AN IPSWICH man has told of how he somehow defied serious injury or death after riding his motorcycle into a mattress at 80km/h.
Aaron Wood said he was so certain he was going to die when he hit the mattress in the Clem 7 tunnel that he unwittingly ripped the rubber grips off the handlebars of his bike.
Mr Wood was following a Toyota Prado that was towing a cage trailer on Tuesday night, when one of two mattresses blew over the top and landed in his lane.
With no time to stop or swerve, he rode up onto the debris, which provided anything but a soft landing.
"The mattress went under the bike and flipped me up onto my front wheel for about 50m," he said.
"I was lucky that the bloke behind me had time to stop and help.
"When I stopped I realised I had torn the grips right off the handlebars - I thought I was a goner for sure.
"I have been riding for 20 years and never had something like this happen."
It is not certain whether or not the driver of the Prado realised what had happened. Either way, they did not stop to offer assistance.
The incident has been reported to Ipswich police, and video footage is being examined in an effort to locate the driver.
The mattress came to rest against the exhaust of the motorcycle and began to smoulder before Mr Wood and some other bystanders brought the situation under control.
Mr Wood has urged all motorists to ensure their loads are secured properly, reiterating the fact that something as simple as a mattress falling onto the road could have actually killed him.
"I was just very lucky to come out unscathed - apart from some cuts to my hands," he said.
"The police are amazed that I am alive."
Ipswich road policing unit officer in charge Senior Sergeant Troy Hamilton said severe penalties could apply to a motorist whose lost load caused injury or death to another person.
"It depends on the circumstances, and I am not aware of the specific circumstances in this case," he said.
"If some part of a load falls from your vehicle it is a ticketable offence, but not something that will land you in court.
"If, in this case, it brought the rider down and he sustained serious injury or was killed, you could be looking at a far more serious charge and probably a date with the magistrate."