Rider crashes in unsigned patch roadworks

Lionel Cook crashes in unsigned roadworks

Hervey Bay rider Lionel Cook says there were no roadworks warning signs visible when he crashed on patch repairs that left gravel across the road.

While major roadworks often have warning signs for several days after roadworks are completed, “low-impact” patch roadworks on rural roads only have signage while the work is in progress.

So, when Lionel rounded a bend on the Mary Valley Rd on the Sunshine Coast hinterland, he was not expecting loose gravel.

“There were no signs, no indication that they had done any work. There was no reason to slow down,” he says from his bed in Kawana Hospital.

Lionel says he was only two hours into a four-day ride from Hervey Bay to Killarney on his KTM 1190 Adventure R when he hit the skids in the loose gravel.

Lionel Cook crashes in unsigned roadworks
Lionel’s KTM before the crash

“I’ve gone into the right hander and the bike started to slide.

“The bike started to slide around but I had it under control. It was only when I hit the clean bitumen with the bike still out of shape that the tyres gripped and high-sided me.

“I honestly thought I had it until I hit the clean bitumen.”

The 54-year-old says he is an experienced adventure rider, having ridden more than 40 years at club level road and enduro level.

“I’ve had my fair share of offs but nothing like this,” he says.

“There was just a sprinkling of gravel over the road, not the gravel you get from cars cutting the corner and dragging it on to the road.

“I tried to stand up but fell over on my broken ankle.

“I rang 000 and then waved down a truck driver who gave me some video footage.”

The grainy video shows several patch repairs to mend broken road edges and potholes.

Lesson to learn

A Transport and Main Roads spokesperson confirmed they had conducted routine maintenance – minor pothole repairs – on the road they day before the crash.

“In line with TMR signage guidelines, signs were in place during the work and removed once repairs were finished,” he says.

He referred to the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices which indicates signage is only required during “low-impact” roadworks on sealed rural roads.

It’s a good lesson for riders to be wary if they see any patch repairs as there could be more up ahead as well as loose gravel, even if there are no warning signs.Lionel Cook crashes in unsigned roadworks

However, Lionel says he did not see any patches of roadworks before he hit the skids.

He says he is now out of hospital and “on the slow road to recovery”.

Can you sue for crashes in dodgy roadworks?

5 Comments

  1. As a Northern Rivers rider I am well used to sloppy clean up habits of road repair crews, having had several close calls in the past twelve months. Recent resurfacing on Tweed Valley Way left loose gravel all over the road for four or five days until it was cleaned up in prep for the paint crew to replace centre lines etc.
    In my opinion the creation this kind of hazard is nothing short of negligence on the part of contractors and those who oversee their work.
    Unfortunately it will probably take action through the courts after some poor unfortunate has come to grief to get the attention of officials responsible, and then only if a substantial financial penalty is imposed.

  2. I was one of the guys who stopped for Lionel that day. The roadworks were actually on the other side of the road, on a left hand bend travelling north. Clearly an excessive amount of loose gravel had been left on the repair work and traffic had thrown that to the other side of the road to catch out the traffic on the right hand bend travelling south as was Lionel. On the right hand bend there was loose gravel between the two wheel tracks and several cms. of gravel on the edge of the road. There was a line of “skid” mark down the middle of the lane which I assume was of Lionel’s making.I tried to get the police to look at it when they arrived but the seemed uninterested and said it was a council matter. I don’t know whether they took a look after I left. At that time Lionel was in the ambulance and there was nothing more for me and I continued my ride

    1. G’day Hookey, thanks for stopping and making an effort to get the Police’s attention. I have not seen the Police report but from what you have said, they will most likely put the cause down to rider error ignoring the road conditions. Mark Hinchliffe received a response from the TMR in regards to his inquirers, confirming that roadwork had been performed the previous day. In regards to signage of road works the TMR responded that TMR policy had been adhered to. So by their own policy, they exonerate themselves from any liability. I’m sure with unlimited funds we/I could pursue this in court and receive fair compensation but as it stands after consultation with solicitors, I have to rollover and cop it sweet. To be honest, I’m pretty bitter about the whole thing, more so because it could of been avoided by simply being signed. But as there is not much I can do about the past, I must move forward into the future and stay positive.

  3. Is it really too much to get councils and state roads authorities to ensure that contractors sweep away the excess gravel after it has been rolled? I’m not a big fan of legal action, but there needs to be some kind of class action in this kind of case – not for the compo, although this bloke should be entitled IMO, but simply to force the relevant authorities to make things safe. When a job is finished it needs to be made safe for ALL road users, simple as that! Anything less is negligence.

    1. Exactly what I was going to say. How hard would it be to clear the road of debris. I know the labourers who work behind my hubby’s crew have to blower vac everything off the road surface before it’s okay for live traffic. It wouldn’t take that long for patch repairs to do the same.

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