Man killed walking on highway

Struck out: Debris left at the scene where a man was hit by a truck on the Pacific Highway near Knockrow on Sunday night.
Struck out: Debris left at the scene where a man was hit by a truck on the Pacific Highway near Knockrow on Sunday night. Marc Stapelberg

A BLOOD-STAINED packet of cigarettes, a nightclub docket and pieces of shattered fibreglass are all that mark the place where another life was lost on the Pacific Highway north of Ballina on Sunday night.

A 24-year-old man from Labrador on the Gold Coast was hit by a truck at Knockrow about 100 metres north of Macadamia Castle at 8.40pm as he was walking south in the dark on the northbound side of the highway.

Richmond Local Area Command duty officer, Inspector Bill McKenna, said police believe the man may have stepped too far onto the road and was struck by the rigid-chassis truck that was travelling from Alstonville to Brisbane.

The man was thrown onto the shoulder of the highway sustaining serious head and internal injuries.

The truck driver from West Ballina stopped to assist the man and called police and ambulance, but there was little he could do.

Ambulance duty officer Greg Powell said paramedics responded from Ballina and Lismore and were on the scene within seven minutes of receiving the call.

The man was still conscious when they arrived and was treated at the scene before being transported to Lismore Base Hospital.

His condition declined en route to the hospital and he suffered a trauma-related heart attack.

“Resuscitation attempts were maintained though the victim was declared deceased on arrival at Lismore Base Hospital,” Mr Powell said.

The driver was treated at the scene for shock.

Insp McKenna said it appeared the driver was not at fault and no charges were expected.

He said support had been put in place for the driver.

Tony Gilding, owner of the Macadamia Castle, said he wouldn’t recommend any pedestrians use that section of the Pacific Highway.

He has been lobbying the Roads and Traffic Authority to reduce the speed limit outside his business for some time.

“I’ve written to the RTA requesting the speed limit be reduced to 80km/h along our stretch so it is consistent with the rest of the Tintenbar to Ewingsdale section,” he said.

“It is an 80km/h zone just up the road, and just down the road, and we believe the differing zones are a safety issue in themselves.

“It’s ridiculous that a single lane road with so many driveways has a 100km/h limit. Every day you see people trying to get out with trucks bearing down on them.”

An RTA spokesman said they had reviewed speed limits at Knockrow but he would not say if any changes were planned.

“The RTA is working closely with police as part of its investigation that is ongoing,” he said.

Heavy transport safety advocate Rod Hannifey said people walking along highways at night were a real worry for truck drivers.

“I’ve had it happen to me and it scares the living daylights out of you,” he said.

“Often you can’t see them till the last second and that poor driver will be seeing that in his nightmares for the rest of his life.”

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