Crash victim’s call to lower speed
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
WRITE OFF: Ms Helman's Suzuki Swift was ruined in the crash.