RTA urged to get the message out on road rules

New report calls for the RTA to promote greater understanding of road rules, including through school-based programs and media campaigns

By Brad Gardner | December 6, 2010

The NSW Roads and Traffic Authority should begin a comprehensive campaign to promote greater understanding of road rules, according to a new parliamentary report on road safety.

The Staysafe Joint Standing Committee on Road Safety’s Vulnerable Road Users report highlights ignorance of road rules among the general public and has urged the RTA to get proactive to address the problem.

The report, which mainly deals with bicyclists and motorbike riders, says the RTA should develop education resources for schools, include more information on vulnerable road users in licensing tests and run targeted media and public information material.

"Based on the evidence received by the Committee, there is overwhelming support for a renewed focus on the rights and obligations of all who share the road," the report says.

"Submissions and witnesses appearing before Staysafe all refer to the lack of knowledge of the rules applying to those who use the road in different categories from themselves."

The Committee says the campaign must reinforce the message that roads are to be shared and emphasise the different rules that apply to different road users.

The report recommends the NSW Government work collaboratively with councils to plan and implement road safety initiatives at a local level.

"The Committee also recommends that separate signal phases for bicyclists at intersections, which stop all vehicular traffic while permitting cyclists to proceed through the intersection in designated directions, should be trialled where appropriate."

In releasing the report, Committee chairman Geoff Corrigan cited the need for all road users to share the network and for governments to react to the rise in the number of cyclists using it.

"The road network is undergoing a dramatic change in usage. Roads now have to accommodate an increasing and diverse number of vulnerable riders and this requires the development of improved strategies to share the roads safely," he says.

Corrigan says the number of cyclists will double in the next six years and that the introduction of cycleways will help meet the increase.

The report recommends reducing the current alcohol limit for motorbike riders from 0.05 percent to 0.02 to reduce the number of accidents involving riders compared to vehicle drivers.

"Riding a motorcycle requires great coordination and balancing skills and high powers of concentration," Corrigan says.

The RTA is being asked to establish a crash data branch within its ranks responsible for collecting information on off-road injuries and fatalities and developing strategies to reduce bicycle injuries.

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