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QLD Motorcyclist dead after collision with cow

Discussion in 'Research, Studies, and Data' started by gunissan, Sep 21, 2013.

  1. http://www.weeklytimesnow.com.au/article/2013/09/21/583844_latest-news.html

    A 20-YEAR-OLD north Queensland man has died after his motorcycle collided with a cow, police say.
    The man was riding on the Flinders Highway at Sellheim, about 20km east of Charters Towers, when he collided with the animal about 10.30pm yesterday, police say.
    The 20-year-old Charters Towers man was taken to hospital but later died.

    Sad. Those things are solid.

  2. Alot of cattle and unfenced road on that highway.
  3. We had a case in Victoria where the coroner blamed the motorcycle's unroadworthy head light for the collision between a bike and cow - the crash occurred at 1am-ish on a dark country road. The car immediately behind it also hit a cow and that car had two roadworthy headlights. Wonder how the QLD coroner will treat the case in the report?

    Dark cows on dark roads are hard to see - full stop.
  4. Interesting conclusion, seeing it's an offence to allow stock to wander I believe...
  5. Unfenced paddocks are common once you get more than a few hundred kays away from major population centres. It's simply not feasible for landowners to keep fences up to properties that are the size of some European countries. Unfortunately on those roads, you pay your money and take your chances.
  6. I know a big property owner in this area, a few years ago now someone tried to sue him for damages to their car after hitting and killing one of his cows, that person ended up having to pay him for the loss of his cow.
    A lot of the roads in this area are classed as stock routes and unless the local laws state otherwise the livestock owner is immune from liability.
  7. The cattle often lay down on the roads for warmth, black beast on a blacksoil track is often tough to see even with good driving lights. Bitumen roads are not so bad if you have good lights but unfortunately most bikes just don't have them.

  8. I want to know how they could tell the light was orginally unroadworthy, considering it probably was all smashed up from hitting the cow
  9. The prang gang have a few tricks up their sleeves. Example in this case being, if a filament is hot (because the bulb is illuminated) when the vehicle suffers deceleration consistent with impact to a cow, then the filament will distort because as little weight as the filament has, it will still want to keep moving in the direction it was travelling before the impact occurred. If it's blown, it won't. The filament. Not the cow.
    • Informative Informative x 2
  10. Ive seen signs in Vic, That carry a fine of fine hundred dollars for hitting wandering livestock,
    Please correct me on the wording on these signs,

    Cows have right of way, evidently, By Law,

    It used to be the Farmers Responibility, Not now, They have changed the laws,

    For me, Cows can have all the road they want, A dog put me on the deck, I still carry the scars from that one,

    Took the side out of a sheep running up a dirt road, Killed it, Pure luck, I didnt hit the deck,

    If you hit any animal on a bike, Good chance you wont walk away from it,
    Its exceptionally painfull as well,
  11. No such offence exists, and even if it did:

    If you are jaywalking "offence" does that mean a driver who see's you from a 'mile away' need not take any action to avoid colliding with you? It does not.

    So by the same token, the "offence" (roaming livestock), has no relevance to the conclusion reached by the Court. The "offence" does not automatically absolve the colliding driver of all liability.

    Where livestock are found wondering at large, a referral is made to local laws officers for response. They attend and if animals are still straying during daylight hours, make the roadways safe by putting the animals back on the owner's property or, with approval, on an adjacent property or impound the animals.

    If It is the first occurrence in the last 12 months and the owner is known, the livestock must be returned with no penalty imposed. A compliance notice which sets out the owner's obligations and possible consequences is issued.

    If it is the second occurrence in the last 12 months, the livestock must be returned and an infringement notice issued.

    If it is the second occurrence in the last 3 months, the animals can immediately be impounded and removed to the local council’s nominated impounding facility.

    More so for a dead horse lying on the road.

    Lawes v Nominal Defendant [2007]


    10 July, 2013 9:33AM AEST
    ABC News South West Victoria

    A recent accident near Tower Hill once again highlighted the dangers of livestock wandering on roads when a car was written off after crashing into some cows.

    The incident has raised the question of Moyne shire's penalties for wandering livestock, but as Mayor Jim Doukas told us this morning "at the end of the day no-one does it deliberately ... what's the point in fining someone one thousand or two thousand dollars? It's not going to make any difference after the event."

    "The idea is to make sure your fences are in good condition and to be responsible. After all motorists do have to take care with driving, it's nothing unusual to see cattle grazing in paddocks that front the highway, it's just one of those things that happens when you live in a rural community."


  12. It's surprising how much "punch" a relatively small animal can have. Examples - on one occasion when I was unfortunate enough (well...the bird was the really unfortunate one) to hit a rosella. Poor little bugger smacked me in the right shoulder and left a right nasty bruise. I was travelling at ~90km/h.

    On another occasion, a galah got me pretty much just off-centre of the middle of the chest. Speed when I hit the bird (or did the bird hit me???) was ~100km/h. 2 broken ribs, and docs initially thought a punctured lung. That was after some of the force was absorbed by the bird clipping the side of my screen and breaking it.
  13. Investigators check the filaments. If they are deformed inside the headlight, it indicates the lights were on at the time of the crash.

    Filament glow a dull red colour when you add electricity to them. This makes the filament alot softer compare to when no electricity is applied. When you crash, the filaments stretches in the direction the accident occurred if the lights were on were on prior to the collision. Same applies to tail lights. That is how investigators can determine whether or not you had lights on at the time of an accident.


  14. How about some of the newer LED type lighting. I am looking at getting some for the Weestrom as a set of driving lights. No filaments.

