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Byron Shire
May 13, 2021

Dangerous Coolamon Scenic Dr finally sees action

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New line markings on Coolamon Scenic Drive. Photo Athony Stante

Twenty-three crashes in five years, an average of 1,362 vehicles per day and an independent road safety audit that found various ‘intolerable’ risks on the 11.3km stretch of road between Goonengerry Road and the Pacific Highway has finally seen some action.

Local resident Anthony Stante, who was a project manager on the Ballina Bypass upgrade from 2007-11, was relieved to wake up on Tuesday, December 12 and discover that the recommended line marking finally in having been carried out.

Mr Stante had put his concerns on the safety of Coolamon Scenic Drive to council three-and-a-half years ago in late 2014 and ‘the local traffic committee had agreed to do things to make it safer,’ he said.

Increased traffic with no fix

‘In the mean-time Council agreed to signpost an extension of Tourist Route 28 from the old highway right the way along bringing even more tourists to our substandard local road making it even more dangerous.’

However, the traffic committee stated that council may need to seek out further funding options, or advise of further funding options, for the review and changes to signage and line marking.

Mr Stante told Echonetdaily that he gained a copy of the independent road safety audit through an FOI enquiry to council that ‘recently found various “intolerable” risks which must be addressed including line-marking, curve signage and guideposts.’

A motorcyclist down at 5.30pm on Sunday, December 10 just south of Pipeclay Ave / Coolamon Scenic Drive intersection. Photo Anthony Stante.

‘The independent audit found the road clearly has a high accident rate and subsequent to the recent audit findings, Council has elected to stage the required urgent works with line-marking a priority.’

Council staff slow to act

Mr State told Echonetdaily that ‘Both mayor Simon Richardson and local MP Tamara Smith have been very supportive but council officers have been tardy acting on residents repeated advice on safety concerns.’

Key locations from Mullumbimby to St Helena Hinterland Way now have new double centreline marking. Also existing badly faded line-marking had been redone.

‘Dangerous overtaking manoeuvres will be less frequent and driving at night or during heavy rain or both will be significantly safer,’ said Stante.

‘Our local school buses will travel more safely with our kids on board at less risk of being run off the narrow roadway.

However he pointed out that ‘It should not take three-and-a-half years for council to act on serious safety concerns. Hopefully a new GM will make council officers more accountable especially for serious safety issues.’

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  1. In Germany you don’t get a driving licence until you’ve graduated from a driving school, in the UK general consensus is that you are highly unlikely to pass a driving test without being trained by a qualified driving instructor and most people need at least 30 hours with the instructor.

    In Australia, most people seem to get their instruction from a friend or relative and while I didn’t go through the Aussie system as a learner, I see examples everyday of bad driving and people who don’t even know who has right of way.

    My optician in the UK says I need glasses for driving, in Australia I can pass the RMS test without glasses.

    Double white lines don’t make better drivers and accidents will still happen. The photo shows a long relatively straight stretch of road where I’d actually expect it to be reasonably safe to overtake with a clear sight of drives and any side roads plus the road ahead.

    • Regardless of the shortcomings of our licensing system, the line marking will make an enormous difference to safety on Coolamon.
      I’ve been driving the road several times a day for 25 years and it is incredible how many drivers cannot stay on their side of the road without markings. I have had many many near misses.
      With an 80k speed limit, the section pictured is not safe for overtaking anything but the slowest Sunday driver. Cars appear over crests both ways and can leave you caught short – even if you are an Englishman.
      There was really only one reasonably safe overtaking spot but that has copped a set of double lines too.
      Can we get the lines extended to Federal? Coorabell Road is more dangerous than Coolamon and has an open road speed limit.

  2. The dangerous overtaking over double white lines I’ve witnessed in the main street of Bangalow in plain view of all makes me think the idiots are not likely to respect them on a back road like Coolamon Scenic. I live in hope, the roads are getting way more frightening to drive on around here.

  3. The double lines have been done without any thorough investigating as to where the most dangerous spots are and one could argue they appear to have been done randomly – with many infamous overtaking spot just waiting for fatal crashes, remaining with no double lines. Which has made the road in these areas even more dangerous, as it encourages aggressive people not wanting to do the speed limit of 80km/h, to continue stupidly overtaking people at these spots. I drive on the road daily and see at least one close call a day, often more. The lines stop on crests, encouraging people to overtake on dangerous spots. Observe it yourself next time you drive along the road, it’s as if they ran out of paint or just picked random spots. I guess someone is going to have to die for them to wake up to how shit it is.


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