Marcia tells her story Motorcycle Awareness Month

Jamin Swaneveld (second from right) with wife Marcia and their two children. PICTURES: SUPPLIED

Motorcycle Awareness month in Australia is observed in October.

Between 2017 and 2021, there were 195 lives lost in motorcycle accidents on Victorian roads, and more than 6,000 non-fatal crashes. Over a third of motorcycle crashes happen at intersections where other vehicle drivers do not see the rider.

It was a normal morning for Marcia and her husband Jamin on Saturday 6 March 2021. Jamin, a talented tattoo artist and devoted father of two, was heading out on his motorbike to meet a friend and go to a market.

But Jamin never arrived. Tragedy struck when a driver cut a corner when turning at an intersection, and collided with Jamin, who was unable to avoid the crash.

As it happened, a friend of the family was travelling two cars behind and was able to make the life-changing call to Marcia – she was told her husband was still breathing and quickly made her way to the scene of the accident.

Marcia arrived with their daughter before the ambulance, and together with some good Samaritans, held and talked to Jamin who was sadly unable to be saved and passed away at the scene. He was only 45 years old.

“My life, and my kids’ lives, were turned upside down that day,” Marcia said. “I am forever haunted by the visions of that day, and asking myself what if? What if he had drunk another cup of coffee before leaving that morning? What if I had held him for just a bit longer?”

Jamin was well known and loved in his community, described as a creative talent and a gentleman. A builder by trade, his main passion was art – he drew and sculpted, and went on to become one of the most respected tattoo artists in Australia. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Jamin decided to move his business to his home in Cockatoo where he rebuilt his shop’s fantasy interior in a home studio. He was fully booked and ready to roll this out when the accident occurred.

“Jamin was our pillar of strength and he did everything for us. Everything fell apart that day. He ran all of our finances and business, he looked after us 100% – I was left thinking what do I do?” Marcia said.

Marcia said that, to this day, people still honk their horns and leave flowers at the scene of the accident, but it’s difficult for her family to go past it.

“The sign where the crash happened is still broken, and to go past it and see that, knowing it’s where he hit his head, it’s so hard. I haven’t got the courage up yet to call VicRoads and ask them to fix it,” Marcia said.

“We are here, but it is really hard trying to find ourselves again after this. Nothing will bring Jamin back, but we are hoping that with some compensation we can ease the financial burden on our family that will help us to move forward.”

The driver of the car was charged with dangerous driving causing death. What happened to Jamin was avoidable, and his family want to make sure other riders don’t lose their lives on the road.

“Our family urge drivers to take care and look out for motorbike riders,” Marcia said. “You never think it’ll be you. We want to save other families from feeling this pain and heartbreak.”

Principal Travis Fewster, who is representing Marcia’s family, said that motorbike riders are one of the most vulnerable users on our roads.

“People often miss motorbike riders in their blind spots, or because they’re expecting to see a car,” Travis said. “When you get behind the wheel you have be vigilant and remember you’re not only responsible for yourself, but also the lives of those around you.”

Arnold Thomas & Becker has offices all across Victoria, including locally in the eastern region, in Dandenong and Ringwood.