Rider has lucky escape in oil spill crash

Oil spill

An 81-year-old rider is counting his blessings after hitting an oil spill and sliding his BMW until the front wheel hung over a precipitous drop into a deep gorge.

Allan Shephard of Brisbane says he was enjoying a midweek ride on his old R 80 RT on the Sunshine Coast hinterland when the frightening incident occurred.

He says he reported the oil spill to the Main Roads Department and was surprised at how quickly they responded to fix the dangerous spill and warn other road users.

How it happened

Mary River Valley a motorcyclist’s haven Harley-Davidson Street Glide Special oil spill
Obi Obi Rd is bitumen uphill and gravel downhill

“I left Mapleton after a pie and coffee at the bakery and approaching the unsealed divided down section on Obi Obi Rd I was being pushed by a four-wheel-drive ute in a hurry,” Allan says.

“I pulled over and let him go, then proceeded fairly slowly down the gravel section.

“Midway down the top section there is a sealed section through some tight down hill corners. On a left-hand turn a bit tight and steep I hit a lengthy oil spill that covered the left hand side of the road all around the corner.

“In the instant I saw it I thought it was water on the road.

“I was under gentle brakes just to steady my speed. The old R 80 had a very quick lie down, losing the front wheel.

“The left crash bar dug in and spun the bike across the road ending with the front wheel hanging over the drop into the gorge below!

“I bumped along behind the bike, covered my left side in oil and severely scratched my new Shoei visor. I said a big ‘bugger’, I think.”

Allan says he was pleased that about 10 vehicles stopped to help.

One woman helped him pull the bike back on to the road and a truckie helped him stand the bike up in a safe place and bandaged his right hand.

Oil spill

Oil spill
Contractors clean oil spill

Allan says that on his ride home he noticed many more streaks of oil all the way to Kenilworth where “the offending vehicle turned towards Imbil”.

Concerned that another rider may not be as lucky as he was, Allan rang 000 to report the spillage.

“The 000 lady was concerned that I was ok and said she would report the hazard,” he says.

“One of the guys who witnessed my fall reported the hazard to the off-duty police officer at Kenilworth.

“He reported to me that he had gone to the Council Depot at Kenilworth to report the hazard and was told that it was not a matter for the council but for the Main Roads Department.”

Main Roads action

Allan says he is pleased to find that Main Roads had a team on site by 3.30pm to deal with the spill and erect warning signs at the top of the range.

“Well done, I would think,” he says.

“I’ve put the Main Roads Traffic Hazard reporting number (13 19 40) in my wallet for future reference.”

A Queensland Transport and Main Roads spokesperson says they “responded immediately” and their maintenance contractor applied an absorbent treatment to the oil.

Hazard warning signs were put in place and a message published on the QLDTraffic website to advise road users of works underway,” the spokesperson says.

We are continuing to monitor the site.

All state-controlled roads are regularly inspected to ensure they are safe and traffickable, however, road conditions can change quickly.

We encourage the public to report safety hazards on the road, so they can be urgently assessed.

We had not received a road hazard report for this location before this incident.”

Report hazards 

Riders are urged to report hazards on roads by contacting the relevant authority.

The problem is that it can be difficult to ascertain whether the road is controlled by a local council or the state department.

If emergency services are required due to a crash with injuries, call 000.

If Triple Zero doesn’t work, call 112. You don’t need credit on your mobile phone to call 000 or 112 as it is free.

Motorcycle Council of NSW secretary Steve Pearce has called for a phone app for riders to record and report road conditions.

Steve Pearce chairman of the Motorcycle Council of NSW Look for motorcyclists in Motorcycle Awareness Month roadside assist ignores compulsory oil spills
Steve Pearce

There are various public, transport department and motorist club apps available.

However, the best advice is to phone the local council (use Google search) or state authority first.

How to report dangerous road conditions

4 Comments

  1. Am noticing a lot of diesel spills around the sunshine coast, looks like overfilled fuel tanks
    Its going to pretty deadly when we get the first rains

  2. Good on Alan for continuing to ride at 81. A bit of caution borne (no doubt) from experience saved the day. A younger, more aggressive rider may have had a different outcome, huh Irwin?

  3. I was coming down the walcha mountain and quite near the Mount Seaview entrance I encountered an oil spill on a right hand corner at 70 ks and things did not go well. I ended up in hospital with five broken ribs and my L1 L2 and L3 vertebrae shattered but still holding together and of course lots and lots of bruising but my MV Agusta 1090rr was written off. I was talking to a friend a few weeks later after I was out of hospital and apparently several other riders went down in the same spot as no one had thought to report it and the police officer investigating put it down to speed even though witnesses told him I wasn’t speeding.

  4. These so called oil spills are actually illegal “dumps”.There’s been a few around the Newcastle area that I’ve noticed in the last couple of years, one in particular I reported on the Newcastle link road and continued on to the M1 for at least 30 km.

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