A British man facing multiple charges involving a fatal crash with two motorcycles on Sunday was an unlicensed driver in a rental car.
Graham Belcher, 52, of Britain, was arrested at Brisbane International Airport yesterday (Tuesday 3 September 2019) at 2am as he was about to board a flight to Hong Kong.
He will appear in Tweed Heads Local Court today.
NSW Police will allege his rental car was involved in the crash at the intersection of Riverside Drive and Tweed Valley Way in Tumbulgum (pictured above) near Tweed Heads, about 3.20pm on Sunday.
A male rider died at the scene and the other male rider was taken to Tweed Heads Hospital with minor injuries.
The driver of the vehicle failed to stop.
NSW Police have successfully applied for his extradition in Brisbane Magistrates Court yesterday.
He will appear in Tweed Heads Local Court this morning charged with an outstanding warrant, as well as:
dangerous driving occasioning death – drive manner dangerous;
fail to stop and assist after vehicle impact causing death;
negligent driving (occasioning death);
cause bodily harm by misconduct in charge of motor vehicle;
drive while licence cancelled;
not give way to vehicle (give way sign/line); and
driver fails/refuses to disclose his identity.
He is expected to be remanded in custody to appear at a later date for a hearing.
His arrest was a joint operation involving the Crash Investigation Unit, Traffic and Highway Patrol Command, Tweed Byron Police District officers, Australian Federal Police, Australian Border Force and Queensland Police.
Police had appealed for the public’s assistance to locate the Hyundai with Queensland registration 170-ZCP.
It was found late yesterday in Terranora and seized for examination.
Inquiries into the events leading up to the crash are continuing.
Anyone with information about this incident is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000 or https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au. Information is treated in strict confidence. The public is reminded not to report crime via NSW Police social media pages.
Our condolences to the deceased rider’s family and friends and our best wishes to the other rider for a quick and full recovery.
A 27-year-old male rider from Jimboomba, south of Brisbane, has died in a collision with a car allegedly turning across his path.
The accident happened at 10am today (27 April, 2019) in Park Ridge.
Queensland Police say their preliminary inquiries indicate the motorcycle was travelling south on Chambers Flat Road when he collided with a car turning into Isla Street.
The rider was pronounced dead at the scene.
The 39-year-old female driver was transported to Logan Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
Forensic Crash Unit is investigating.
If you have information for police, contact Policelink on 131 444 or provide information using the online form 24hrs per day.
You can report information about crime anonymously to Crime Stoppers, a registered charity and community volunteer organisation, by calling 1800 333 000 or via crimestoppersqld.com.au 24hrs per day.
Quote this reference number: QP1900820339
Our sincere condolences to the rider’s family and friends.
While we do not know who was to blame for the incident, we have decided to re-publish the article below as most accidents involving motorcycles and other vehicles occur when the other vehicle is turning across their path.
The result can be lethal as the rider hits the car in a t-bone fashion, rather than a glancing blow.
There are a number of scenarios of turning-vehicle crashes where the rider is completely blameless and others where they are at partial or complete fault.
But in the end, it doesn’t matter whose fault it is if the rider is dead.
Most common turning crashes
These are the four most common crash situations where the other motorist is turning, often without looking for motorcycles:
Oncoming driver turns across the rider’s path to enter a property or side street;
Vehicle pulls out of a side street into the path of the motorcycle;
Motorist pulls over to perform a u-turn without looking; and
A vehicle in front suddenly turns without indicating just as a rider is overtaking them.
Look for these signs
We all know drivers don’t look for motorcyclists for a variety of reasons.
If an approaching vehicle has its indicators on, assume they may turn without giving way to you and look for movement of the wheels and the driver’s head turning;
Be suspicious of all vehicles coming out of side streets (left or right) and again check their wheels and the driver’s head to see if they have seen you;
Treat any vehicle that pulls over as a possible u-turn or at least that they will suddenly open their door and step out in front of you; and
If the vehicle in front suddenly slows, don’t take the opportunity to pass them. Be cautious that they could be about to make a turn, even if they haven’t indicated.
