Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Heathcote motorcyclist back on the bike

Carl Propsting is back on his motorbike, 15 years after almost losing his life on one.

January 31, 2013 4:51am

Carl Propsting is back on his motorbike, 15 years after almost losing his life on one.

Heathcote motorcycle enthusiast Carl Propsting knew he would get back on a motorcycle one day — it just took 15 years for him to do it.

Mr Propsting was travelling on Costerfield Rd on his motorcycle in 1998 when he hit a kangaroo at 100km/h and came off his motorbike.

‘‘I was only wearing trackie pants and a flannelette shirt with no gloves,’’ Mr Propsting said.

‘‘I came off, bounced down the road for about 200m, both elbows were down to the bone, both thumb nails were ripped off, I lost the skin off the palms of my hands and had grazing on both shoulder blades.

‘‘But the most painful injury was a graze on my bum, it hurt for days.’’

Mr Propsting’s confidence was shattered by the accident and though he always wanted to get back on a motorcycle, it took 15 years before he felt ready.

‘‘I decided to purchase my Harley from Harley Central in Bendigo in September after many years of wanting to ride again and, I suppose, being a wee bit older and wiser, thought it was time,’’ he said.

‘‘Eight and a half thousand kilometres later, she still feels like I only got her yesterday; I love riding it.

‘‘A person riding a motorbike knows why dogs put their heads out the window — it’s an unreal feeling.’’

Mr Propsting said he had learned his lesson from his accident and now always wore full riding leathers, including gloves when riding long trips, though on hot days he sometimes went without a jacket for short trips.

Riding in the country came with its own unique dangers and Mr Propsting urged young or inexperienced riders to take responsibility for their own safety on the road.

‘‘Always be aware of wildlife. Last week on my way to Bendigo there was an emu running along the Northern Hwy, and you can’t predict what they’re going to do,’’ he said.

‘‘Birds are the biggest threat, but in saying that I have had two close shaves with drivers pulling out in front of me, but the good thing is the bike has ABS brakes so it stops on a dime.

‘‘Some people are still not aware of bikes on the road, though most are, so that makes me feel fairly safe.

‘‘It’s also up to the rider to be aware of what’s going on around them.’’

Mr Propsting said the proposed filtering law that will allow motorcycle riders to move to the front of stationary traffic, like at traffic lights, was a good idea as it moved the rider away from the traffic.

‘‘But I think the main thing for young riders to remember is to take notice of other vehicles on the road and definitely do a defensive riding course because it might just save your life,’’ Mr Propsting said.

Bronwyn Beyers

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