CRASH SCENE: Andy Meek died in a motorcycle crash near Imbil in October.
CRASH SCENE: Andy Meek died in a motorcycle crash near Imbil in October. Scott Kovacevic

Our road tragedies are rising as rest of Queensland's fall

WHILE the latest road toll figures show deaths on Queensland roads have fallen this year, Gympie remains in a pocket of increasing road fatalities.

The latest data from Queensland Transport and Main Roads shows 58 people have died on roads in the North Coast, Wide Bay and Burnett region this year as of October 31.

That's an increase of seven deaths (13.7%) on last year and two deaths (3.2%) more than the five-year average from 2011 to 2015.

Meanwhile, the state road toll stands at 199, down 2% (four deaths) on last year and down 6.7% (14 deaths) on the five-year average.

RACQ spokeswoman Lauren Ritchie told the Gympie Times accident victims in regional areas like Gympie faced an extra disadvantage.

"In regional Queensland areas, because of the remoteness, when they do have incidents, emergency services have that much further to get to them,” Ms Ritchie said.

"That can sometimes affect the situation, just because of the time factor.

"With crashes, wherever they are, every second counts.”

Figures also paint a grim picture for motorcyclists and pedestrians across the state.

While driver and passenger deaths were down in Queensland (13.1% and 25.6% respectively on last year), motorcycle and pedestrian deaths have had a marked increase.

The state has had 28 pedestrian deaths this year, 11 more than last year, and 49 motorcyclist or pillion rider deaths, up four on last year and nine more than the five-year average.

The Gympie region's motorcycle tragedies this year include the death of Ian Window in April, who collided with a van on Tin Can Bay Rd after the driver failed to see him, and Noosaville man Andy Meek, who died after his bike crashed off an embankment on the Mary Valley Hwy in October.

Ms Ritchie said motorcyclists and pedestrians were more vulnerable to serious injury in a crash.

"Unfortunately, whether you're in the city or whether you're in regional Queensland, if a motorcyclist is involved in a crash, it can be serious a lot of the time because they're so vulnerable,” Ms Ritchie said.

"They don't have the benefit of a roll bar, like a car does, so when they are involved in a crash, the injuries are quite severe.”

Ms Ritchie said to decrease the road toll, all road users needed to take care.

"Every year we want to see the road toll drop, whether that relates to those behind the wheel, on a bike or on foot,” Ms Ritchie said.

"Pedestrians and motorcyclists are some of our most vulnerable road users.

"Pedestrians are susceptible to distractions such as texting, talking on the phone and listening to music so it is vital they look before stepping onto the road.”

RACQ LifeFlight critical care doctor Matthew Mulkeen said the helicopter service had been to four serious motorcycle crashes in the past week alone.

"The extent of injuries to bike riders can be horrific and in many cases they're severely injured when we arrive on the scene,” Dr Mulkeen said.

"Sadly many patients pass away at the scene or in hospital soon after a motorcycle crash.

"If they do survive often the injuries are life threatening or life changing.”

Gympie Times

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