Bicycle NSW members can be proud that last Friday in Budget Estimates Labor, Green and Liberal politicians all discussed safety issues for bike riders in the NSW Parliament.
Politically engaging issues raised
The Hon. Cate Faehrmann MLC (p. 21-23) began asking the Minister for Transport the Hon. Andrew Constance about the 38% increase in rider fatalities. Followed by a 31% increase in pedestrian fatalities over the past year. Cate Faehrmann went on to raise issues with Minister Constance including:
- Driver education
- Close passes
- The road safety campaign Bicycle NSW has developed with Police
- The Heavy Vehicle National Law Review and the Heavy Vehicle Campaign by Bicycle NSW, and
- Safety issues for people riding across light rail tracks and the SafeRails technology
Minister Constance said he was happy to look into the issue of heavy vehicle safety improvements,. Essentially, he appeared to support the National Heavy Vehicle Law review.
The Hon. Peter Primrose MLC continued questioning the Minister for Transport (p. 28) about Safe Rails. Safe Rails is a technology for assisting people riding bikes to cross light rail tracks safely. He asked what the response had been when Bicycle NSW had contacted NSW Transport on the 9th of April about this technology.
Minister Constance said government is awaiting the coronial report into Danny Egan’s death, but said that “..when Bicycle NSW comes forward with concerns I expect the agency to look at it (p.28). To sum up, we are continuing our work to assist the government and we are now looking forward to a meeting within a fortnight to discuss SafeRails.
Infrastructure plans and execution
We broadly agree with Minister Constance’s statement that “…when we do the reference design around any infrastructure, community safety is first and foremost”(p. 30). Bicycle NSW reviews many of these plans which often provide for bike riding. When they fall short we provide advice on amendments.
The problem lies with the execution. When planned bike infrastructure is forgotten or cancelled, or when it is built in a way that is dangerous for people riding bikes.
Both Peter Primrose and The Hon. Daniel Mookhey MLC challenged Minister Constance over the safe design of light rail in Newcastle. Also, and on statements that appeared to transfer the responsibility for safety to riders.(p. 28-30) We appreciate their efforts, and the ministerial time spent on bike rider safety.
“Thank you to all our members. Your investment in our work has paid off with politicians from the three major parties expressing their concerns for people who ride bikes,” said General Manager of Public Affairs, Bastien Wallace.
“Already we are seeing action, and we are working to deliver the change you need to make NSW better for all bike riders,” said Bastien.
Why not share this article with your local council or MP? It shows them bike riding is an issue for every party, and that you care about it.