Motorcyclist travelling through WA praises ‘amazing’ truckies

A motorcyclist travelling solo from Broome to Darwin has told Big Rigs that she is “so impressed” by the attitude of truck drivers in Western Australia.  

Catherine Wheatley lives in Tasmania but has a Triumph 1200 Speedmaster garaged in Perth, and has racked up approximately 50,000km in WA over the past two years.  

She’s always found that truck drivers go out of their way to make sure she is safe on the roads.  

“There is an enormous number of trucks on the roads here, and I had been warned to watch out for the quads, or road trains,” she said.  

“But honestly, I have been amazed by the attitude of the drivers.  

“I don’t know if it’s because I ride by myself or because I’m pretty small and a woman, but the care I get from truckies on the roads here is incredible.” 

Catherine Wheatley enjoys exploring WA on her Triumph 1200 Speedmaster. Image: Catherine Wheatley

Wheatley listed several ways that truckies make an effort to look out for her.  

“If they see I’m trying to overtake them, they will move over to the left and let me pass,” she said.  

“If I’m coming towards them, they’ll move to the left – on C grade roads they’ll move over so that their tyres are actually throwing up dust.  

“They give plenty of warning when they are turning, especially the quads, who have to turn at a snail’s pace.  

“And they don’t just assume it’s OK to turn into highways – they make a lot of effort to wait for people to pass.” 

She added that truckies are also aware of the draft created by their large vehicles, which can be dangerous for motorcylists.  

“They know that the truck creates a draft that can suck a bike towards the wheels, or push a bike away. 

“That awareness is so important.” 

But what stands out to her the most is that truck drivers will check she is OK, especially in remote areas. 

“Every time I stop at an isolated rest stop, somewhere like the Pilbara, they will give me a wave or make sure I’m alright by looking for a thumbs up from me as they pass,” she said.  

“They are just really thoughtful, and it makes a big difference.” 

Wheatley also makes an effort to share the road safely with truck drivers.  

“The approach from truckies doesn’t make me complacent about my safety – it makes me more appreciative of their needs and how I can help them do their job,” she said. 

“I always carry a location beacon and wear a reflective jacket. 

“I’m off the road by dusk and I always make sure my lights are working properly.  

“I’m always aware that trucks need to keep rolling, that they can’t see me unless I’m in the right place, and that they take a long time to stop.”

She knows that a certain amount of risk is inevitable when you’re riding a motorbike.  

“Whatever I do, riding will always be a risky activity in WA because of the nature of the transport industry – it’s huge, and so are the trucks and loads. 

“The road is a truck driver’s workplace and they just want to have an ordinary day at work and go home.

“You just have to do what you can to keep yourself and other drivers safe.”

She wanted to share her experience and thank WA truckies for making the roads safer and more pleasant to travel.  

“I just thought, we are so quick to criticise people, but we very rarely take the time to compliment them,” she said.  

“I really appreciate what they do, and I wanted to say a big thank you.”  


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