Police have released dramatic footage today of brave bike cops leading evacuations during Queensland’s bushfire crisis this week.
The footage shows the cops riding amid swirling embers surrounded by flames as they escort people from their homes on the Sunshine Coast.
With hot and windy conditions returning in the next couple of days, more police and emergency services are expected to be risking their lives in similar situations.
Police have renewed their calls for riders and other motorists to stay away from bushfires for their own sake and the lives of all emergency services workers.
They say motorists “rubbernecking” put emergency workers’ lives at risk as well as the lives and properties of the public.
Riders are reminded it is against the law to disobey a police direction or road closure.
Officers can issue you with an on-the-spot penalty infringement notice or court proceedings.
In some cases, where there is a critical need, a written approval may be given by the department or by Queensland Police to ride through a restricted road use notice sign. This does not include a no entry sign.
While car drivers are at risk in a bushfire crisis, motorcyclists are at greater risk because of their exposure to the flames and embers as shown in the above video.
Bushfires can spread rapidly and even outrun a vulnerable rider, no matter how fast you are riding!
If you find yourself caught in a bushfire area, put your hazard lights on to increase your visibility in the smoke.
Park your bike with the engine off in a clearing or behind a barrier such as a wall or rocky outcrop.
Stay with your bike with the hazards on and wait for police or emergency services.
Sparking a fire
Rural fire services also point out that fires have been sparked by motorcycles in the past.
They say about 40% of all bushfires are accidentally started by humans dropping cigarette butts, campfires, discarding bottles, sparks from machinery and motorcycles.
Most riders who accidentally spark these blazes are off-road and adventure bikes riding in the bush and on forestry tracks.
However, there is also the possibility of fires being started by road bikes if the rider pulls over to the side of the road where they may be long, dry grass.
The bike’s engine, exhaust, or catalytic convertor can be hot enough to set dry grass alight.
When the bushfire crisis is over, riders should rally to the aid of rural areas devastated by the bushfires to spend their much-needed dollars.