Tag Archives: roadworks

Reporting potholes pays off

Reporting potholes and other road damage to relevant authorities can pay off, says a long-time advocate for better road maintenance to save the lives of riders.

Rodney Brown says he reported a massive pothole on McGeorge Road, South Gisbourne, to Victorian Roads Minister Ben Carroll and was surprised to find it had then been fixed.

He says the Minister passed the information on to the Macedon Rangers Shire Council who quickly remedied the dangerous road surface.

They also relied to Rod and said “I hope I have educated our road safety decision-makers to promptly fix our roads, especially for motorcyclists”.

Rod says the design of motorcycles and scooters means they have unique dynamic stability characteristics that make them more “sensitive to changes in the shape, texture or skid resistance of the road surface, including the presence of water, potholes, ruts, poor road matching or debris on the road”.

“Too many motorcyclists are dying on our roads throughout Victoria due to road damage not being considered,” Rod says.

Rodney Brown Rider's call for ute tarps rejected bike lanes
Rodney Brown

In fact, a 2018 British Automobile Association survey found that riders are three times more likely to be involved in crashes caused by potholes and poor road surfaces than any other vehicle type.

It found that while potholes cause damage to cars, they are a greater injury threat to riders as they have to swerve to avoid potholes which can also cause crashes.

Also, a World Health Organization Global status report on road safety 2018 found that the motorcycle road toll could be reduced by improving roads along with other issues such as better speed and alcohol/drug use enforcement, safer motorbikes and mandatory helmet laws.

Maritha Keyser Cyclist rule endangers motorcyclists

Rod says road authorities are expected to establish reasonable standards for road construction, inspection, maintenance and prompt repairs so that roads are suitable for all vehicles, including motorcyclists. 

Maintenance contractors have an obligation to ensure that where works are carried out on the road, these are done in a manner that ensures the safety of all road users, and that the road surface is correctly reinstated or altered.”

However, it is also important for riders to be involved by reporting road damage to relevant authorities.

If the issue is not fixed, at least a rider who crashes as a result the damage may be able to sue council since it had been alerted to the issue.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Urgent road repairs a must for rider safety

A massive and potentially lethal pothole on a popular motorcycle road that has been reported to authorities is still not repaired weeks later, says Victorian rider Rodney Brown.

“It was 6.30 on a Sunday morning, dark and foggy, when I came across this road hazard killer,” he says. 

“The water bottle (28cm long and 9cm wide) I placed in it gives you some perspective of this road safety hazard monster, especially for motorcycle riders. 

“This death trap needs to be fixed immediately.”

Rodney reported the pothole on McGeorge Road, South Gisborne, to the local council and VicRoads but says it is still not fixed.

“The road is often used by local motorcycle riders and riders visiting the region who are looking for a scenic ride on a regional road,” he says.

“I rang VicRoads and they referred me on to my local council.

“The council knows about it and only gives these road hazards a quick repair job.

“It has been like this for weeks without any repair.”

Safety issue for riders

Pothole roadworks road hazards inspect
Dangerous road conditions are no laughing matter for riders

Over the past few years we have reported numerous cases where riders have crashed in unacceptable road conditions thanks to poor design, inferior surfacing and a lack of maintenance.

Just this month we reported on a crash were a rider successfully sued over a poorly maintained Victorian road.

Potholes and other road maintenance issues are frequently cited in local and international studies.

A 2018 British Automobile Association survey found that while potholes cause damage to cars, they are a greater injury threat to riders with riders three times more likely to be involved in crashes caused by potholes and poor road surfaces than any other vehicle type.

A 244-page 2016 Austroads report, titled “Infrastructure Improvements to Reduce Motorcycle Casualties”, found that roads need to be better designed, funded and maintained to reduce the risk of motorcycle crashes.

And while riders are urged to report road defects, that only yields a result if the problem is promptly fixed.

If a council or state authority is informed of an issue and a crash occurs before it is fixed, then the authority is culpable.

That may yield a result in terms of compensation, but it does nothing to prevent the accident from happening.

Rodney says there need to be roving road crews available to attend major roads hazards, especially on weekends.

Rodney Brown Rider's call for ute tarps rejected bike lanes
Rodney Brown

“If not there soon should be road crews established to do so,” he says.

