Crash vic­tim’s call to lower speed

Whitsunday Times - - FRONT PAGE - By Rory Sheav­ils

STAND­ING at the in­ter­sec­tion watch­ing cars whiz by at 100kmh, Noe­lene Hel­man flashed back to six weeks prior, when she lay in­jured and her car wrecked.

Ms Hel­man was lucky to es­cape with no se­ri­ous in­juries but she’s wor­ried the next crash at the Gre­gory–Can­non­va­l­ley Rd cor­ner will end in tragedy.

She’s call­ing for the speed limit at the no­to­ri­ous black spot to be re­duced to 70kmh and bet­ter sig­nage to re­duce the risks.

THE Gre­gory–Can­non­va­l­ley Rd turn-off is a no­to­ri­ous black spot but, for Mt Ju­lian res­i­dent Noe­lene Hel­man, it’s be­come per­sonal.

Six weeks ago, Ms Hel­man was head­ing to­wards Air­lie Beach when she col­lided with a tourist’s car turn­ing from Shute Har­bour Rd, send­ing her car fly­ing and land­ing her in hospital.

“I was lucky not to have any bro­ken bones or worse, just very se­vere bruis­ing from shoul­ders to knees,” she said.

With her “beau­ti­ful lit­tle car” writ­ten off, Ms Hel­man now wants ac­tion.

“The fact that the traf­fic both on Shute Har­bour Rd and Gre­gory–Can­non­va­l­ley Rd ap­proach­ing that cor­ner can travel at 100kmh must be changed,” she said.

“I would sug­gest that the ap­proach to this cor­ner on both roads, both ways, be re­duced to 70kmh.

“Hope­fully, this will help driv­ers be more aware of what is around them and this change should be made now.”

Al­though one of the area’s lat­est vic­tims, Ms Hel­man is cer­tainly not alone in her calls for change.

The Whit­sun­day Times last week re­ported that a sur­vey con­ducted by RACQ found the cor­ner to be one of the most dan­ger­ous in the re­gion.

The re­port high­lighted many of the same points as Ms Hel­man, namely the 100kmh speed limit and the lack of driver care.

“You can see it your­self,” Ms Hel­man said, stand­ing safely away from the in­ter­sec­tion.

“It’s just al­ways been some­where where peo­ple scream along.”

As if to high­light the dan­ger­ous­ness of the area, a two-ve­hi­cle crash on Mon­day, March 21, fol­lowed al­most ex­actly the same for­mula as that of Ms Hel­man.

A 20-year-old Nor­we­gian tourist ended up on the wrong side of Shute Har­bour Rd as they at­tempted to make the turn, col­lid­ing with a 62-year-old Gre­gory River man’s car trav­el­ling to­wards Air­lie Beach.

This crash also saw the vic­tim hos­pi­talised, and the tourist is­sued with an in­fringe­ment no­tice for fail­ing to give way.

A stop sign for Gre­gory–Can­non­va­l­ley Rd and a turn­ing slip for the north­bound lane of Shute Har­bour Rd would also help the situation, Ms Hel­man said.

“Also, when it is cane sea­son, it is im­pos­si­ble to see what is ap­proach­ing,” she said.

“But this is some­thing we have to live with; it is a fact of life.

“Maybe some big­ger, bet­ter sig­nage would also help.”

DANGER ZONE: Noe­lene Hel­man wants to see the speed limit near the Gre­gory–Can­non­va­l­ley Rd turn-off dropped to 70kmh af­ter a traf­fic ac­ci­dent landed her in hospital. Photo: Rory Sheav­ils

Photo: Mandy Hel­man.

WRITE OFF: Ms Hel­man's Suzuki Swift was ru­ined in the crash.

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