‘It could’ve been fatal’: Couple recall terrifying moment they were hit by a flying wheelie bin

Jim Hill was hit in the chest by a flying wheelie bin that was unrestrained in a ute tray, while travelling 100km/h on his motorbike. Photo: Supplied.

Jim Hill was hit in the chest by a flying wheelie bin that was unrestrained in a ute tray, while travelling 100km/h on his motorbike. Photo: Supplied.

Barbara and Jim Hill jump on their motorbikes and hit the road for a joyride almost every week.

But they will never forget the ride that could’ve claimed Mr Hill’s life on December 3, 2018.

As they headed back toward Mandurah, travelling in a 100km/h zone on Ennis Avenue, the pair were riding behind a ute with an unsecured wheelie bin in the tray.

Mrs Hill said by the time she could see what was about to unfold, it was all too late.

“It was very scary – it was like it was all in slow motion,” she said.

“I was riding behind my husband on my bike and I saw the wheelie bin get lifted by the wind.

“It just flew off the back of the ute, hit the bonnet of the car travelling behind him which then sent it into the path of my husband.

“It hit the front fender and smashed that and then the bin lifted up and hit him on the chest.”

Mrs Hill said her husband was lucky to have controlled his bike throughout the incident.

It was very scary - it was like it was all in slow motion.

Barbara Hill

“He was so lucky not to have come off his bike, thankfully he’s a seasoned rider,” she said.

“If it was me, still being on my L plates, I don’t think I would’ve been as fortunate.

“And if that had been a cyclist or a pedestrian on a different road, it could’ve been fatal.”

Mrs Hill said, to his credit, the driver stopped and paid for the motorcycle to be repaired.

But she said that wouldn’t have been enough if her husband sustained any serious injuries, or worse.

“It was a real reality check,” Mrs Hill said.

“It left us very shaken.

“It was a very near serious accident which was averted fortunately, but so easily might not have been.”

Less than two weeks later, the couple experienced two more incidents of the exact same nature.

When you’re doing 100km/h and you’ve got winds to deal with, it becomes a missile and it’s just waiting for an opportunity to launch itself.

Barbara Hill

“They both involved unrestrained aluminium step ladders which flew off the back of open utes on the Kwinana Freeway,” she said.

“Again, on both accounts, there were no major incidents but they were both very close calls.”

Information on the Main Roads website warns that any load that hasn’t been secured properly can result in a $150 on-the-spot fine or an immediate $200 fine under the Litter Act if items, including sand, soil or debris, come off a vehicle because it is improperly restrained.

Mrs Hill said it was time for the police to get tough on “negligent drivers”.

“The gentleman concerned in our case didn’t even receive a fine and there’s no reason he shouldn’t have – it wasn’t even investigated any further, which is troubling,” she said.

“Even if you look at the infringements that can be imposed, they often aren’t and they’re marginal.

“It’s no wonder that there’s no sense of responsibility by drivers in relation to this.”

But after her and her husband’s experience, she said it’s not something that should be taken lightly.

We’ve all got to take responsibility on the roads.

Barbara Hill.

“Very often people will put things in the back of a vehicle and they think because the item they’re putting in is heavy, it will hold its own weight,” she said.

“But when you’re doing 100km/h and you’ve got winds to deal with, it becomes a missile and it’s just waiting for an opportunity to launch itself.

“You’re endangering other people’s lives.”

Mrs Hill also appealed to other road users who witness unsecure or dangerously strapped loads on vehicles to report them to authorities. 

“Don’t turn a blind eye – just because it isn’t your vehicle because that doesn’t mean it isn’t your problem,” she said.

“We’ve all got to take responsibility on the roads.

“Just lock it up and if you can’t strap it down, don’t carry it.”