GARY Lacey is a member of a very small group - motorbike riders who have collided with a cow and survived.
Though it took place 21 years ago, he still suffers the after-effects, and he is sharing his story because he believes more needs to be done to reduce the incidence of serious accidents.
It was a fine Sunday afternoon when Mr Lacey and a mate went for a ride near Emerald. He was on his Suzuki GS 1000 and approached a blind corner with high grass, doing 100kmh.
"There was a group of three cows about 20m in front, and I hit one of 'em," Mr Lacey, who now lives and works in Mackay, said.
"The initial impact I can't remember, but I was told I basically hit the cow dead centre. I went up over the handlebars, bounced off the cow and back onto the bike, still holding on at that stage. I broke my left wrist, my right arm in two places, broke my jaw, and when I came back down onto the bike my leg went through the foot-peg and that pinned me to the bike. I was very lucky to survive."
His ongoing troubles include wrist pain, bone growth in his neck and the replacement of all his top teeth due to stress fractures. He has recently had major spinal surgery which is partly attributable to the accident. He was not eligible for any form of compensation.
Experiences like Mr Lacey's is what drives Road Accident Action Group co-ordinator Graeme Ransley to call for stronger enforcement of local laws.
"His experience shows that the costs of accidents are monumental, and it's really brought home to me when I have family members of accident victims ringing pleading that something needs to be done," Mr Ransley said. "There was another accident involving cattle this week near Home Hill.
"There are penalties for stock owners. The public needs to be advised of them, and they should be enforced as I believe they will act as a deterrent. You've only got to nail somebody once and the message gets out," he said.