Safety upgrades costly
Wider road shoulders for cyclists unlikely due to budget restraints
WHILE the region’s top cop agrees that wider shoulders and even bike lanes would make roads safer for cyclists he understands the huge costs of such infrastructure.
Senior Sergeant Doug Incoll said millions of dollars are unlikely to be spent on road upgrades unless there is damning evidence that suggests it will save lives, and rather cyclists and motorists need to learn to share the road.
“VicRoads only get a certain bucket of money and they have to prioritise where they spend it,” Snr Sgt Incoll said.
“If you’re looking at the Alpine area there is not too much empirical evidence that shows a lot of cyclists having serious accidents and that’s what VicRoads base their bang for buck on.”
Snr Sgt Incoll said there has been a handful of fatal accidents in his 14 years as a policeman in Bright but not as many as you might expect.
“For the amount of traffic on our roads, both motor vehicles and cyclists, we are fortunate that we don’t have more serious accidents,” he said.
“We had two pretty serious ones last November but in my time here we might have had four fatalities, all on different sections of road.
“Yes, it would be great to have wider shoulders and bike lanes but to do that is a huge engineering task, particularly on roads up to Mt Buffalo, Mt Hotham or even Tawonga Gap.
“Not to mention it would cost millions and millions of dollars to do.”
Where VicRoads have been pro- active Snr Sgt Incoll said, is erecting signage to tell bike riders to be aware of cars and drivers to look out for cyclists.
“In the past 12 months VicRoads have put up more signage with messages for all road users and the bottom line is cyclists and drivers need to be respectful and courteous of each other,” he said.
“The region is growing as a cycling mecca and everyone just needs to take a deep breath and look after each other, we don’t want the police involved sorting out issues and people getting hurt.”
After recent funding was announced to upgrade the Great Alpine Road between Bairnsdale and Wangaratta, Snr Sgt Incoll is encouraging residents to suggest road improvements at VicRoads community information sessions over the next week.
The first will be held at Star Hotel in Bright tomorrow with people able to stop in from 3pm until 8pm while another session will take place in Myrtleford next Tuesday at the Neighbourhood Centre between 3pm and 8pm.