The Summerland Way in northern NSW is a popular motorcycle route, except for some very bumpy and dangerous sections for motorcyclists.
One section near Burnetts Creek, not far from the junction with the Mt Lindesay Highway and about 50km north of Kyogle, is due to be widened and resurfaced from next week.
Hopefully in widening the road, they don’t take some of the exciting twists out of it!
Transport for NSW Director North, Anna Zycki, said the $2.5 million project is funded by the NSW Government through a range of programs, including the Safer Roads Program, and will be carried out by Kyogle Council.
Google Maps images
“Summerland Way is a popular tourist and freight road, and an important link to regional NSW,” she says.
“This work will improve the safety and performance of this stretch of road, ensuring better outcomes for travellers and businesses alike.”
She obviously hasn’t noticed it’s also very popular with riders who should take the Lions Rd shortcut over the next couple of months while work is being carried out.
The Lions Rd has been upgraded but still has its share of bumpy tar as well.
Kyogle Council has also been tasked with the roadworks on the Lions Rd which has largely been good quality.
However, there have been some complaints from riders about dangerous loose gravel being left behind after roadworks.
The Summerland Way project will start on Monday 24 February 2020 on a 1.7km site at Burnetts Ck.
Work will be carried out between 7am and 5pm on weekdays and 8am and 1pm on Saturdays, if required, and is expected to be completed by the end of May, weather permitting.
Traffic control and a reduced speed limit will be in place with delays of up to five minutes expected.
For the latest traffic updates download the Live Traffic NSW App, visit livetraffic.com or call 132 701
The study began last year and involved a pre-test survey, practical session at the Crashlab in Huntingwood, NSW, and post-test survey and discussion.
Five motorcyclists with a range of riding experience rode over the bumps in straight lanes and on curves, in wet and dry conditions, while braking and accelerating at speeds up to 95km/h. First-aid officers were on site.
Each rider was asked about their perception of safety of ATLM before a practical session riding on ATLM at Crashlab, and then again after the practical session.
After the practical session, all of the participating motorcyclists reported higher confidence in riding over the strips.
Their perception of the safety of the strips on a scale of one to 10 went from 6.75 in the dry to 8.6 and from 5.45 in the wet to 7.60.
Dr Tana Tan
Safe System Solutions Research and Evaluations Lead, Dr Tana Tan says riders should still be wary of the road bumps.
“Riders who understand that ATLMs are not as detrimental to a motorcycle’s stability and handling as first thought are still likely to be aware of the presence of ATLMs but perhaps not be as concerned about them as before,” says the Honda VTR1000 rider.
“I would still encourage riders to not ride over them on purpose and treat them as they would any other line marking.”
Centre for Road Safety executive director Bernard Carlon says they will continue to “work closely with peak motorcycling groups” and monitor locations where ATLMs are installed.
“The marking is particularly effective in managing driver fatigue, one of the leading causes of road crashes in NSW,” he says.
“As we continue to monitor the locations where ATLM has been installed, all road users, including motorcyclists, can benefit from the marked improvement in safety they offer.”
If you head into roadworks, get ready to rumble over new temporary yellow rumble strips that have been deemed a safe for motorcycles.
The temporary portable rumble strips have been trialled in NSW for the past two years and have been used in other states including Victoria, Western Australia, South Australia and Queensland for a few years.
Now the bright yellow 20mm high strips are being formally introduced into NSW.
We asked SafeWork NSW if the strips would pose a slip hazard for riders, but they claim they “are safe for vehicles to drive over, including motorcyclists”.
We suggest riders approach the strips slowly and at right angles so the front wheel doesn’t slip along the leading edge.
They will be installed along with road signs and warnings on selected roadwork sites where the speed limit is 60km/h or less.
These rumble strips do exactly that … they “rumble” or vibrate when you ride over them.
They may also cause a slight bump in your bike’s steering.
SafeWork NSW Executive Director Operations, Tony Williams, says the temporary strips are a response to crashes at roadworks.
“With the current amount of roadwork projects and investment in NSW the more workers we have out there developing our infrastructure, the more we need to address the risks associated with construction work,” he says.
The best survival tip for a bushfire is to avoid it.
Also check the automobile clubs’ websites for the relevant state, as well as transport department traffic sites.
Try searching the Facebook pages of local fire and police pages.
Of course, you can use your eyes to see where the smoke is and use your commonsense to gauge wind direction and potential fire direction.
However, don’t think you can outrun a bushfire. They can spread faster than any motorcycle can go, often jumping roadways, reducing your chance of survival.
It is not only stupid, but also unlawful to disobey a police or emergency services direction.
If you are told not to go down a road or there is a roadblock, you must not got that way.
The same goes for flood situations.
Don’t start a bushfire
Take notice of total fire ban signs and warnings as you don’t want to start a bushfire.
