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Expect the Unexpected

Expect the Unexpected

The last edition of this column was titled “Living Safety” and contained the ominous words “…a busy (and potentially dangerous) time on our roads, so take extra care and be patient”.

Perhaps I should have added “touch wood”. As I write this I’m feeling a few more aches and pains since the last column. While motorcycling with friends on ANZAC day, as we traversed a short length of dirt road there was a brief shower of rain. The rain combined with an unusually clayey patch of road led to…you guessed it…an undignifying exit from the bike…and the trip, a broken rib or two and a couple of nights in Gladstone hospital.

They say any crash you walk away from is a good one, and I’m making the best of the achy ribs to reflect again on some of those safety principles that are so fundamental for all of us.

I’ve ridden on that patch of road many times without incident. I’ve ridden on dirt, in the rain, many times without incident. However doing something again and again without incident can lead to complacency and perhaps that’s why I didn’t recognize the risk of encountering a much slipperier patch of road.

One of the fundamental principles of managing risk is to be constantly vigilant for the subtle signs that might indicate a change of conditions for the worse and increase the level of risk. The shower of rain should have been a cue for me to slow right down, but I missed it. Fortunately not too much harm done this time, but a good reminder to look out for those cues in the future, and I can assure you I’ll be taking it pretty easy on my next ride.

I hope that by sharing, it can be a reminder for you too, without having to endure the sore ribs!