How to avoid SMIDSY crashes
In all the above four situations, slow down and be prepared to take some sort of evasive action, looking for a possible escape route.
If the driver is on a side street or oncoming, try to make eye contact with them.
Make yourself seen by moving in your lane.
You can also alert drivers to your presence by blowing your horn or flashing your lights, although these may be illegal in some jurisdictions and could give the false message that you are letting them cross your path.
A driver who crossed double white lines and killed a teenage motorcyclist was charged with a traffic offence rather than manslaughter in an investigation marred by police bias.
A Northern Territory Coronial Inquest has been told police took five weeks to interview the female driver of the Subaru wagon that hit 16-year-old Xavier Lengyal’s bike just 200m from his home.
Xavier’s family told the Coronial Inquest that police treated the crash investigation as their son’s fault.
“Our family was left feeling like idiots and completely unjustified with the impression of guilt, due to being pushed away and the sense of Xavier’s investigation being swept under the rug,” Xavier’s father, Asher Lengyal, said.
Senior police admitted bias in the investigation in which they also took “an inordinate amount of time” to take witness statements.
NT Police only charged the driver with crossing double white lines rather than unintentional vehicular manslaughter.
The former is a traffic offence that carries a $263 fine and two demerit points in the NT while the latter can result in up to six months’ jail.
Police say there is a flaw in NT law preventing driver Maxine Holden from being charged with anything further at the time.
Bias of rider guilty
Motorcycle Council of NSW chairman Steve Pearce fears that police bias against riders could be more widespread than just the NT Police.
“It’s almost like the reversal of the law of natural justice; that riders are guilty until proven innocent,” he says.
NT Assistant Commissioner Narelle Beer told the coronial inquest they had since made “major changes” to their Major Crash unit.
They include a joint management team and a superintendent dedicated to overseeing Major Crash.
Steve says speed is often cited as the biggest killer on our roads because of a lack of expertise among police accident investigators.
“Are investigators using speed as a catch-all reason for motorcycle accidents?” he asks.
Police accident investigators are also in a conflict of interest as they are responsible for prosecuting motorists.
“Therefore, they are only looking for offences committed, not the cause of the crash,” he says.
“We need to look for world’s best practice in this area.”
There is concern that police and media jumping to conclusions and blaming motorcyclists for crashes could lead to viewing riders not as vulnerable road users, but as “temporary Australians” with a death wish.
Based on police accident investigations, most Australian statistics seem to show that speed is the biggest killer.
For example, the NSW Motorcycle Safety Action Plan 2017-2019 says “inappropriate speed” is a contributing factor in 54% of motorcycle fatal crashes and 28% of motorcycle serious injury crashes.
It’s more likely less than 10% based on two significant studies in the UK and USA.
The British Transport Laboratory found that less than 8% of all road crashes were caused by exceeding speed limits and the 2005 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s long-term Naturalistic Driving Study said it was just 7%.
Both studies found driver inattention was the biggest killer. The US study said it was as high as 80%, yet NSW road authorities say it is only 25%, based on inadequate police crash investigations.
That’s almost double the figure the US study said was due to speed.
Steve says speed is too often cited as the biggest cause of single motorcycle accidents when there are plenty of other factors involved.
“Other factors unique to motorcycling such as the impact of road conditions, weather, bike setup, rider experience, rider familiarity with their motorcycle, rider fatigue are too often ignored,” he says.
“If we took crash investigation to the next level, we would be better equipped to determine what factors to employ to educate riders and reduce injuries.”
However, Police say they will not just target motorcyclists, but all motorists.
“We especially urge motorcyclists and country road users to do everything in their power to make themselves as safe as possible as these groups make up 80 per cent of our lives lost this year,” Assistant Commissioner Leane said.
“Please just slow down and drive to the conditions. It doesn’t take much; plan your journey, don’t drink if you’re going to drive, and take that extra few minutes to drive at a speed that is appropriate to the conditions you are travelling in.”
“All too often we accept fatal crashes as a normal thing that just happens on long weekends.
“Well I am saying one person is too many, let alone the 59 lives lost this year.
“The only acceptable number is zero, so we need the community to assist in ensuring that this weekend is safe for everyone.”