Tonita Taylor, Roni Gray, and Karen Long from Miles Trail Ride. Pic: Peta McEachern
Tonita Taylor, Roni Gray, and Karen Long from Miles Trail Ride. Pic: Peta McEachern

Miles Trail Ride receives 13k to improve safety

WITH no communication services in the middle of the bush Miles Memorial Trail Ride usually sends riders to do a safety check of the track every 30 minutes to ensure no one has been injured.

Although safety measures will be streamlined this year with the addition of 10 handheld radios and a booster station, thanks to a $13,000 funding grant from Shell QGC.

Grants writer at MMTR Karen Long said the radios will provide a vital link between base camp where the paramedic is stationed and riders on the track.

“We have riders called sweeps that go out every half an hour on the track to make sure no one is hurt or has broken down,” Ms Long said.

“If there’s an issue, they can’t communicate with base and sometimes we might have to send vehicles out to pick people up or send the ambulance.”

Secretary at MMTR Ronnie Grey said during a ride they had to send an ambulance out to an injured rider, but by the time the medical staff got to the location, the rider had already jumped on a bike and left.

“The radios will fulfil that need of being able to get riders straight back to base,” Ms Gray said.

“It’s always in the back of our minds, ‘what if they’re out in a spot we can’t reach?

“It’s a very stressful part of the job when you can’t get a hold of someone on the track.”

Sweeps co-ordinator Tonita Taylor said while dehydration and head on collisions into trees can be an issue, it is mainly breakdowns they respond to.

“We have riders from the age of four, if they are broken down out there, we want to be able to get out there really quickly,” Ms Taylor said.

“We’re going to be able to reduce our response time by a lot.”

“I’m really excited about having increased communications around my track… it’ll be a huge peace of mind for me back at camp.”

Ms. Gray said once the radios are set up (which will have a private channel) she wants other groups within the community to use the system.

“We’re really hoping once we have the system in place that other community groups will be able to use them- like the rural fire brigade, the SES, or even if Pony Club is doing a trail ride,” she said.

The MMTR were one of 16 community projects picked by QGC as part of their 2020 Communities Fund – a total of $400,000 was spread across the 16 projects.

The Communities Fund has provided over $4 million over the past six year, delivering projects across the Western Downs region.