Fines are hefty and police have been severe in punishing offenders. Don’t expect a good-natured warning!
Riders should also be aware they can accidentally start a fire by parking their bike on dry grass or leaves.
Firefighters say about 40% of all bushfires are accidentally started by humans dropping cigarette butts, campfires, discarding bottles, sparks from machinery and motorcycles.
The catalytic convertor, which is often underneath, is the hottest part of your bike and can easily spark a fire.
Adventure riders who travel off road should take special care.
Caught in a bushfire
If you are caught in a bushfire, your phone (or EPIRB, beacon, etc) will be your best friend.
Work out where you are exactly and then contact police and emergency services to give them your location.
Park your bike behind a solid structure to block as much heat as you can.
Turn off your bike’s engine, but leave the lights and/or hazard lights on.
Stay near your bike, but not too close in case it goes up in flames.
Try to get down low, near a water source or below the level of the fire as they move faster uphill.
Also try to get upwind from a fire.
Dangers of bushfires
Riders are more vulnerable than motorists in cars because they have no air conditioning to regulate air and temperature.
The biggest dangers for riders are from smoke inhalation, low visibility and eye irritation from smoke.
Carry water with you to flush out sore eyes and to ensure you stay hydrated.
Tips to avoid dehydration in a heatwave:
Don’t drink too much alcohol the night before a ride. It has a diuretic effect which means it causes you to urinate more water than you take in which means you are losing fluid. And you can’t counteract that by drinking lots of water because most of it will go out in your urine. Obviously, don’t drink alcohol while you are riding!
Start drinking water as soon as you wake and keep sipping water right up until you get on your bike. It takes about half an hour for water to reach your muscles. Guzzling water just before a ride is not good as it can make your stomach to cramp. The Royal Flying Doctor Service which has attended dehydrated riders in the Outback, recommends carrying 10 litres of water per day! Read their Outback riding tips here.
Wear ventilated motorcycle clothing. Leathers may protect you better in a crash, but they create a “microclimate” which impairs your ability to lose heat. As a result you will produce more sweat to decrease your core temp. Instead, wear a flow-through jacket. There are heaps of options on the market. Make sure they have vents in the back so the air flows through. Also, loosen the sleeves so you get plenty of air on your wrists which have a lot of blood vessels close to the skin to effectively cool you down. However, be aware that a flow-through jacket cools you down because it is drying the sweat off your skin which can lead to dehydration. A set of Ventz up your sleeve will also keep you cool as air flows up your arms.However, don’t be fooled by your level of coolness as ventilation can also cause you to loose more water through evaporation. So you still need to keep drinking plenty of water.
Don’t be tempted to remove your jacket in the heat! Exposed skin may feel cooler, but that’s because the sweat is evaporating quicker, but that is just making you more dehydrated. And while your skin feels cool, you’ll be tricked into staying in the sun longer which leads to sunburn. That also leads to dehydration because your body needs water to repair and renew damaged skin.
Get a Camelbak or other brand of water-dispensing unit so you can continue to take small sips of water while you are riding. I’ve seen riders on GoldWings and other big tourers with cup holders so they can take slurps from a water bottle. That’s obviously not as safe as the hands-free Camelback option, but anything is better than nothing. Some people don’t like Camelbaks because the water gets hot, but the temperature of the water doesn’t affect dehydration.
Stop more often than usual and hang out in the shade or in an air-conditioned cafe. Since you are drinking lots of fluids, you will probably need to stop anyway!
While you’re stopped, have a coffee, but take it easy. No need to swear off your favourite caramel latte, but avoid excess coffee. That also goes for caffeinated drinks such as Red Bull. High levels of caffeine have a diuretic effect just like alcohol.
While having a coffee break, avoid having too many sweet cakes, donuts and muffins. Sugar can dehydrate you if it gets to very high levels in your blood. This can happen if you are a diabetic, take certain medications or have an infection or some organ diseases. Sugar causes your kidneys to produce more urine to eliminate the sugar, leading to dehydration. Likewise, don’t drink too many sugary drinks. Best to stick to plain water, real fruit juices with no added sugar or drinks such as Gatorade that replace salts and minerals lost in sweat.
We’ve talked a lot about urine and it’s important that you monitor the colour. It should be a straw colour. If it’s too dark, you are dehydrated.
Sweat also depletes your body of sodium and if it becomes too low, it can cause many of the same symptoms as dehydration. The average diet probably has enough sodium, but it’s good to have a little bit of salt on your meals or drink sports drinks that have a sodium supplement. However, beware of sports drinks with caffeine and sugar.
More than three years after a Darwin rider died in a roadworks crash (photo above), the court has dished out cheap justice for the life of the rider.
Queensland company BMD Constructions had faced fines of up to $1.5m for failing to comply with work health and safety obligations over the death of Darwin musician Peter “Pedro” Bonnell.
