A coroner’s report into the death of Norman MacKenzie who died as a result of head injuries from a crash with a bike rider in 2017 has been released.
On 18 April 2017, Mr MacKenzie was walking across Jacka Boulevard in St Kilda from the beach side of the road, at a pedestrian crossing, when he was involved in a collision with Mr Jarel Remick who was riding his bike in the southbound bike lane.
Coroner Darren Bracken found that the pedestrian crossing signal was red when Mr MacKenzie crossed Jacka Boulevard and that Mr Remick was travelling at a speed between 33km/h and 39km/h, in a 60km/h zone, when impact occurred.
Coroner Bracken commented that the speed Mr Remick was riding and Mr MacKenzie crossing against a red light were the causes of Mr MacKenzie’s death.
Coroner Bracken further commented that caution and respect should be exercised by each and every road user informed by the recognition that other road users do not always do precisely as expected, and indeed sometime do exactly what they should not.
It's a reminder that whenever we are on the road—driving a car, riding a bike or walking—we must always be alert and aware that anything can happen and we may have to respond to unexpected circumstances.
To help avoid future tragedies, Bicycle Network made a submission to the coroner with a number of recommendations, including:
- investigating the effectiveness of crossings that adjust the time allowed to cross to the speed of the person walking
- increasing visual cues about the possibility of bike riders at high volume points like pedestrian crossings with raised separation of the bike lane, on ground markings and eye level signs.
- making physical changes at the pedestrian crossing where Mr MacKenzie was killed with an elevated crossing that links The Esplanade, St Kilda Triangle and St Kilda Foreshore.
- a behaviour change program to increase the number of people looking out for bike riders underpassing stationery traffic
- a behaviour change program for people riding bikes when underpassing at intersections and crossings
Bicycle Network's submission was praised by the coroner for its careful and insightful information, as was a submission made by Victoria Walks. Both submissions will be given to VicRoads for consideration when planning roads and bike lanes in Melbourne and on Jacka Boulevard.
A submission by Mr MacKenzie's family asked that the TAC cover costs for anyone injured or killed on the roads, regardless of what form of transport was involved. Bicycle Network's submission included a similar recommendation.
The MacKenzie's submission also recommended that anyone riding a bike should be required to wear a reflective vest bearing a registration number, training for races on public roads be prohibited and bicycles designed for racing be barred from public roads. The coroner commented that the limited scope of the inquest restricts a detailed analysis of these recommendations which are opposed by Bicycle Network.
Bicycle Network extends our deepest condolences to Norman MacKenzie's family and friends and our support to Jarel Remick and all witnesses of the crash on Jacka Boulevard.
This article was made possible by the support of Bicycle Network's members who enable us to make bike riding better in Australia.