Safety up­grades costly

Wider road shoul­ders for cy­clists un­likely due to bud­get re­straints

Alpine Observer - - News - By JUSTIN JENVEY

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.

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