We have serious concerns with police and mainstream media reports of “single-vehicle motorcycle crashes” as “rider lost control”.
Such reports are presumptuous as they are released prior to a proper accident investigation and a Coroner’s report.
Today a Yamaha R6 rider went down on Springbrook Rd on the Gold Coast hinterland. The evidence of the crash is in the photos accompanying this article.
We contacted Queensland Police and they said:
Around 8am today a male rider has come off his bike on Springbrook Road at Springbrook. He was transported to the Gold Coast University Hospital with cuts and abrasions. He will be undergoing scans to ensure no other injuries. No further info available at this time.
(We sincerely hope he has a full and speedy recovery.)
Thankfully there was no presumption about losing control or that it was a single-vehicle crash. We would hope our readers would also not presume the crash cause.
Causes of single-vehicle crashes
For a start, it may not even be a single-vehicle crash.
The rider could have come around a corner to be faced with an oncoming vehicle on the wrong side of the road.
That is what is alleged to have happened in this head-on motorcycle crash with a Landcruiser last week near Wiseman’s Ferry, NSW.
Or perhaps the rider came around a blind corner to be faced by a gaggle of cyclists strewn across the road.
So another vehicle or vehicles could have been involved.
However, if they didn’t notice the rider run off the road or simply did a “runner”, it’s not a single-vehicle crash, is it? Yet that is how it is officially classified.
There are many other possible innocent explanations for “single-vehicle crashes” including mechanical failure, gravel, oil spill, stray livestock or wildlife, especially in rural areas.
None of these presumes the rider was at fault.
Concerns for demonised riders
Yet our concerns are that the term “lost control” creates an impression in the public’s mind that riders are reckless or careless.
Statistically, riders are the most likely motorists to be involved in a crash.
However, statistics also show that at least half of all motorcycle crashes involve another vehicle.
And it could be much higher.
We have recently reported on a number of hit-and-run crashes involving motorcycles, so what about those incidents where another vehicle caused the crash, but did not hit the rider?
This sort of scenario is difficult to prove, but if police make reference to the possibility another vehicle or animal is involved, then it is a fairer assessment of a motorcycle crash where the cause is not known.
It would also provide the public with a fairer view of motorcycle crashes and may educate them to look out for vulnerable riders.
Currently, biased and careless police and mainstream media reporting of motorcycle crashes only serve to demonise riders in the eyes of the public.
How can we expect other motorists to look out for riders or be concerned about our vulnerability if they think we are careless or have a death wish?