Geelong push for safer roads

Geelong plans to make active transport a key plank of its new road safety strategy.

In its draft of the new strategy the City of Greater Geelong commits to “reducing risks for active transport users, recognising how important this is for a healthy and sustainable community.”

"We all want a liveable city where people feel connected and able to live life to the full. To achieve this requires a transport system that functions safely and efficiently”, the city says.

"As our population grows, more people will be on our roads. To accommodate this growth, we must keep improving and maintaining the road network in a way that promotes road safety.”

The draft document is now out for public comment.

The draft contains an analysis of crash statistics that shows that crossing intersections, and right turns, are when bike riders are most at risk.

Across all road users the most common crash types also tend to be at intersections and where vehicles turn across oncoming traffic (‘right through' crashes).

The frequency of crash types is different for local roads compared to arterial roads. On local roads, there is a higher frequency of collisions with parked vehicles and objects on the left side of the road.

There is also a significant number of crashes involving vehicles striking pedestrians who are trying to cross the road. On arterial roads, rear-end collisions are most prevalent.

During an earlier engagement process local riders said there is a desire for more dedicated cycling facilities including separated bike paths, bike lanes, and wider bike lanes.

These facilities need to be better connected, especially along key cycle routes, and well maintained.

Stakeholders have told the city that speed reduction is an important issue.

"Lower speeds reduce the likelihood and severity of crashes. Speed limit reviews on local and arterial roads, and in targeted areas – such as the CBD, around schools and in areas of high pedestrian activity – could help to protect vulnerable users and improve the amenity of activity centres.

“Building and maintaining bicycle infrastructure in Geelong will improve safety and encourage more cycling. Improvements could include separated bike paths, on- road bike lanes, protection at intersections, bike parking and improved connectivity."

The City says it will review and update its approach to promoting safe cycling and develop a new Greater Geelong Cycle Strategy.

It will review crash data and associated maps to identify areas with high cyclist crashes and identify the most common types of cyclist crashes within each area and introduce road safety countermeasures to target the identified common crash types.

It will also include pedestrian and bicycle connectivity planning provisions with all new developments OR create a standard planning provision to be used with all new developments.

One issue not mentioned is the interaction of bike riders with heavy vehicles, which has long been a problem in metropolitan Geelong.

This article was made possible by the support of Bicycle Network's members who enable us to make bike riding better in Australia.