Instead, NT Worksafe has accepted an enforceable undertaking from the company to spend just $305,000 in activities to improve motorist as well as worker safety.
However, it seems most of the money will be spent on staff awareness of silicosis and mental health issues, rather than motorist safety.
Only $20,000 will be spent on bringing workers up to the Work Zone Traffic Controller (WZ2) qualification standard.
An undisclosed sum will also be spent on creating an “e-learning training package for general awareness of traffic management for the NT construction industry”.
It seems like cheap justice for the life of a rider and does little to make other roadworks companies liable for shoddy roadworks and traffic management procedures.
Pedro died on April 20, 2016, when his motorbike crashed into a traffic diversion set up as part of the Tiger Brennan Drive duplication roadworks.
NT Worksafe alleged the traffic diversion set-up was not in accordance with an approved traffic control diagram and not compliant with Australian Standards.
They also alleged BMD Constructions used interlocking crash barriers without reflective bollards that were not compliant with Australian Standards, and failed in other safety areas.
NT WorkSafe Acting Executive Director Mel Garde said it was appropriate to accept the enforceable undertaking as the traffic diversion set-up was not the sole contributing factor to the incident.
She says several of the activities in the sanction will up-skill the construction industry on traffic management, creating a safer environment for workers and the wider community.
“Traffic management is an important factor in maintaining a safe workplace,” she says.
“There is an obligation to not only protect workers from the hazards of oncoming traffic, but also to protect road users from potential hazards created by the worksite.
“The driving skill and experience of road users will vary widely so it is critical that traffic management plans and traffic diversions are compliant with Australian Standards, so that all road users can safely navigate them.”
Queensland uses a specially equipped motorcycle to scan for specific road hazards such as the 15cm mid-lane bump that caused the double-fatal on the Great Alpine Rd, Ensay, in 2015.
“Road defects identified during regular inspections are recorded, prioritised and fixed under routine maintenance work programs,” a TMR spokesperson says.
“TMR uses an instrumented motorcycle for assessments of motorcycle routes and specific safety audits. These assessments are selected based on the history of motorcycle crashes as well as feedback from motorcyclists to identify opportunities to improve the road and roadside infrastructure.
“The motorcycle is equipped with sensors and gyroscopes to measure force, wheel speeds, and suspension movement. GPS is also used to track location, speed and time along the ride, so data sets can be synchronised.
“The motorcycle also includes two cameras (front and rear) and two microphones. Commentary from the rider is used to further determine any unsafe road characteristics.
“The rider is generally experienced and has local knowledge of the road. If weather permits, rides are undertaken in both dry and wet conditions.”
Bike for loan
TMR says their instrumented motorcycle is available for use by other governments and road agencies to inspect roads.
It has previously been loaned and used for audits in New South Wales and South Australia.
However, VicRoads has not accepted the offer.
We asked whether they considered their own specialist motorcycle for the job of scanning for road hazards.
VicRoads has recently worked with Victoria Police solo riders with instrumented motorcycles to collect data on popular motorcycle routes.Some of the surveillance officers being trained are motorcycle riders and VicRoads will consider how motorcycles can be used more during safety audits and inspections.The road hazard training program will focus on hazards for motorcyclists, such as small potholes and bumps, especially at tight bends.The training courses are expected to be completed mid-year.”
Transport for NSW tested TMR’s specialised motorcycle on roads in Northern NSW but has no plans to buy one of their own.
The NSW Centre for Road Safety conducted motorcyclist-specific road safety audits on four popular motorcyclist routes in 2018 — Gwydir Highway, Bruxner Highway, Waterfall Way and Grafton-Ebor Road — to develop a program of future works including 22km of underrun barriers in the next financial year.
Meanwhile, TMR is working with university researchers to better understand how motorcycle safety audits of roads can be improved.
“TMR will consider the findings from the Victorian Coroner in relation to the fatal crash that occurred in March 2015 at Great Alpine Road, Ensay,” the TMR spokesperson says.
He encouraged all road users, including motorcyclists, to report unsafe road conditions.
Report road hazards
You can report hazards on local roads to the relevant local council.
If the hazard is on a state road, report it to the state authorities:
If you believe the hazard is lifer threatening such as a washed-out bridge, you can ring 000.
“There would be general contractual obligation to repair defects but I would be surprised if anyone would agree to a guarantee for five years,” Steve says.
It should be noted that any extension to the defects liability period would be likely to result in a higher cost for roadworks contracts.
However, a short warranty and low contract price may be false economics as it would possibly cost a higher rate to get contractors to return to fix faulty roadworks after the warranty period.
Warranty periods in states
We contacted roads departments in all states and territories to ask about their roadworks contract warranty periods.
