In December 2011 I made a submission to the Western Australian Road Safety Council outlining a number of concerns that I had in respect to cyclist safety on Western Australian roads. I included with my submission a CD with a number of videos illustrating what I experience on the road and also the type of incidents that the Western Australian Police consider as not being an offence. I also sent a copy of my submission to the Minister of Road Safety, the Honourable Rob Johnston and to the vulnerable road users representative on the Road Safety Council, Mr Matt Brown, Head of Member Advocacy at the Royal Automobile Club of Western Australia (RAC).
I have received a response from Minister of Road Safety, Mr Rob Johnson and from Professor Holman, Independent Chair of the Road Safety Council. I have not had a response, not even an acknowledgement, from Mr Brown or the RAC. I do wonder if I am expecting to much from a motoring organisation whom is meant to represent vulnerable road users? No; manners are manners.
[Update]: Well in early February 2012 Mr Matt Brown, Head of Advocacy at the RAC responded. You can read his reply here. It is not worthier of further response.
So what sort of response did my submission to the Road Safety Council and the Minister elicit?
First the Response from the Minister of Road Safety, Mr Rob Johnson
Mr Johnson’s full response can be viewed here (PDF)
The Government takes cycling safety very seriously and initiatives by the government to improve cycling safety include school and community education, improved speed enforcement, the introduction of 50km/h urban speed limits and expansion of the network of cycle paths in Perth and regional WA.
Community education includes the ‘Road Sense’ campaign in The West Australian to remind people about general road rules and regulations relevant to every day driving which are not always fully understood or complied with.
Road Sense has been running since August 2001 and messages relating to cyclist safety have included. ln view of your concerns, l have asked that articles related to cycling safety continue in future editions of Road Sense.
To further improve safety outcomes for cyclists the Road Safety Council, through its road user representative (the RAC), has been conducting forums to identify further measures that can be introduced by the government and other stakeholders.
The third and final forum will be held in early 2012. The Road Safety Council will then prepare recommendations for the government. I can assure you that the government will give every consideration to any identified actions.(my bold)
A positive to take away from the Minister’s response is that articles related to cycling safety will continue in future editions of Road Sense. Mind you I don’t recall ever seeing these Road Sense articles. Has anyone?
What was disappointing was the lack of acknowledgement of the lack of Police action and the need to at least consider possible culture issues within the Western Australian Police. I guess that was expecting too much. Still the Minister is at least aware of cyclist road safety issues now and they are on his radar. We just need to keep them there.
The Response from Professor Holman, Road Safety Council
Professor Holman’s full response can be viewed here (PDF)
In all honesty I am struggling to find something worthy of a grab from Professor Holman’s response. Each time I read it I feel rather disappointed. That said here are a couple of key paragraphs:
The Road Safety Council’s primary focus for cyclist safety in recent years has been on reducing the speed at which vehicles are travelling.
Not one of the incidents I highlighted on the CD or have posted to my YouTube channel have had speed as an issue in threatening myself. With few exceptions I have not seen anything from other cyclists videos on YouTube or in discussions at the Australian Cycling Forums which suggest speed is a significant area of concern for cyclists. I do wonder if the Road Safety Council really takes cyclist safety seriously or has an understanding of what cyclists are experiencing.
Reference is then made to cyclist road safe forums which I have participated in. This is followed by the comment:
Notwithstanding these initiatives, it is acknowledged that knowledge and acceptance of the road rules by motorists is one area that requires ongoing attention.
Great, how about a continuing education campaign well beyond Road Sense that includes education road users about cyclist safety, their place on the road and respect for all?
I am aware of the Road Safety Strategy, Towards Zero 2008 – 2020 and applaud the Council’s initiative but I do question if this is really working from a cyclists’s perspective.
I do hope that the Road Safety Council takes a more proactive role in cyclist safety on the road.
What are your thoughts on the responses from the Minister and Professor Holman? What would you like to see the Road Safety Council doing? The Minister doing? The Western Australian Police doing? Share your thoughts and send them a message. Please do share your views in the comments box below.