Last Friday, Bicycle Network brought together bike riding advocates and stakeholders from across Sydney to discuss key issues and concerns arising from major construction works.
Bicycle Network’s Vulnerable Road User forum saw representatives from the Heart Foundation, AustRoads, City of Sydney, Bicycle NSW, BikEast, Ashfield Bicycle Group, Sydney Coordination Office, Sustainable Transport and NSW Department of Health.
The forum provided a great opportunity to discuss the problems vulnerable road users face when negotiating construction sites, what is being done and what could be done to make the roads safer for everyone.
Greater Sydney is in the middle of a construction boom with works underway to upgrade roads, rail and buildings. It’s expected to last more than a decade.
Currently, roads are being chopped up and changed, truck movements have increased and in many instances, temporary bike or pedestrian facilities are being forgotten, disregarded or removed completely.
At the meeting, we were presented with harrowing examples of damaged roads, poor alignment, slippery road plates, inappropriate detours, inadequate signage, poor visibility and lighting, as well as barriers encroaching into bike lanes.
It’s clear that many contractors or authorities are failing to meet the minimum AustRoads standards in providing the equivalent in infrastructure for people who ride and walk. That includes lighting, alignment and surface. In many cases, bikes were completely forgotten or thrown in as an afterthought.
Rather than wait for transformation through tragedy, it was great to see bike advocates come together to proactively find solutions and determine our best approach to getting things fixed.
The good news is that work is already underway to bring standards for traffic management and planning into line across Australia.
Forum attendees heard from AustRoads’ Dan Sullivan who is in the process of developing a code of practice for temporary road fixes which includes planning, designing and implementing traffic management that includes access for all road users.
Mr Sullivan also gave an overview about his work in implementing new national training for traffic management to bring about a consistent approach to safety and implementation nationally.
In approving plans, the City of Sydney also ensures equitable access for people who ride and walk.
Bicycle Network would like to thank everyone who attended as well as the Heart Foundation for hosting the forum.
What can you do?
As all bike advocates continue to work with governments and stakeholders on appropriate traffic management for people who ride, there are some ways that you can help.
If you see a temporary road fix that isn’t up to scratch, help us by taking a picture and reporting it to the relevant road authority as well as the primary contractor. This could include the council or RMS. Don't forget to cc firstname.lastname@example.org.
Critically urgent issues that could cause immediate and serious danger to people can be reported to the NSW police.
Not only are poor traffic management and road treatments a risk for everyone who is passing through the work site, it’s also a massive risk for the people working there.
You can also bring it to the attention of the Sydney Coordination Office who is responsible for the development of safe, integrated and efficient transport systems for the people of NSW.