Clickbait Versus Safer Roads

13 March 2019

Recent Seven News coverage of stories involving bikes provides ‘click-bait’ but ignores the real threats to people on the road.

A person towing a suitcase on a bike, two people moving a sofa using bikes or a cropped photograph of a bike rider waiting for the lights to change at an intersection are sure to generate clicks and criticism, but this is a distraction from the real issues on the road.

The biggest risk of serious injury and death comes from motor vehicles.  Comparing the month of February for the past 10 years we can see a small improvement but more needs to be done.

Whilst we are seeing an overall reduction in driver and passenger fatalities, bike rider fatality rates have remained static even though rates of riding have fallen, and pedestrian fatality rates have started to rise.

Most households own a bike and most people have ridden one at some point in their life, and everyone is a pedestrian. Unfortunately the focus of road infrastructure and safety campaigns has been to emphasise the dominance of motor vehicles at the expense of people.  

WalkSydney highlighted a recent example where the NSW road rules require vehicles to give way to pedestrians at crossings, but the road safety poster seemed to imply that it was the pedestrian’s job to give way to the truck.

“We need a step-change in NSW to deliver safer roads for everyone,” said Bicycle NSW Advocacy Consultant, Ray Rice.

“We’re pleased to see the introduction of camera technology to detect mobile phone offences and legislation increasing enforcement options and penalties for people driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs,” said Ray.

Too many people in NSW die or suffer life-altering injury on the roads.  Drivers are often allowed back behind the wheel after hurting or killing someone without being required to undertake training or demonstrate improved driving skill.

“We need to get serious about road safety and invest in education and campaigns that focus on driving as an activity requiring skill and a responsibility to take care,” said Ray.