Riders crashed due to Parks Vic 'inaction'

·1-min read

Two motorbike riders tearing along an Victorian dirt track were left with gruesome injuries after crashing into cables mistakenly left up by a state parks authority.

The men were travelling at 70 to 80km/h along a nature reserve near Portland in Victoria's west in November 2018 when they struck two cable barriers that were suspended across a track.

One required surgery for vertebra and pelvis fractures as well as internal injuries, while his companion suffered a broken collarbone and arm, fractured wrist and torn rib cartilage.

An investigation determined the barriers and attached signage were erected to define seasonal road closures between Queen's Birthday and Melbourne Cup weekends for tracks in the Narrawong Flora Reserve.

But Portland Magistrates Court heard they were not removed in line with Parks Victoria's published reopening dates due to a staff shortage, and there was no inspection regime.

Parks Victoria was this week fined $100,000 without conviction and ordered to pay $3639 in costs after pleading guilty to failing to ensure persons other than employees were not exposed to health or safety risks.

Julie Nielsen, executive director of health and safety at WorkSafe, said the case was a reminder that employers needed to consider public safety.

"This was an obvious hazard that should have been addressed through a safe work procedure and these two men are now dealing with the serious consequences of that inaction," she said in a statement on Thursday.