Inspire : Public Works Jan Feb 2013
38 Public Works Professional February 2013 [COMMUNITIES OF PRACTICE ROAD SAFETY ] CONTINUE THE CONVERSATION Have your say on this story. Go to http://goo.gl/QNKDS to comment on this article. to separate them from high-speed vehicles. That's not always possible or economically feasible, especially over long distances and where demand is low, but there are things you can do." PLANNING CONSIDERATIONS Commenting on the report, a spokesperson from the NSW Roads and Maritime Ser vice (RMS) noted that off-road alternatives and/or routes along lower-speed roads would increase cycling safety. For public works professionals, planning requires an "understanding of the type of cyclists who will use the site, continuity requirements, intersection treatments, speed limits, traffc volumes, readily available space and likely impacts upon the existing and future usage of the area," says the RMS. Funding new cycling infrastr ucture across Australia's vast road networks is a major challenge for governments and road authorities, especially when many are str uggling to maintain existing roads. David Sharp, Director of Safe Cycling Australia (SCA), would like to see improved infrastructure for cyclists ("Bring it on!"), but believes there will be a "real str uggle" to pay for it. "At best, it's only ever going to cover a fraction of our road network and it’s not the fnal solution to everyone's concerns," he says. Instead, SCA would like Australia to adopt the holistic approach to cycling safety evident in Europe. That means tougher enforcement of the law of strict liability, whereby if the operator of a larger vehicle hits a cyclist, they must prove they could not have avoided that accident. "We also believe Australia should introduce a minimum safe-passing distance, which would give everyone a lot more certainty when negotiating each other on the roads," says Sharp. "Those are the best options we can see -- bearing in mind that there are some roads cyclists shouldn't be on regardless, because we'll never have infrastructure capable of protecting cyclists on those roads." THE WAY FORWARD Leon Patterson, National Director Infrastructure Management for the IPWEA says Cycling on Higher-Speed Roads provides options that public works professionals can consider, along with relative advantages and risks, when seeking ways to accommodate bicycles on Australian roads for transport, recreation and health. "The report can help public works professionals to prioritise treatments and provide appropriate treatments for the circumstances," he says. "It gives guidance on making assessments based on local circumstances. "In high-usage areas, for example, the higher cost infrastructure options can well result in net benefts over cost with improved utilisation and safety.” ••• Source: Australian Bicycle Council, Austroads BICYCLE PARTICIPATION IN AUSTRALIA 4m people ride a bike in Australia each week for transport and recreation. 1.2m people make at least one transport journey by bicycle each week. 3.6m people ride for recreation, leisure or sport. 26% the proportion of the Northern Territory's population who ride in a typical week. This is the highest among the states and territories. 14.5% the proportion of NSW's population who ride in a typical week. This is the lowest among the states and territories. 1.08m people ride at least once a week in Victoria, the most populous state for bicyclists.
Public Works Nov Dec 2012
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