Author: Steve Pretzel
Someone quite special to the RTRA died on the weekend. Jaye Radisich, the former Swan Hills MLA passed away after a courageous battle with cancer.
Few people would know this, but Jaye was the catalyst for the formation of the RTRA.
In February 2007 a friend suggested I contact Jaye about the deplorable state of Gnangara. I did this, and instead of getting a standard 'thank you for sharing...' response I received a phone call asking whether I would show her around the area so she could get a better idea of the problem.
I did this on a typically hot dusty day in early March. Jaye was of course suitably horrified with the conditions at Gnangara, and when we had finished the tour she gave me some advice about getting things done through the Government.
"It's all about the numbers." she said "What you really need is to get the riders together through some form of association so you can say "we speak on behalf of x hundred riders and we need a better deal"".
This made a lot of sense so we immediately put the wheels into motion and the Recreational Trailbike Riders' Association of WA Inc came into being just a few weeks later, on March 27.
I didn't really expect Jaye to follow up (and just that one suggestion turned out to be incredibly valuable), but Jaye did not forget about our Gnangara visit, as this extract from Hansard from April 2007 shows:
Ms J.A. RADISICH
… In my last minute I raise the issue of trail bike riding in the Gnangara pine plantation. Trail bike riders are welcome to ride in the plantation. That is fair and reasonable because people with trail bikes do need somewhere to ride. However, I am very concerned that this is not a safe environment. There is no signage and no safety measures have been put in place whatsoever. There have been deaths at that site. We need to undertake a serious assessment of how unlicensed bikes can be ridden off-road so that riders have a proper recreational experience in a safe environment.
Sadly, ill health forced Jaye to leave state politics. As possibly the first politician to raise the need for action for improved riding opportunities, as the person who inspired the formation of the RTRA and as a person who cared and was prepared to stand up and take action Jaye Radisich will be sadly missed but fondly remembered.