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Roadworks crash blame rejected

Crash scene

Authorities have claimed no responsibility for at least one motorcycle crash in unattended roadworks with loose gravel.

Injured rider and civil engineer Simon Miller says that in his professional opinion, the roadworks on the Great Alpine Road where he crashed were not legal.

“The company I work for does pavement design so I know the road was no good,” he says. “There is no roadworks practice that allows you to place loose gravel on the road without an alternative route or appropriate traffic control. I am motivated to bring about change to this sort of practice. I don’t want contractors to do this again.”

Simon crashed his BMW F 800 GS bike over Easter last year while riding with a friend on the Great Alpine Road in Victoria when they encountered more than 70 square metres of crushed rock left by a contractors.

Gravel across the road

“We had noticed a couple of tiny patches where they had placed loose rock on the top, but we continued on because none of it was very substantial,” he says.

“But my last memory was coming around a bend at 85km/h on a 100km/h section and seeing the crushed rock all over the corner. Luckily I had a communicator and yelled out ‘Rock!’ and the bloke behind me was able to stop in time.”

However, Simon was not as lucky, coming down heavily and rolling about 15m from his bike.

He badly injured his arm, clavicle and shoulder, and suffered a major concussion which has resulted in short-term memory loss and up to three months off work.

Simon’s x-rays

“There were one or two signs, but none near the accident zone,” he says.

“The police officer said the accident was 100% caused by the road being in disrepair and my witness said the same thing in an affidavit.”

However, VicRoads didn’t see it that way.

“I submitted information to VicRoads and I received a simple two-line letter back saying they had conducted a thorough investigation and found no fault, but they haven’t supplied the details of their investigations.”

Yet Simon says the police officer at the scene remained for three hours until VicRoads arrived to clean up the loose gravel.

He also says an ambulance officer claimed they had attended a couple of other motorcycle accidents in the region the same day.

Busy day for the ambos

“It shouldn’t ever happen, especially not on the Great Alpine Road which is a major arterial road with countless cars, motorcycles, bicycles going through that site,” Simon says.

“There was a long weekend coming up and they couldn’t be bothered to clean up the gravel.

“Numerous accidents occurred. I just couldn’t believe it.”

Simon says he doesn’t know who the local contractor was and VicRoads has not supplied any further information.

  1. Simons response from vicroads would be a fairly normal letter. He needs either
    a solicitor or pursue it under freedom of information if still no joy there is a right of appeal
    I went through the process with energex, You can beat the bastards but you have to be prepared
    to fight. In my case the foi people were great and gave energex a clip over the ear and told them
    to supply relevant information.
    It took 4 years and a mountain of paperwork but i won

  2. Look, it sucks he crashed and all, but he rides a GS and couldn’t handle a little bit of loose surface?
    When did he crash? I’m pretty sure I went through the same gravel patch.

    1. Thats a wonderful idiotic response to an incredibly important issue, wake up idiot, not every person who rides a motorcycle is a dirt bike champion like you. Its idiots with mouths like you that encourage the government departments to treat people worse and worse. Maybe you could try being a part of the solution rather than part of the problem.

      1. Me, ‘Dirt champion’, lol. I was just pointing out that he was riding a bike designed for gravel and dirt as well as sealed roads. He was literally using the right tool for the job and still managed to stuff it up.

        Everyone is responsible for their own safety when on a motorcycle. I can’t stand people blaming external reasons for falling off their bikes. “The car didn’t see me”, The corner was off camber”, “There was gravel on the road”, “My tyre slid out”. Waahh wahhh waaahhh. It’s whining morons like that who cause government departments to more heavily restrict riding, stricter laws, lower speed limits, more cameras, mandatory protective clothing, mandatory Hi-Viz, etc etc.
        It’s the bleating that attracts the wolves. Take responsibility for yourself.

  3. It just goes to show that our road agencies and repair crews don’t care about road users, especially ones that are vulnerable on two wheels. One moment you’re enjoying yourself, next you’re on the ground wondering what happened.

    A lack of care, attention and acceptance of responsibility, that’s what.

    It doesn’t matter the type of bike that hit the gravel, the gravel should not have been there.

    Our roads, no matter where they are, should be safe for all road users.

  4. I agree. Speak to Maurice Blackburn lawyers who understand riders rights and can push Vicroads. If you are satisfied with a 2 line response thats what everyone else will get too. FoI only costs $27 approx. And you don’t need a lawyer for that.

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