Friday, 23 April 2010

Motorbike accidents in the media, part the inline-6

Okay, it's been a while and there are some old stories (blame the fact that I had to do things I was a.) getting paid for or b.) getting marked on.)
So, I'm going to be dealing with several stories at once.
And, incidentally, one point before I start: If you make your websites auto-refresh through javascript every couple of minutes, you will go to hell where demons will boil your genitals in molten sugar. See the current for how to do refreshing properly, unintrusively and data-cheaply.
Story 1:
Three paragraphs, not including the headline.
Motocross accident, unconfirmed report that he was completing a jump at a Motocross track, the ambulance service was called and couldn't revive him.
I'm really only covering this story because I intended to do them all - it's short, pithy, completely inoffensive and really only got published because it's a local death.
Story 2:
Another three paragraphs, but slightly different.
Pulled from under car... Emergency services had to use airbags to lift the car... Apparently crashed into a parked car (WTF?)... taken to hospital with minor foot injuries.
First of all: "survives motorcycle crash" has connotations of something serious, not hitting a parked car and receiving minor foot injuries.
And then: Huh??? She hit a parked car and slid under a car? It doesn't say whether it was the same car, it doesn't say whether the car she ended up under was moving, and I'm scratching my head over how she ended up so thoroughly jammed under a car that airbags were needed to lift it.
I can only assume that the emergency services were exhibiting full care in making sure that they didn't tug someone who may have had a spinal injury.
This article is confusing and asks too many questions.
Story 3:
Ten very short paragraphs.
First of all - the headline is misleading. It suggests, to me, multiple crashes. Actually there was one incident with three bikes.
Three riders, all in their 50s, at 7:30am, on Peachester Rd.
Go to google maps and have a look via this direct link. It's a fun-looking rd, isn't it?
And it is. It's one of my all-time favourites, in fact, although I prefer the other way, towards Maleny. It's a road I ride whenever I get the opportunity, but I have a healthy respect for it - dappled light and shade making visibility difficult, the risks of leaves and gravel on the road, blind corners and steep drops, and then of course there's the traffic. And it's the first road I really went hard on, and felt confident doing so.
What really gets me in this story is that all three riders crashed, which leads me to one very sad possibility - they were pushing each other, and ran out of talent/luck pretty much together.
Oil on road? Gravel? Another vehicle on the wrong side of the road? Or they were pushing over the centre line and the other vehicle was unfortunate but blameless? All possibilities.
May I repeat, please:
Ride to your own limits.
Ride to your own limts, not someone else's.
Know what those limits are.
Don't be an idiot.
Oh, one last thing:
I'm going to quibble at "No further detail is known at this time."
"No more detail is" or "No further details are," please.
But, well done for pointing that out, and not leaving us to assume that you've just been lazy.
Story 3:
Motorcyclist killed in Springfield (Queensland Times - QT)
Single vehicle accident... Near an intersection... Head injuries and dead at the scene.
So: No details of cause, but near an intersection. 3.30pm, so traffic heavy.
I'm going to suggest that the likelihood of stupidity and evasive-action-gone-wrong are roughly equal.
There should have been witnesses. I would be interested in knowing what the police concluded.
Story 4:
Hey, it's... Hang on...
It's the same story!
Yes, Stories 3 and 4 are clearly the same. Despite the different suburbs mentioned in the title, a quick look at a map will reveal that the particular intersection under mention is much closer to Forest Lake than it is to Springfield Lakes.
Unfortunately, in this instance, the QT, where I spent two productive and useful weeks as an intern, is looking pretty poor.
The CM article has only two extra paragraphs, but much more detail, including traffic delays, age of the rider, and more (but not many) details of what he was doing.
Frustratingly, anything which would confirm or deny options for how the poor bastard died is once again denied to us. "Lost control" is all very well, but poor judgment, idiocy and having to swerve to avoid any other idiot are all still perfectly valid options.
Frustrating, but a better article here.
Story 5:
Okay, this is a, um, strange one and not really the same...
Man hit by spear while riding scooter (
What. The. Fuck?
Believed to have been hit by a spear... Leg wound... 12.45am... Victim said he saw men running away from the scene.
Okay, I'm going to go with: There are some dangerous idiots out there, who need to be locked up for their own protection before they accidentally annoy someone who makes them pay for it.
Moving on, please.
Story 6:
Okay, the headline is a bit weird - it almost sounds as though the motorcyclist became trapped under the truck, which kept on going, and then the truck crashed and the motorcyclist died.
Which, frankly, is possible.
Motorcyclist collided with truck... Emergency services found him trapped under track...
And then the rest of the article is about the Queensland road toll, and mentions other accidents. And a little note that fewer people have died than at the same time last year.
Not even "died on scene."
Oh, now, come on, were you really making an effort? "He hit truck. He was found under truck. In other news..."
Piss off.
Story 7:
Incidentally, it has to be "ABC News Online" because "ABC" is the American one, because we're on the Internet. Which is American. Despite having been essentially created by a brit.
Okay, we have a composite wrap-up stype article.
The relevant bit is in paragraphs two to five out of 10.
Motorcyclist hit truck, Friday morning. Location. Died. Truck driver was not injured.
Now, first of all: Tell me something I don't know. A bike hit a truck, and the truck driver wasn't hurt? That's pretty much equivalent to saying a Chinese demonstrator punched a tank and the tank driver wasn't hurt.
But, moving on, it appears to be the same accident as Story 6 above.
I haven't been telling you dates, but trust me, it's the same date, road, and time.
So, did the ABC reporter do any better? Sadly, not really.
She wrote "collided with the truck", but didn't say whether this was the official police line, or an eyewitness account, or shorthand for "They hit. This uses fewer words than "the motorcyclist and a truck collided".
All but useless.
Short news stories are really, really annoying because the journalist isn't given the time, space or care factor to investigate. But there really should have been more comments along the lines of "Police are investigating..." "Further details are not available at this time..."
Overall, I'm a little disappointed.
At the very least, have a pro-forma that makes this easier!

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