Steps to improve road behaviour welcome, but focus on safety of vulnerable road users must continue

8 October 2014
A new campaign that seeks to highlight the importance of basic courtesies when on the road is an overdue but good step forward in the ongoing efforts to address safety concerns for vulnerable road users, said road safety law firm Maurice Blackburn.

Maurice Blackburn Principal Andrew McKenzie said a focus on vulnerable road users, including pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists, had been long overdue and it was pleasing that the concerns about safety for these groups were now being given prominence by the State Government in the broader road safety space.

“Maurice Blackburn, together with Safe Cycling Australia, were one of many road safety expert groups who lodged submissions to the recent Parliamentary cycling inquiry outlining concerns about the lack of focus on the safety of vulnerable road users,” Mr McKenzie said.

“As we made clear from our submission, educating people is key to raising awareness that road users need to make a greater effort to be aware and take a longer look to protect the more vulnerable users on our roads.

“For too long the safety concerns of vulnerable road users have been overlooked and it is an area that continues to warrant further policy focus to improve safety, and the cycling inquiry was an important step in helping to address some of these issues.

“The reality is that even seemingly minor incidents involving pedestrians, cyclists or motorcyclists can have extremely serious physical, financial and emotional consequences for victims and their families.

“The trial of minimum passing distances was an important step and something we are hearing from cyclists that this is leading to significant change in driver behaviour on our roads.

“This, coupled with the announcement of a dedicated awareness campaign, are a start in helping to level out the playing field, but there is still a long way to go to improve the attitudes of all road users towards those who are most vulnerable on our roads, particularly pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists,” he said.