Road Safety: Consultation Vespas into Thin Air

The Victorian Scooters Riders Association (VSRA), An umbrella group representing four largest Victorian Scooter clubs, claim that their concerns on road safety have not been given due consideration. They have also expressed concern that other Motorcycle safety organizations have not been included in the City of Melbourne Road Safety Plan to be considered by the City Council on Tuesday, April 16. The report sets the basis of Council traffic management project funding for the next four years.

Australians are being encouraged to jump on a motorcycle or scooter
as a way of tackling congestion within the country’s major cities.

The City Council claim to have consulted with the Motorcycle Riders Association (MRA) a claim denied by  MRA president,  The MRA is a social club only and do not provide advocacy support on Road Safety issues., They leave this up to the Victorian Motorcycle Council and the Independent Riders’ Association.  Neither are listed in the City Council’s report

Stephen Bardsley, spokesperson for the VSRA, in his newsletter to member associations has expressed his concern that a number of issues raised with the City Council has been ignored or played down in the report to Council.

The Melbourne City Council will vote on the Plan this coming Tuesday and as far as I can see the final Report is a disgrace, the opinions of Motorcycle and Scooter Riders have been ignored and the final Report is anti Motorcycle and Scooter Riders at the expense of being totally pro Pedestrian and Pedal Cyclists. 
What is of great concern to me is that the Report states that the VSRA were consulted and this could be seen as our endorsement of the PlanStephen Bardsley

The Victorian Motorcycle and Scooter Riding Groups are unanimous in opposing the plan

In October  2012 the VSRA commented

The report seems to be preparing all and sundry it should be expected that Motorcycle / Scooter Parking on the pavement will no longer be allowed, this really would be a backward step and a short sighted approach, in particular considering the Report acknowledges and includes statements such as:

 “There is a lack of attention to the needs of motorcyclists in the design of street environments”.
and“There is a general lack of appropriate parking for motorcycles in the CBD”

The report on road safety has not considered a number of issues concerning motorcycles and scooter riders.  They have included bus lane sharing only but as a low priority.  No consideration has been given to issues such as Lane Filtering, Shared use of underutilized bike lanes, improved traffic management to ease congestion. Turn left at anytime with care options or alternative routes for bicycle paths that do not impact on major transit routes. And slippery line road markings. It would appear that motorcycles concerns have been ignored or not taken seriously.  An excuse to be seen to be consulting.

Motorcycle/scooter riders were not consulted when the City Council undertook its consultation process on the City’s Bike paths.

VSRA Policy documents

Media Press Releases (Link)

Road Safety: Engineering Congestion

Melbourne City Council is considering its Road Safety report at next Tuesdays “Future Melbourne” Committee Meeting

The published report, which is used to justify Council expenditure on Melbourne Road Network, has come under strong criticism with community Groups accusing the Council Engineers Department of excluding commuters concerns.

The consultation process has been a sham.  Motorcycle groups in particular have been ignored.  The Council claims it has consulted community groups such as the MRA (Motorcycle Riders Association). We called the President of the MRA and they said  they had not been consulted. The MRA no longer provided advocacy support and had they been contacted they would have referred them to the Victorian Motorcycle Council. (VMC)   the President of the VMC said they had not been consulted either.

The City Council is planning to use this report to justify its budget and expenditure over the next five years.  Millions of dollars are being spent on locking down the City placing the interest of the Bicycle Lobby Group first.

Projects such as the reduction of traffic lanes on princess Bridge, LaTrobe Street, Albert Road Bike Lanes reducing traffic lanes to a single lane.

The effect of the City Council’s Traffic plan is to cause more congestion and cost burden on the City’s Business sector. City traders are complaining that the cost of service deliveries and taxis in the city area are going up  as courier and service delivery companies try to recoup their costs associated with ever increasing traffic congestion and increased time in delivery engineered by the City of Melbourne. The more congestion the more the Engineers claim they need to throw more money at to solve the problems they and our urban designers have created or made worst.

Of course money and cost is no barrier to our city engineering department.  Instead of utilizing existing staff they have proposed to create a new managerial position to look into road safety. 

They have no one looking after building site public safety issue or inspectors inspecting building hoardings in the City. Surely there this position can be filled without adding more staff?

Swanston Street has been spared detailed analysis in the Traffic Safety Plan as have Trams. Already the City Council has had to revise Swantson Street design plan in an effort in an effort to minimize accidents.

Other issues such as “Turn Left at any time with Care”, lane filtering for motorcycles, shared use of underutilized bike lanes, The type of road marking paint used to eliminate slipping etc are all missing from the report, not considered or given low priority.

The use of Z class trams with a angled step in the front of the Tram is knows to wedge passengers feet between the tram and the new super stops. There is no mention of excluding these trans from the City Center.

There are cheaper and better alternatives than that proposed by the City of Melbourne Engineers.

The Council’s priority is wrong and we are heading in the wrong direction. The statistics presented by the council are suspect. But what they have shown is that there has been an increase in risks to road safety since 2000.

The more the council locks down the city the more underutilized bike path and road closures the more accidents.

The Council should be exploring developing bike paths in less congested road space not on the major thoroughfare routes.  Morells Bridge and Sandridge Bridge not Princess Bridge. Franklin Street not LaTrobe Street, Cardigan Street as opposed to Lyon/Russel Streets. Spencer Street could accommodate more bicycle traffic leading towards South Melbourne, St Kilda.  There is also better options available in the Docklands precinct and future connections to Fishermans Bend.

The Council must review and reject the “Greens agenda” and listen to all stakeholders and local business concerns.

Public Meeting Melbourne City Council Committee Room, Administration entrance (Cr Little Collins St and Swanston Streets) Tuesday April 16, 5:30PM