correct form seems to be Gympie Arterial Road (incidentally, a quick googling lead me to Snarl, which seems very handy for Brisbanites).

Other than that, there's not really enough here to analyse, although the fourth paragraph, listing the two most recent accidents (both mentioned above) was too long and messed up its punctuation as a result.

Today's theme was: Quirks and failures of final editing (and yes, I'm sure I've made mistakes here. On the other hand - I don't have a second pair of eyes paid to correct them).

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