A council’s failure to fix thin bitumen in parking bays that caused a parked motorcycle to fall over could cost them if other bikes suffer the same fate.
Toowoomba tiding trainer Tony Gallagher says although council has dodged paying him compensation, they are now aware of the problem and may not be able to dodge other similar future claims.
Tony told us in June that he watched as his parked 2001 Kawasaki ZRX1200R sank into thin bitumen and fall over in Crows Nest’s main street parking bays.
The incident caused about $1700 in damage to his bike that he uses in his business and ruined his $600 Shoei helmet.
Despite offering to do the repairs himself at a moderate cost, Toowoomba Regional Council insurance officer Josie Hooper told him council is not liable for compensation.
Her letters says their investigations found that council was unaware of “the specific characteristic of the road and/or car park you say caused the damage to the motorcycle”.
“Under Section 37 of the Civil Liability Act, a road authority such as Council cannot be held liable for claims that arise out of alleged lack of maintenance, repair, or inspection of a road if, at the time of the damage, the road authority was unaware of the defect which allegedly caused the damage,” she wrote in an official letter to Tony two months after his complaint.
Now Tony has taken to Facebook to publish a video railing against council’s “corruption” and lack of accountability.
Parkings not fixed
In the eight-minute video, Tony points out that although the hole has been patched, council has not done anything to rectify the problem of the thin bitumen in the parking bays.
He says that now council is “fully aware” of the problem they will be liable to pay compensation to any rider who suffers the same fate.
Tony’s bike was parked in a car parking bay, not one of the 16 special motorcycle bands allocated when Crows Nest became a Queensland’s second motorcycle friendly town in 2017.
Tony says council needs to take more responsibility for their facilities.
“It is not unreasonable to be able to park your motorcycle safely in a town that is motorcycle friendly,” he says.
Crows Nest Motorcycle Friendly Town spokesman Ron Anderson told us he is not aware of any other motorcycles falling over in parking bays in town.
Fall from grace
“The bike was parked for at least 10 minutes, maybe 15, before falling over. I saw it fall over,” Tony told us in June.
“The bitumen beneath the sidestand failed and the stand sunk into the ground several inches.”
He says witnesses can prove his bike did not roll off the stand and was parked facing uphill.
Tony contacted council who patched the hole before he left town on the day.
“The staff member who did the repair apologised to me,” Tony says.
“I would argue that they could have reasonably known that there was a fault with the road surface as there have been issues with the adjoining footpath and kerbing.
“As TRC are fully aware of these issues, the quality of the road surface where vehicles park should have been investigated and rectified prior to this incident. As such TRC have breached their duty of care.
“I went back the following Monday on my GPZ and noticed parking bays further up the hill are decaying — not obvious in the park I was in.”
The incident occurred on a mild April day, so there was no problem with melting tar.
He returned to the site in June and said there was moisture coming from the patched repair.
Tony says the bitumen is about 10mm thick with mud underneath and suspects an underground water problem.
Many riders put down a squashed soft drink can or some other sort of “puck-style” item for their stand on soft ground.
However, riders would not reasonably be expected to use one on an asphalt surface.
TRC says riders can report road damage to Customer Service on 131 872. Customer Service will create a ticket in the system to have the incident investigated by the relevant team in Council.