Representatives from a number of the Brisbane BUGs were invited to contribute to the Queensland Road Safety Forum, which had a focus on vulnerable road users (pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists) as well as distracted driving. We heard some disturbing statistics about the consequences of road trauma and the impact on our health system from Associate Professor Cliff Pollard.
At the round-table discussion on cycling we joined representatives from Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety – Queensland, Department of Transport and Main Roads, Sunshine Coast Regional Council and Uber, as well as other cycling advocacy groups Bicycle Queensland, Cycling Queensland, Safe Cycling Australia, and Australian Cycle Alliance. These groups certainly don’t always agree on everything, and we have different priorities and approaches, but it was not hard to broadly agree on the key points – which Belinda reported back to the wider forum and to our hosts, Minister for Road Safety, Mark Bailey MP, and Director General of the Department of Transport & Main Roads, Neil Scales:
Lowering speed limits everywhere (but particularly in urban areas where the majority of cycling crashes occur) is the most immediate way that government can create safer environments for vulnerable road users. Alone this obviously isn’t going to be 100% effective, but it will complement and reinforce the points below.
This works in conjunction with slower speeds. Government needs to influence – and ultimately require – safer designs for intersections, roundabouts, slip-lanes, etc. Infrastructure spending needs to be applied where it will have the greatest effect. Although the available crash data is not perfect, it very clearly shows hotspots that should be addressed as a priority.
We need to create a culture where it is absolutely not acceptable to inflict harm on another person, and road trauma should never be dismissed as inevitable and tolerable. This requires improvements to legislation, stricter enforcement, tougher penalties (including financial and insurance disincentives for poor driving), and education to address community attitudes.
Recommendations from 2013 Parliamentary Inquiry into Cycling Issues
Many of the points that came out of our discussion were already discussed and recommended in the report from the 2013 Parliamentary Inquiry into Cycling Issues. We consider it is time to revisit the recommendations from that group. (See below for our summary of the outcomes, as of 2015)