A NSW Roads and Maritime Services spokesperson says they require all road works to be delivered “defect free, fit for purpose and in accordance with contract requirements and specifications”.
“As per industry practice, contracts also specify a defects liability period during which contractors warrant the works and return to remedy any defects identified.”
They did not specify the warranty period.
“Warranty periods vary across contracts and from maintenance to construction projects,” the spokesperson said.
“The duration and terms of warranty periods are confidential under the respective agreements entered into with Roads and Maritime Services contractors.”
VicRoads Director of Procurement Services, Felicity Roberts, says all their contracts include a defect liability period, which requires any issues arising shortly after a project is complete to be repaired.
“For current contracts, the DLP is between one and two years, depending on the size and scale of the project delivered,” she says.
It is believed there are no current plans to change this time period.
A Queensland Transport and Main Roads spokesperson says most of their construction contracts have a defects liability period of just three months.
“However some major projects may have longer defect periods,” the spokesperson said.
“With any project involving the use of asphalt, the supplier provides an additional warranty of up to two years.
“If additional infrastructure such as service utilities are installed, we generally require these works to be carried out without disturbing the road surface.
“When this isn’t possible we require the installer to warrant the integrity of the site for two years.”
WA Main Roads says their contracts include provisions for the correction of defects caused by poor construction processes.
“The length of the defects liability or corrections period will vary depending on the form of contract, but typically ranges from one year to seven years,” they say.
“In addition to these contractual requirements, Main Roads has resources in place to provide a timely response to maintenance issues on its network, including repairing potholes.”
None of the roads departments was able to provide details of the number of call backs for warranty works “as this information is subject to confidential obligations under relevant contracts”.
In other words, the taxpayer never finds out!
Other states and territories have not yet replied to our request for information.
UK Transport Secretary Chris Grayling says their proposed specifications on highway roadworks would demand the contractor returns to bring the road surface back to normal in five years.
“Potholes are the biggest enemy for road users and this government is looking at all options to keep our roads in the best condition,” he says.
“Road surfaces can be made worse by utility companies, so imposing higher standards on repairs will help keep roads pothole-free for longer.”
A fatal motorcycle crash on a corrugated road surface has sparked a new training program for inspectors to look out for specific road hazards that endanger motorcyclists.
VicRoads Safe System Road Infrastructure Program director Scott Lawrence says the training for existing surveillance officers would help road crews “better identify imperfections and other potential road hazards for motorcyclists”.
“The program has been designed by leading road safety experts with extensive motorcycle safety knowledge to help identify road imperfections and other hazards and ensure these are remedied as soon as possible,” Scott says.
“The surveillance officer teams, some of which include motorcyclists, are committed to reducing road hazards including surface imperfections (particularly on bends and on the approaches to bends), debris and other environmental factors that could destabilise riders.”
He advises that motorcyclists can also call 13 11 70 to report a road hazard.
Fatal road hazards
Victorian Motorcycle Council media spokesman John Eacott says the move is a direct result of “a fatal motorcycle accident involving a pavement shove (corrugations) which destabilised the bike”.
He says the training “can only be seen as a positive”.
“The VMC support this and look forward to more road safety initiatives that make riding safer,” he says.
“One such initiative which is long overdue is an extensive campaign to educate all road users about motorcycle lane filtering and both its safety and congestion-relieving benefits.”
Former No 1 member of the Motorcycle Riders Association of Australia, Rodney Brown suggests motorcycle riders have input into the new VicRoads training.
“VicRoads needs to undertake a proper training needs analysis in partnership with motorcycle riders, pillions and other stake holders,” he says.
Dean Marks, the independent rider representative on the Motorcycle Experts Advisory Panel to the Roads Minister, questions the ability of VicRoads to respond fast enough to road hazards.
“VicRoads has not really done any sort of serious advisory work to notify riders and drivers of this number and process. It is something you need to search for,” he says.
“As we know, road conditions that may be suitable for four-wheeled vehicles may have a very different and fatal outcome for riders.
“Should riders stop and call every time they encounter unsafe road conditions, they would be lucky to cover 200 metres in a day.
“We are yet to see what will be done in the form of response to any hazard called in. We already have a plethora of situations where VicRoads have been advised of serious hazards and they still remain unmarked for elongated periods of time.
“I honestly feel that riders are treated with a great deal of contempt. In any environment where safety is paramount, education and proactive actions are first and foremost.”
An extension of the bus lane trial in Hoddle and Fitzgerald streets to include the Eastern Freeway inbound from the Chandler Highway to Hoddle Street, and Victoria Parade between Hoddle Street and Brunswick Street;
Developing a learner and novice rider pack containing tips, resources, a high-visibility vest and other “safety” equipment; and
The MotoCAP motorcycle protective clothing star rating system will be “further promoted to help riders make better choices when it comes to buying safety gear”.