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Byron Shire
February 26, 2021

Council’s approach to road safety unacceptable: Cr Cameron

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Independent councillor Basil Cameron is proposing at this Thursday’s meeting that councillors adopt a set of Road Access and Safety Principles, ‘to be embedded in all road policy to ensure safe, equitable access for all road users’.

He told The Echo, ‘Despite a substantial increase of traffic on our rural roads, fundamental safety issues are being ignored.’

One of the many accidents that have taken place on Coolamon Scenic Drive. Photo supplied.

‘Recently a “road safety” audit was undertaken on Coolamon Scenic Drive for “vehicular” traffic only.

‘$2.4 million was spent on infrastructure upgrades as a result of the audit, even though it made the road less safe for walkers, cyclists and in some cases blocked access for residents and services such as rubbish collection and school buses’.

‘A risk assessment identified an increased risk to cyclists, however none of the money could be spent to address this, because it could only be spent for “vehicle related safety issues”.’

Cr Cameron said, ‘Bizarrely, the only way to get money to make the road safer for cyclists was to wait until a serious or fatal cyclist “crash”occurred, as Council would then meet the grant funding requirements.’

‘$2.4 million is a lot of money to spend, particularly when safety outcomes are poor. Morning walkers, cyclists, children waiting for the school bus, pedestrians without public transport all need safe access to roads.

‘It is not acceptable that the safety of non-vehicular road users is diminished or that access is restricted, especially on rural roads that are the only option for movement.

‘There are other examples of neglect in both rural and urban areas, but perhaps the one that speaks loudest is the grand total of $190 spent from the footpath maintenance budget so far this year.’

‘The Road Access and Safety Principles aim to overcome the bias against non-vehicular movement built into Council’s management of roads. Better funding is required to overcome the increasingly dangerous disparity between vehicular and non-vehicular access and safety. Audits need to consider all road users. Infrastructure development and maintenance should be undertaken in a way that does not make it less safe or accessible’.

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  1. A huge boost to safety would be to get cyclists off the footpaths. Sadly, they are regarded as a protected and elitist species who can do no wrong. As a disabled person, I have had too many ‘close encounters!’

  2. One lady told me she drove her car down an embankment on a corner on Coolamon Scenic drive and wrote it off. I asked her how it happened. She said it was a dangerous corner but then admitted she couldn’t see properly immediately before the crash. Now when I learnt to drive, I was taught that when you can’t see while driving, you slow down and if necessary stop rather than drive blindly into a corner. This road isn’t dangerous, the problem is people who are bad drivers. Vehicles these days have ABS, better tyres, lights and brakes than ever but still we spend millions on idiot proofing roads when it might be better to actually make learner drivers attend a driving school as is done in many other western countries.

  3. Palm Valley Drive from Lighthouse Road into Wategos is waiting for a fatality to happen. There have already been injuries to pedestrians walking down to the beach using the road. I’m dismayed that we have to wait for a serious or fatal injury before safety issues can be fully addressed.

  4. Oh yes, those “elitist cyclists” should we ban them….seriously!

    The roads around the Northern Rivers are generally not wide or safe enough for kids or anyone else wanting to ribe a bike…unless you have a death wish!

  5. These are the worst roads I’ve seen in the “first” world. They’re really criminal. I don’t want zillions of dollars and new roads but it doesn’t take much money to just signal the roads properly. To have at least a white line in the middle so you can see the roads at night while rains. To have reflectors. It’s a matter of care, not loads of money. The council is negligently incapable of managing these oxen tracks we’ve inherited.
    There American style of road signaling is inadequate. Other users need a lot of know-how to use the road without putting their lives in danger. Cyclists should take the whole lane, disallowing overtaking until is safe to do so. But the council should be in prison to allow people to use this poor infrastructure


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