Black Dog crash raises road worries

Headshot of Shannon Smith
Shannon SmithAlbany Advertiser
The scene of the crash on Chester Pass Road during during the Black Dog Ride on Sunday.
Camera IconThe scene of the crash on Chester Pass Road during during the Black Dog Ride on Sunday. Credit: Pictures: Mike Ball, Mike Ball

The condition of Chester Pass Road is under scrutiny after a three-motorcycle collision during the Black Dog Ride for suicide prevention on Sunday.

The accident occurred during wet conditions on the straight stretch of road near the Churchlane Road intersection in Napier.

The riders escaped without life-threatening injuries.

Fellow riders have commented on the slick and slippery condition of the bitumen along the main route to Albany.

Involved in Sunday’s event was Great Southern Motorcycles dealer principal Mick Ball, who came across the accident immediately after it happened.

He said all riders were aware of the wet conditions and the need to ride appropriately, but the areas of slick bitumen became like glass once they got wet.

The crash happened near the Churchlane Road intersection.
Camera IconThe crash happened near the Churchlane Road intersection. Credit: Mike Ball

He said there was little a rider could do once they hit the slick patch.

“Something has got to be done, otherwise people are going to get killed pretty shortly,” he said.

“It is of terrible concern that these stretches of road continue to be used unrepaired with no warning signs to caution unsuspecting riders and drivers of the dangers.

“It is really like riding on black ice ... you lose all control.

“I myself was victim to a similar piece of bitumen while riding home from work out the front of Wignalls Winery about 18 months ago that almost cost me my life.

“Unless you have had this happen to you or a friend, or seen it yourself, you just think that it looks slippery, but you don’t realise how deadly it is.

“I am just concerned that we are going to lose someone that we know.” About 150 riders were travelling from Mt Barker to Denmark for the Black Dog Ride when the crash happened.

The riders were travelling with a police escort.

A Main Roads spokesman said the agency undertook maintenance and improvement works across the 1600km Great Southern road network throughout the year.

“In excess of $20 million has been spent undertaking significant works on Chester Pass Road in recent years to improve the safety and efficiency of this important link,” he said.

“Main Roads asks all motorists to drive with care in wet conditions, slow down on approach to work sites and to obey all temporary traffic control signage.”

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