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Rider Airborne over Damaged Road

Incident reported to authorities

Road hazard on Anakie Road

A Victorian rider who got airborne over a series of potholes, corrugations and ruts on a regional road says the damaged section could kill a rider and their pillion.

Rodney Brown has long campaigned over road repairs and in April last year reported a massive pothole on McGeorge Road, South Gisbourne. To his surprise, the report to Victorian Roads Minister Ben Carroll resulted in a quick fix.

He has again reported the new road problem to the Minister and is awaiting a reply. 

The incident occurred last weekend on a 100km/h stretch of Anakie-Ballan Road.

Rodney says the road has “two gigantic deep ruts, potholes, corrugations and uneven road surface longer than the length of a cricket pitch” taking up most of the lane width.

Rodney Brown Melbourne city
Rodney Brown

“It is a perfect cocktail to kill motorcycle riders and their pillion passengers, especially inexperienced riders, riding in the wet at night and on a scooter with wheels not much bigger than a car steering wheel,”he says.

Rodney says he and his motorcycle went airborne when they hit the damaged section of road. 

“I landed on the bike seat half on and half off, with my right leg coming down missing the foot peg, and my boot slightly scraping the road at 100km/h,” he says.

“My right leg then flew back into the saddlebag. Meanwhile my motorcycle landed back down on the road and veered over to the oncoming traffic lane before I was able to fully get control back. 

“I was very lucky on this occasion not to run into an oncoming vehicle or crash my bike.”

Road hazard on Anakie Road

The issue of damaged and poorly maintained roads is obviously not just relevant to Victoria, but all states and territories, particularly those where recent flooding has ruined many regional roads.

As repair teams grapple with extensive repairs following the floods, riders are advised to exercise caution in these areas.

Rodney says the design of motorcycles and scooters means they have unique dynamic stability characteristics that make them more “sensitive to changes in the shape, texture or skid resistance of the road surface, including the presence of water, potholes, ruts, poor road matching or debris on the road”.

He advises riders to report damaged roads to their local authority for the sake of their fellow riders.

A 2018 British Automobile Association survey found that riders are three times more likely to be involved in crashes caused by potholes and poor road surfaces than any other vehicle type.

It found that while potholes cause damage to cars, they are a greater injury threat to riders as they have to swerve to avoid potholes which can also cause crashes.

A World Health Organization Global status report on road safety 2018 found that the motorcycle road toll could be reduced by improving roads along with other issues such as better speed and alcohol/drug use enforcement, safer motorbikes and mandatory helmet laws.