Hero Brendan helps to save suffering motorcyclist
IT'S JUST a normal day and you're sitting in your fully loaded truck, driving down the busy M4 in Sydney, ready to make a delivery. Nothing is out of the ordinary.
Then you notice a motorcyclist in front of the car ahead of you, dangling off the side of his bike.
It's so strange. Your first thought is that he's playing games - "why are you being a clown in the middle of the highway?" - but then you realise something much more serious is going on and a split-second later the motorbike rider falls off his bike "like a rag doll".
You don't have time to think, the car in front of you veers to the left to avoid a collision and you're on the anchors big time, burning a hole through the floor trying to stop your truck because there are cars on either side of you and you have nowhere to go.
You pull off a move that only a well-skilled truckie like yourself can do and jump out and race to help the rider.
Others have stopped and, along with another man, you perform CPR to keep the rider alive until the paramedics can come and help.
After the rider is taken to hospital, you finally hear what the media is saying about the incident.
"Breaking news, a truck had an accident with a motorcyclist, motorcyclist is critical, M4 is blocked."
Radio stations say "truck involved with motorcyclist in an accident".
That was the reality of the situation for Sydney truck driver Brendan Gilbert, who was driving his 48tonne truck and dog trailer on his usual route of the M4, heading to St Marys for a delivery when a motorcycle rider in front of him collapsed while travelling at 80km/h.
Even though he had tried everything in his power to save the motorcyclist's life, the media assumed he was the one at fault.
"It just went on and on for 24 hours," Mr Gilbert told Big Rigs.
"People just see a big truck and see a motorcyclist and think the worst. If they see a big truck and a car in an accident, they think the worst. They think it's the truck driver's fault straight away.
"It's always reflected that it's the truck driver's fault, whereas in this instance the truck driver (who was me) had nothing to do with it other than trying to put a hole in the floor trying to pull up so I didn't run him over.
"But I got out and gave him a hand and kept him alive but the media spread things without having facts. It was just wrong.
"We had people on social media (saying things like) 'Truck drivers should be more educated than running into motorcyclists' and all this sort of nonsense.
"They couldn't have got it more wrong if they tried."
Mr Gilbert said he "absolutely" believed that society's perception of truck drivers was to blame for situations like the one in which he found himself.
"I think that people just assume the worst, poor old mud carters, we cop a bad rap," he said.
"There's a few cowboys out there but on a whole I think we're a pretty good bunch of people.
"At the end of the day we're all good people, we don't try to do the wrong thing.
"I think we get a bad rap and I think that's what's transpired with this one. They saw the tipper truck and trailer and thought the worst, it's gotta be his fault.
"Silverdale Sand and Soil copped unfair press because people assumed the worst and my name is mud out there as well."
Mr Gilbert said he thought the only way things would change was through education.
"It's a hard thing, I don't think it would happen overnight," he said.
"It's an education process, educating people that truck drivers are on the road. When you think about the kilometres that we do and the crashes that happen, the statistics (show) a pretty good record.
"I do 100,000km a year and in all of my 36 years I've never had a crash in a truck. That statistic is not a bad effort.
"People just think the worst unfairly and it's an education thing."
Big Rigs understands the rider is in hospital receiving medical treatment.