This morning I attended a breakfast forum hosted by the Road Safety Council, with a presentation by the XO of the Office of Road Safety.
What is the difference? ORS is Federal, RSC is state.I'm not sure...
There were about 30 people present, including a rep from the RAC, one from the Road Transport Association, several BUG representitives, another from the BTA, and other groups, including the Motorcycle Riders Association, IPCA, and the Cycling Development Office of the DPI.
One thing that was interesting was that cycling interests dominated the delegates, and that the only representative from a government body was cycling related!
While there I was able to make contact with the leaders of the UWA and Bayswater BUGs, and with the head of what used to be Bikewest. Much to our joint surprise, a fannish friend of mine was responsible for my invite - and had not connected me with my role! (Hi Emma!)
Iain Cameron from the ORS gave a presentation on where we are now with road safety - and WA is in the top 10 in the world in keeping the death rate down. If you keep it to the metro area, we are only beaten by the ACT! On the other hand, we have a very bad record when it comes to the injury rate. Serious injuries account for nearly $2.6billion of economic loss each year, in loss of productivity and in the cost of hospitalisation and rehabilitation. If we look at country WA, the figures almost reverse, with WA country areas being as bad as Greece, but having very low injury rates. This is likely to be due to the time it takes for medical help to arrive at the scence. He also raised the interesting statistic that the death and injury rates for cyclists and pedestrians have dropped over 20% since the introduction of the 50km urban speed limits.
From there, he went on to discuss a number of the initiatives in Holland, Denmark, and Sweden. These focus on using the system designers (which includes community leader groups, like the BUGs) to re-design the road and traffic systems to be less injurous. Not safer, as such, but less likely to cause serious injury. Why? Because we are close to the likely limit of the effectiveness of driver safety education.
Topics of interest and concern were then called for from the tables, and a number of issues were raised. I was not able to record them all, but some highlights were:
Using routes designed for heavy haulage for heavy haulage
Improving intersection seperation of traffic types (lanes for M/C and bikes)
Increasing taxes and restrictions on larger vehicles in heavy traffic urban areas (following the UK and Japan path)
Increasing the number of painted on-road cycle lanes
Increasing driver awareness of the existence of the new strategy process
Training drivers and cyclists to be better aware of each other
Stricter training requirements for M/C riders (esp. new riders, scooters, riders returning afer 20 years...)
I have requested the slides from the presentation, and I will post them when I receive them.
I will keep you all posted as more happens over the next 12 months. (edit to fix RSC vs ORS)