This week, representatives from the Brisbane BUGs joined the Safer Roads, Safer Queensland road safety summit, hosted by the Department of Transport and Main Roads and the Minister, Mark Bailey MP.
There was plenty of good discussion, with representatives from many different road user groups, and a focus on the key themes of sharing the road, lifelong education, and speed. From our perspective, it was good to hear growing acknowledgement of the benefits of lower default urban speeds. (But we’d like to move faster towards moving slower…)
Road safety forums like this have helped seed initiatives which have dramatically brought down the population-adjusted fatality and serious injury rates on our roads. But we think there needs to be a shift away from the attitude that driving for the majority of trips is inevitable in urban areas. One way to seriously address road safety risks is to question the need for driving at all for a lot of trips. We suggested that it’s time for deaths and illness from pollution and inactivity to be included as part of the road “toll”, and get serious about reducing those, just as the community has recognised the costs of traumatic injuries.
As Minister Bailey points out, building a high-quality public transport network is critical to this, and we acknowledge the importance of Cross River Rail, and improving the rail and light rail connections in South East Queensland.
Active transport and micro-mobility are also really important connectors, so it was good to meet Nelson, who is the Public Affairs Manager for Lime Scooters. We see scooters as a welcome addition to the travel landscape in Brisbane, giving more people an option to enjoy alternatives to travelling by car. And yes, we all agreed that one of the most obvious missing ingredients in Brisbane is a network of protected lanes in the CBD that will make it safe and attractive to ride a bike, and which gives scooter users the option to get off the footpath! If Melbourne and Sydney can implement protected lanes in their city centres, there really is no excuse for Brisbane!
Later, Chris spoke on ABC Brisbane Radio’s Afternoons program with Kat Feeney about the forum. You can listen in from 1:36:00 here.