Road investments should consider all users

25-04-2020 by admin

Bendigo is something of a motorbike town so the news that the deaths from motorbikes have leapt again andnow make up more than a quarter of all road deaths in Victoria is of significant concern.The road toll as of yesterday sits at 109 with 29 of these being fatalities from motorbike crashes.It is significant that the police are talking about the high percentage of these deaths related torider error. What can be assumed is nearly all of these collisions involve speed. The issue is that whether it is at 100, 70 or even 50 km/h, a rider hitting the road or any of the obstacles that litter our road sides is far more at vulnerable to death or serious injury. There are no seatbelts or airbags to shelter a catapulted rider. Concerted efforts to educate riders on just what it means to ride at these speeds is a good first step but there is also the problem of those who think the laws are simply guidelines.

The TAC has been criticized for its commendable if seemingly impractical objective of having a zero road toll. The criticism centres on the inability to rule out human error. But the quantum leaps in reducing the road toll through seatbelt and blood alcohol limits show if you can’t legislate against stupidity, you can enforce laws strictly enough to wake a lot of people up from their delusions. The Government’s intermediate objective of bringing the road toll under 200 by 2020 probably has the advantage of being a measurable definitive and the Government is willing to back this with a major investment announcement. There are investments in education and a major upgrade of country roads including a stretch of the Calder Freeway between Keilor Park and Bendigo.All this is good news and every life savedvindicates the plan.

But one of the ideas mooted is the introduction of European style centre barriers. Many high speed motorways in Europe use this technology not only to divide traffic,eliminate dangerous overtaking but also provide something of a safety net against fatigue and other human error. Given these are good steps toward safer roads and fewer deaths, it should also be notedhow much motorbike orders loathe these buries as one more thing to endangered them in a crash. Safety infrastructure should not unnecessarily preserve someandendangerothers. Advancements have been made in NSW to make these safer using new materials and designs If the investment is to be made it should be done with the best possible outcome for all users.

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