  15. None of that applies in the case I mentioned.

    The back story is that the bike belonged to his mate and he was going to look after it while the mate took a trip. The mate was customising the bike and the head light assembly had been replaced with a skull and two low voltage light fittings as eyes. The lights didn't cast an ADR complying amount of light or beam shape.

    The coroner pinned the crash entirely on the unroadworthy headlight assembly despite the following car crashing into a cow as well. The coroner also failed to consider that the rider had ridden from approx Pakenham to Rosedale along the Princes Hwy at night without incident with the same headlight, an earlier coroner's report into a driver fatality where a car crashed into a runaway racehorse at 5am on a main road - in that case the coroner blamed the trainer, and many incidents nationally of roadworthy vehicles crashing into animals at night.

    Anyway... let's not get too sidetracked... I just raised this case by way of example, interested in what the QLD finding might be.
  16. You're right robsalvv, it is interesting how they can make those kind of judgements when there are those other factors you mentioned (other car, rest of the trip was ok etc).
    • Like Like x 1
  17. Terrible tragedy. We all know in the end "speed" will be a major factor...
  18. That should not be an issue because driving lights are used in conjunction with, not in replacement of headlamps.

    You need to be mindful of the Court you are talking about Rob.

    The Coroners Court is less formal than other courts and is not bound by the laws of evidence (s 62 Coroners Act 2008). It is not a technical or legalistic judicial court. Furthermore, it is not the Coroners role to establish whether a crime or offence has been committed, nor is it his or her role to make judgments about matters of civil liability even though nothing stops the Coroner from doing so. The Coroner makes findings and recommendations only.

  19. it's hardly be the cows fault. this court finds the cow guilty and substances it to chewing the cud. sometimes you just have to take responsibility

    I think i should clarify my statment before I cop it in the back of the neck.
    yes the farmer may be a contributing factor, for not having his anamails fences, and the headlight also contributing. but the rider ran in to and animal that was just standing there. standard prartice is to not ride beyond the point you can stop and see, if that makes sence.
  20. If you're interested only, Rob would be referring to inquest into the death of 35yo mechanic Justin Smith. Rob and others provided their responses of the findings to the Coroner.

    Snr Const Stuart Jones of the Mechanical Investigation Unit inspected the Harley Davidson made a statement:

    The Coroner said:

    "These observations are accepted and adopted in this finding. However, the danger is not limited to farm animals alone. There is always the possibility of encountering native or feral animals. A 100 kilometer per hour impact with, for example, a kangaroo can have disastrous consequences.

    At post mortem, a substantial amount of cannabis was found in Mr Smith's blood, but in the circumstances of his death, I am unable to conclude that it contributed in any way to his failure to see the cattle in time to avoid a collision.

    The primary contributing factor in this tragedy is the use of inadequate and inappropriate motorcycle headlights while riding at night on an unlit country road.


    Pursuant to section 72 of the Coroners Act 2008, I make the following recommendations:-

    (a) That Local Government bodies within Gippsland carry out an audit of the number of signs in the region advising motorists of the possibility of the presence of animals on the road and consider whether an increase in the number of signs is necessary

    (b) That the Motorcycle Riders Association, motor cycle clubs and other organisations associated with the use of motorcycles, reinforce to their members the ever present need to ensure that the lights of their motorcycles comply with the Australian Design Rules as referred to herein and, to ensure that the headlights fitted to their motorcycles ensure proper illumination on (especially) unlit roadways at night.

    Clive Alsop
    Date: 16 October 2012.

    There is no liability for animal owners and no offence is committed by the farmer as noted earlier in the thread. We are after all talking about Queensland, the backward state who are last for everything :p

    12 months ago on 25/09/2012:

    Do livestock have right of way on the roads Justus? I was always led to believe they did

    Governments generally adopt Common Law which states that an animal has right of way over a vehicle on the roadway. This stems back to the old rural environment in England where it was traditional for animals to have right of way. Having said that, this approach has been reversed in legislation for certain instances by Council or Shire by-laws. These by-laws would vary according to the area in which they operate and often differentiate between farm and domestic animals. In areas where the road passes through open range the Common Law applies.eg.

    14. Right of Way

    (1) Travelling livestock (being livestock being driven in accordance with a valid livestock droving permit) have right of way over other stock on a road.

    (2) If a person responsible for livestock on a road is notified of the approach of travelling livestock, the person must move the livestock for which he or she is responsible to an adjoining location or keep them separate from the travelling livestock by means suitable for the purpose.

    First Offence 10 Penalty Units
    Second Offence 20 Penalty Units

    Livestock Local Law 2007
    Ararat Rural City Council

    Civil action against the owner of an animal which has been struck on the road relies on showing that the owner was negligent in the maintenance of fences or other ways in which the animal was restrained to the property and not allowed to roam on the road. By the same token, civil action by the livestock owner against the driver of a vehicle involves showing negligence in the manner the vehicle was driven.

    In some other states there is legislation that controls the movement of animals on all roads and in relation to straying animals which sets the lines of liability, and going back to my court case, if you hit and injure an animal (apart from a bird), you are required by law to do whatever you reasonably can to ease its pain. If it’s not a wild animal then the injury must be reported to the police or the animal’s owner.

    When it comes to Qld, (and I believe NT as well), they still rely on an old common law rule (Searle v Wallbank) for animals straying onto the road or highway, whereby owners will usually be immune from liability in negligence.

    The owner or occupier of land adjoining a highway owes no duty of care to users of the highway for damage caused by straying stock. An owner or occupier does not even have a duty to maintain his or her fences to prevent cattle straying onto the road.

    All other States and the ACT have abolished the rule by legislation.