Report: Woman dies in street luge crash

A 50-year-old mother was killed Saturday morning riding a luge board down a public street in Queensland state capital, Brisbane.

Sue Wickenden, a website designer, was one of two riders traveling at high speed down Sir Samuel Griffiths Drive on Brisbane’s Mt. Cootha when she lost control of her street sled on a corner and slammed into a roadside barrier rail at about 6:15 a.m. local time.

Paramedics performed CPR at the scene but were unable to save her.

In a recent article on the Womensport Queensland website, Wickenden said she took up the sport in her 40s, Australian Associated Press (AAP) reported.

"I arrived at a point in my age time line when I had to make a decision," she said in the article. "I could allow age to take me gently by the hand and slide into a little plumpness and a quieter life or I could fight back, kicking and screaming to stay fit into old age."

Luging is a form of street sledding where participants lie on a board with wheels and steer down hills and other steep inclines reaching speeds of up to 87 mph (140 kph), much like the winter Olympic sport but on roads rather than ice-covered tracks.

Acting Police Inspector Chris Pemberton said luging was a restricted activity and required a permit. It was believed the two riders involved in Saturday’s early morning run had not been granted permission for the activity that led to the tragedy.

"Our message is high risk activities like luge and public roads don’t mix," Pemberton said.

But Street Luge Australia ambassador Tyler Johnson told AAP Wickenden was traveling at a controlled speed and had simply been involved in a freak accident

"It was very safe," he said. "She had full leathers and a motorbike helmet on."