OUR ROAD OF HORROR
Authorities baffled as Geelong’s deadliest stretch claims sixth life this year
MORE than half of Geelong’s road fatalities this year have occurred on a single stretch, with another life claimed yesterday when a pedestrian was struck on Thompson Rd.
The death of the 36-year-old Norlane man is the sixth on the stretch in the city’s north this year — five on Thompson Rd and one on its extension to the south, Shannon Ave.
Authorities are baffled as to why Thompson Rd has suddenly become a death trap after five fatality-free years.
MORE than half of Greater Geelong’s road fatalities this year have occurred on a single stretch, with another life claimed yesterday when a pedestrian was struck on Thompson Rd.
A 36-year-old Norlane man died yesterday after he was struck by a car about 5.45am near the intersection of Elmore St in Norlane.
His death is the sixth on the stretch — five on Thompson Rd and one on its extension to the south, Shannon Ave. Ten people in total have died on Geelong roads so far this year.
Baffled authorities are working to identify why the stretch has suddenly become a death trap after five fatality-free years.
Before this year, the last Thompson Rd fatality occurred in 2013 when an 83year-old male driver died, Transport Accident Commission figures show.
Geelong Highway Patrol Leading Senior Constable Shane Dignan said yesterday’s victim was crossing the road in dark clothes with a bike and a trailer in a poorly lit area.
The driver assisted officers with their inquiries and is not expected to be charged.
The crashes on Thompson Rd this year have killed two pedestrians, two drivers and a passenger. The Shannon Ave fatality occurred when a man died after trying to cross the road at the intersection of Lascelles Ave in May.
Authorities have been unable to pinpoint the cause of the sudden surge in deaths on the road that is used by 16,000 vehicles daily.
In the five years to December last year 71 crashes occurred along Thompson Rd.
Of those crashes 25 led to motorists sustaining serious injuries, while less serious injuries occurred in 46 crashes.
Roads Minister Jaala Pulford said it had been an “unacceptably awful” year on Thompson Rd.
Regional Roads Victoria was working with Victoria Police to “bring answers” regarding the stretch of road, she said.
RRV south western director Emma Miller-Olsen said a trial traffic lane arrangement was being rolled out next week to improve safety along the road.
“We’ll carefully monitor the road during the sixmonth trial and will evaluate the safety outcomes, while we continue investigating longerterm improvements for the full length of Thompson Road,” she said.
Leading Senior-Constable Dignan said the spate of fatalities was very concerning. “I can’t explain it,” he said. “I can’t remember seeing a length of road that is a 60km/h zone just getting so many fatalities.”
He said police frequently patrolled the road, and a combination of factors had contributed to this year’s crashes.
TAC lead director of road safety Samantha Cockfield, said a tragic year had unfolded on Victorian roads.
“While the statistics show high-speed regional roads pose the biggest concern, there are lower-speed roads closer to Victoria’s regional centres that have seen disproportionate rates of trauma,” she said.
Concerned traders along the strip have told the Geelong Advertiser of inattentive and speeding drivers creating a dangerous environment along Thompson Rd.