The accident occurred on a straight stretch of road with relatively unobstructed visibility of oncoming traffic.
It took place after dark, when the headlight of the bike should have been clearly visible. Based on the image below it appears that the bike struck the front passenger door of the vehicle. I would guess that he struck roughly 2 metres from the front of the car.
How long does it take for a car to move forwards 2 metres into the path of an oncoming motorcycle? That is about how much time this rider had to react.
In light of all this, I would have thought that the message from this accident would be clear: cars, look out for bikes. Regardless of what speed the motorcycle was travelling, provided his headlight was on there is no reason why this car would not have seen him.
I honestly would have thought this is a clear wake up call for drivers to look twice for bikes. I would have thought this would be the moment to remind all road users of their responsibility to take care.
Here is what Inspector Martin Tynan said:
"We are in the vicinity of Turner St and Napean Highway in Moorabbin, and the situation tonight is that at about a quarter past nine we've had a motorcycle hit the side of a motor vehicle, and the force of the impact has caused that motor vehicle to flip onto its side. Unfortunate byproduct of it is that is that the motorcyclist has passed away, and we have two people - elderly people - from the car have been taken to hospital.
"I wonder sometimes what more we can do. We are out there, we have police on the road everywhere, we are an enormously visible police presence. The message is going out through every form of media that speed kills, to slow down. The current TAC ads relate specifically to motorcyclists, yet here we are, again, going through this process. It's a very frustrating process for myself and my members, and it's got an enormous impact on everyone: not just the relatives of the deceased, but the whole community suffer from this.
"Look, anyone that rides a motorbike, anyone at all, I implore them to just be aware of where they are, and just slow down."
I am disgusted beyond words that in the same breath as announcing this fatality, that Inspector Tynan has condemned the rider in an accident where the car clearly failed to give way with absolutely tragic consequences.
This commentary justifies the concerns of riders that the "safety message" portrayed in the latest TAC campaign reinforces the anti-rider mentality of blaming the motorcyclist, whatever the circumstances may be.
In the wake of this latest preventable tragedy, I would like for 3 things to take place:
- The immediate suspension or resignation of Inspector Tynan for his grossly inappropriate conduct in blaming and vilifying the victim of last night's accident.
- The immediate retraction of the TAC's "Motorcycle Reconstruction" campaign, and replacing all further airtime and billboard usage either with the Vice Versa campaign from TACs own collection or with Queensland's Out There campaign.
- The immediate appointment of an Ambassador for Motorcycle Safety to the board of the TAC, with discretionary powers to oversee the execution of safety campaigns and initiatives relating to motorcycle safety.
EDIT: I have had it pointed out to me that the amount of force required to tip that Honda CRV is not consistent with the bike travelling at the speed limit. Extrapolating that, it appears I am overly harsh in my assessment of Inspector Tynan's comments. We know that it is difficult to estimate the speed of an oncoming motorcycle, especially at night. We riders don't help ourselves if our speed is above the marked speed. While drivers need to know a gap is safe before pulling out, not assume it is safe, riders too need to take responsibility for themselves. I'll reserve any further comments until the coroner's report reveals the estimated speed of the incident.