Crash widow urges road care
Widow Kate Woodland, number at the loss of her husban in a bike crash. Picture: Sharon Smith/The West Australian

When Michael Woodland posted online on March 22 about the eight people who had died on WA roads in the previous week, no one could have ever predicted he would soon join that horrific road toll.

This weekend Petty Officer Woodland and his wife Kate should have been embarking on their next exciting adventure, spending four months overseas and then moving to Sydney for the 50-year-old to take up a new position with the Royal Australia Navy.

Instead, Mrs Woodland is preparing to fly home to Britain with her husband's ashes after he was killed in a motorcycle accident at Secret Harbour on March 27.

His death was the result of a split-second decision by a 20-year-old Secret Harbour man, who allegedly failed to give way at the intersection of Mandurah Road and Surf Road.

Major crash investigators will charge the 20-year-old with dangerous driving occasioning death over the accident.

On the eve of what is statistically one of the most dangerous driving weekends in the year, Mrs Woodland is asking WA road users to be safe on our roads so another family doesn't have to experience the heartache her family is going through.

"I'm angry at what I've lost," she said. "I'm sad because we've lost our future, I just feel numb to be quite honest."

Mrs Woodland said knowing her husband had posted online about the number of deaths on WA roads just days before his accident inspired her to push for road users to take care and in particular to watch for motorcycles.

"I've seen roadside memorials for people who have had accidents . . . but I just feel that I don't want a cross on the side of the road," Mrs Woodland said.

"I want to have a "think bike" sign at junctions - if somebody can look at that sign and take an extra look or take five more seconds before they pull out across a junction it might save somebody else's life."

Police Commissioner Karl O'Callaghan launched Operation Crossroads yesterday and said he feared road users would again ignore causal factors they could control - speeding, seatbelts, alcohol and drugs, distraction, inattention and fatigue.

Six new unmarked motorcycles will join the traffic enforcement effort permanently from this Easter after a trial in December that caught more than 1400 motorists talking or texting on their phones.

"There are no new strategies really to stop people from killing themselves on the road," he said.

"In the end, the best progress we can make is drivers in WA taking responsibility and thinking about their driving this Easter."

St John Ambulance area manager of metropolitan operations Greg Crellin said last year they dealt with more than 50 motor vehicle accidents over Easter.

"Many people are intent on getting to their destination to relax but it's important to remember that the holiday starts with the car trip and motorists should not be complacent with the initial trip or the return journey," he said. "They need to check that their car and driver are in good condition.

"People don't think about the long-term effect of their decision. They don't realise their split- second decision can change their lives for ever and that's what we see with road trauma."

The West Australian

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