Inspire : Public Works July Aug 2014
22 Public Works Professional July-August 2014 to the proactive rather than reactive nature of the Safe System philosophy. "People often say that the human factor is the over whelming cause of a crash, and they are quite correct," says Tziotis. "However," he adds, "what you generally don't hear is that 90 to 100 per cent of the time infrastructure is a deciding factor in the severity of the outcome of the crash." For example, while the presence of a pole on the side of the road is obviously unlikely to cause a crash, it will signifcantly infuence the severity of the outcome. Similarly, the use of high-friction, anti-skid surfacing at accident hotspots can have signifcant and measurable benefts. “Infrastr ucture can have a huge infuence within a Safe System,” Tziotis says. SAFER PEOPLE One of the most hotly politicised aspects of road safety at present comes with the challenge of sharing the road among different users -- particularly between cyclists and drivers. However, much of the debate and media coverage detracts from both the available research into road safety and the core philosophy of a Safe System. “The role of a Road Safety Offcer is to promote safer people -- whether it's pedestrians, bike riders, drivers or passengers," says Woodman. Cyclists aged 12 or over are prohibited from riding on the footpath -- unless it is a designated shared path, they are super vising a child, or they have special exemption from a doctor. At the same time, however, many roads remain a dangerous place for them, leaving cyclists in a kind of limbo. While the most effective way to improve cyclist safety is COVER STORY DOITONOUR ONLINE FORUMS: Visit goo.gl/ScXgUh to discuss this article. therefore through separated, dedicated bike lanes, community education and engagement also play a vital role in a holistic Safe System. City of Sydney, for example, has introduced free rider-training courses for inner-city cyclists, as well as an ongoing campaign called 'Share the Path' aimed at reducing heated confict between cyclists and pedestrians. Another City of Sydney campaign is called 'Watch out Cars About'. It is aimed at pedestrians, with signs posted at accident hotspots offering advice such as "never assume drivers can see you". SAFER VEHICLES In addition to managing the speed of a vehicle, vehicle design is important and new cars are now being engineered with human vulnerability in mind to reduce the severity of crash outcomes. The Australian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) informs buyers by testing and rating new car models according to a set of safety criteria. ANCAP ratings take into account not only the safety of vehicle occupants, but also of other road users potentially involved in the crash, such as pedestrians. The future could also see smarter vehicles preventing crashes altogether. For example, one technology currently under development is called Autonomous Emergency Braking, in which a vehicle senses an obstacle and automatically brakes to avoid collision. The development of technology in this area could revolutionise vehicle manufacture as well as road safety across the world. The fundamental aspect of the Safe System approach is that all of these elements work together to prevent a crash and keep people safe on the roads -- even when they make a mistake. The biggest change Tziotis says he has noticed in his 20-plus years working in the road safety sector is the improved coordination across the community in working towards that common goal. "There has been greater coordination between all stakeholders -- the police, the road agencies, motoring organisations and councils," he says. "The community has a greater expectation than ever before that they will be provided with a road network free of things that will cause them to be injured or killed.” ••• One of the most hotly politicised aspects of road safety at present comes with the challenge of sharing the road among di erent users -- particularly between cyclists and drivers.
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