Byron Council is considering a Shire-wide road safety campaign in a bid to reduce dangerous driving and promote the message that all users have equal rights to access our highways and byways.
In a motion to come before the full meeting on Thursday September 26, Councillor Basil Cameron has proposed a two-pronged strategy of awareness-raising combined with increased enforcement.
‘Our roads are used by pedestrians, cyclists, bus passengers, freight transport, private vehicles as well as recreational users such as horse riders,’ Cr Cameron said in the agenda item for the motion.
‘Many of our rural roads, in particular do not have wide enough formations or shoulders to safely accommodate all road users.
‘Taken together these factors have seen an increasing number of serious safety issues facing road users. In particular pedestrians, cyclists and bus passengers are daily being put at serious risk of injury and death when using our road network.’
Tragic road accidents in the Shire
There have been a significant number of tragic road accidents in the Shire this year, including the recent death of an elderly couple in a head-on collision in Mullumbimby, and the hit-and-run death of local youth Tim Watkins while riding a bike in Wilson’s Creek.
Cr Cameron proposed that council develop and install signage across the Shire that transmitted safety messages to both locals and the hundreds of thousands of visitors who used the roads each year.
The signs would remind road users of the need to safely share the road network and highlight the routes and times for bus services.
Poor driver behaviour was a ‘regular source of grievance’
Commenting on the report, council staff said traffic and poor driver behaviour was a ‘regular source of grievance and concern raised by Shire residents’.
They said recent examples of concerns raised included regular speeding through Main Arm Village, drivers missing the bend on Left Bank Road and knocking down fences, dangerous driving during school pick up and drop off, and the impact this has on cyclists and pedestrians, and the safety of pedestrians using the Tweed St crossing (Brunswick Heads).
‘While staff are frequently able to address these symptoms through patrolling and compliance monitoring, the long term solution is best addressed through encouraging behavioural change through an educational type campaign complemented with coherent and clear signage,’ staff said.
They also raised the possibility of council appointing a road safety officer – position that could be co-funded with Roads and Maritime Services through the Local Government Safer Road Program.