Molly calls for speed change near busses

Benalla Ensign - - News - By Simon Ruppert

Twelve-year-old Molly Ward gave Be­nalla Ru­ral City coun­cil­lors some­thing to think about when she ad­dressed Wed­nes­day’s coun­cil meeting.

Molly, who was joined by her mum Cather­ine, spoke pas­sion­ately on the sub­ject of street signs around school bus routes with ref­er­ence to her brother Luke, who was hit by a car in Novem­ber 2015.

‘‘Can the coun­cil please place more signs on pub­lic roads to make them aware of school busses?’’ she asked.

She also re­quested that laws were im­ple­mented to en­sure mo­torists trav­elled at a max­i­mum of 40 km/h when pass­ing school busses.

Luke Ward was hit by a car trav­el­ling at 85 km/h af­ter getting off a school bus.

He was rushed by air to the Royal Chil­dren’s Hos­pi­tal where he spent six months re­cov­er­ing be­fore be­ing able to re­turn home and to school.

The point was raised that if the the car was trav­el­ling be­low 40 km/h his in­juries would have been far less se­vere.

Coun­cil­lors thanked Molly for her ques­tion and Mayor Don Firth said the coun­cil would take it on no­tice and re­spond to her di­rectly by let­ter.

That let­ter is likely to please Molly and her fam­ily with the coun­cil ac­tively tak­ing steps to ad­dress the is­sues raised.

Fol­low­ing Luke’s ac­ci­dent a re­view of all ru­ral bus routes was un­der­taken with in­put from the school bus co­or­di­na­tor, coun­cil rep­re­sen­ta­tives and VicRoads.

As a re­sult Be­nalla Ru­ral City Coun­cil has in­stalled ad­di­tional sig­nage on the Sa­maria, Gooma­l­ibee, Tungamah, and Up­per Lurg routes, while VicRoads has im­proved sig­nage on the Mans­field and Ta­tong routes.

The coun­cil will re­view this again in 2018 as stu­dents and stops can change from year to year.

Cr Firth con­grat­u­lated Molly on her pre­sen­ta­tion and her com­po­sure in speak­ing up about an im­por­tant safety mat­ter.

‘‘School bus stop safety is very im­por­tant,’’ Cr Firth said.

The Mayor said Molly’s re­quest to change the speed limit and, there­fore the road rules, would be pre­sented to the state gov­ern­ment, VicRoads and Vic­to­ria Po­lice through the coun­cil’s lo­cal safety com­mit­tee.

Res­i­dents are en­cour­aged to re­port safety im­prove­ment ideas to the coun­cil by phon­ing their Cus­tomer Ser­vice Cen­tre on (03) 5760 2600 or email­ing coun­cil@be­nalla.vic.gov.au

Road to re­cov­ery: Luke Ward re­cov­er­ing with his fam­ily last year.

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