Community & Business

7 March, 2024

Liam's on the road to recovery

LOCAL motorbike rider Liam Ritchie is on the path to recovery after an accident on his Harley Davidson that left him with multiple broken bones.

Liam's on the road to recovery - feature photo

The Tolga-based disability worker was on a reconnaissance ride with fellow members of the Red Dirt Motorcycle Club, preparing for a charity journey across the Atherton Tablelands.

“We figured we’d do the smart thing and go and check out the road route and see what condition it was in after all the rains, including any dangerous potholes,’ Liam said.

“Unfortunately, I found a dangerous pothole.”

Cruising approximately 15-20km/h under the speed limit between Millaa Millaa and Malanda, Liam’s Harley Davidson struck a deep hole in the highway.

“It kind of launched the motorbike,” Liam said.

“I managed to keep a bit of control of it, but it hit the pothole that hard, that it bent the rim and popped the tyre.

“So, when the wheel spun around to the brake callipers, the whole front end locked up.

“The last thing I remember is bailing off to the left, onto the grass, and my body just went into shutdown mode.

“I rag-dolled on the ground, and eventually came to. One of the lads I was riding with, was carrying out a first aid response.”

Liam was rushed to Atherton Hospital’s Emergency Department, where his injuries were tallied by clinicians.

“I ended up with a fractured wrist, an obliterated clavicle – it’s in about four pieces, four cracked ribs, a nicked lung, and a minor fracture on one of my lower vertebrae” he said.

“Apart from that, I’m still here. Both me and the bike got off a lot better than it could have been, if I hadn’t have had mates trained in first aid riding with me, and all my leathers.

“I always wear a leather jacket, jeans, boots. You have to always ride for the slide.”

Liam was transported from Atherton to Cairns Hospital, where he received further care and treatment from a multidisciplinary team in the hospital’s Surgical Orthopaedic Assessment Unit.

He is now looking at six to eight weeks for his fractures to heal, and to undertake physiotherapy on his left shoulder.

“I’ve been stoked with the care I’ve received at Cairns and Atherton hospitals,” he said.

“Everyone’s been very thorough, very professional. At this stage, my treating team is very happy with how I’ve gone.

“I’ve been getting up and about and trying to maintain that positive attitude.

“There could have been loss of life, but I’m counting myself lucky that my natural instincts kicked in on the road, and that all my mates know first aid.”


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