M1 loads blitz after death of Coast motorbike rider
POLICE will swarm the M1 during a three-day traffic blitz targeting a "ridiculous" increase in the occurrence of unsecured loads recently after the death of Gold Coast motorcyclist Craig Ward.
The blitz from Wednesday-Friday as part of Operation Sierra Noella comes on the back of a string of harrowing incidents involving improperly secured loads on the Pacific Motorway.
Merrimac rider Mr Ward was killed on the M1 at Nerang on November 2 after a step ladder reportedly fell from a tradie's vehicle, resulting in a multi-vehicle high-speed crash.
No one has been charged in the wake of the 53-year-old's death, but investigations continue.
An eerily similar incident occurred on November 27, when a motorcyclist collided with metal which fell from a ute on the M1 at Yatala.
The rider kept his bike upright before he jumped clear and avoided more serious harm.
Northern Patrol Group Acting Inspector Andrew Godbold said unsecured loads were increasingly a problem on the M1.
"It's just ridiculous," he said.
"His (Mr Ward's) death is one of the contributing factors for the operation, but it's just an ongoing problem that we have on the M1.
"A lot of these incidents involve tradies going to the local hardware stores or leaving building sites, or stores where they've picked up supplies, throwing stuff in the back and forgetting to secure it.
"This is a timely reminder heading into Christmas for motorists to be safe on our roads."
Act Insp Godbold said motorists often underestimated the dangers - seemingly harmless objects can act as deadly missiles if they come loose at motorway speeds.
"Objects can become very dangerous obstacles on the M1, or even the smaller roads," he said.
Act Insp Godbold was concerned another person would soon be killed if motorists did not properly secure loads.
"I can remember years ago, every load you saw was covered and motorists were doing the right thing," he said.
"I think everyone needs a bit of a reminder to do the right thing again before we have more fatalities.
"I had about six of my officers involved after the (Craig Ward) fatal. They were subject to it and it's certainly not nice.
"It's absolutely terrible for the families, friends and the officers who have to attend. I've had to remind my people if they've been (to a fatal incident) the night before that they should get another person to take over the next one."
Act Insp Godbold said the blitz involving officers from Coomera, Mudgeeraba and Nerang would include educating some drivers.
The blitz does not only target tradies and truck drivers but all roads users, who may transport household goods and other items from time to time.
Act Insp Godbold warned motorists, to double check loads before they got behind the wheel, especially if someone else has loaded it for them.
Operation Sierra Noella, the Queensland Police Service Christmas road safety enforcement campaign, runs from December 9-January 29.
It will target general traffic offending, including speeding, drink and drug driving and failing to wear seatbelts.
Originally published as M1 loads blitz after death of Coast motorbike rider