“With all the talk from VicRoads and local council nothing has changed in my 50 years as far as fixing regional roads. 

He says the concerns of motorcycle riders in parliament have been abandoned.

“This (pothole) is just another example where our government doesn’t think motorcycle.”

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Researcher explains roadworks speeds

Motorcyclist and road safety researcher Ross Blackman (pictured) has waded into our debate last week about whether roadworks speed limits are appropriate

Ross works with the Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety – Queensland (CARRS-Q) at the Queensland University of Technology in the areas of both motorcycle safety and safety at roadworks.

Here is his take on roadworks speed limits:

Readers’ comments on the article offer a range of perspectives, some of which seem highly speculative. The article also makes a couple of potentially misleading points.

One of these is that roadwork speed limits in the US are only advisory. Although ‘work zone’ traffic management does vary across the many US jurisdictions, the country has produced comprehensive research and guidelines on work zone speed enforcement (see NCHRP Report 746) and has both regulatory and advisory limits. Highways in the US typically have many more lanes than Australian roads and the additional road space often allows more moderate speed limit reductions than required in Australia where roads are narrower. The US approach doesn’t achieve safe outcomes, with a current yearly average of around 600 fatal work zone traffic crashes according to NHTSA data.    

In the UK, the trialling and subsequent approval of 55 – 60mph (~100km/h) highway roadwork speed limits applies, according to Highways England, to situations ‘where they could be safely implemented’. These situations include specific scenarios and conditions, including implementing the higher limits for non-workdays and when no workers are present. They are not default limits for highway roadworks. While higher speed limits can be expected to produce greater compliance, this does not necessarily lead to greater safety. As noted in the TRL report on this issue, selection of roadwork speed limits ‘should be made on a case-by-case basis’. Calls for uniformity in roadwork speed limits are understandable. However, uniform limits would logically be set low to address the highest potential risk scenarios. This conflicts with other calls for flexibility, where different speed limits may be applied as appropriate to specific conditions.\

Australia

Resurfacing Roadworks midweek warriors regional

In Australia, highway roadwork speed limits are typically progressive, with initial warning signs (e.g. Roadwork Ahead/Reduce Speed) placed at least several hundred metres upstream of (before) a work area, followed by speed limit reductions down to 60km/h, and in some situations 40km/h. A 40km/h speed limit will only normally apply on high speed roads where there are no barriers in place and when workers may be operating close to the live traffic lane. Otherwise, the typical reduced speed limit on highways will be 60km/h. There would be very few, if any, situations where an immediate 100 to 40km/h speed reduction is applied without prior warning at roadworks. However, poor compliance with reduced speed limits on approach to work areas indicates that many motorists either fail to see or do not respond adequately to warnings and speed reduction requests. As noted in a 2017 Austroads Report, this is a source of downstream traffic conflicts and a major factor in rear-end crashes which are the most common roadwork crash types. Tailgaiting doesn’t help.   

The issue of roadwork speed limits at unattended and apparently inactive sites (and associated complacency among motorists) is one that has attracted considerable research attention and of which road authorities are acutely aware. From a safety perspective, there are several important issues here. One is that the task of installing and removing signage is in itself a high risk activity for traffic controllers – this is a situation where workers are known to have been killed or injured, such that in many cases it may be considered safer overall to leave signage in place. Reduced speed limits may also be left in place at inactive sites where conditions may be hazardous. The most obvious for motorcyclists may be loose or rough surfaces, but there are other potential hazards such as altered delineation, lane width and lack of line markings, for example. Speed reductions may also be left in place for some time after the completion of work to allow loose aggregate to be embedded in newly laid asphalt by passing traffic. While a roadwork site may not present any apparent hazards for some road users, numerous serious and fatal crashes do occur at inactive sites.

We all want better roads, for our safety as well as our enjoyment. Improvement and maintenance of this infrastructure unfortunately involves some disruption and inconvenience, for motorcyclists as well as other road users. I wonder if some of the people complaining about road conditions are also among those who complain about roadworks. Current arrangements and traffic control measures are far from perfect, but work is ongoing in Australia and elsewhere to improve the safety, efficiency, and management of roadwork operations. Driving or riding through roadworks sometimes causes delays, which can usually be anticipated and managed with a little preparation. Working on roads is a high-risk occupation and those involved have a right to return home safely at the end of the day, just as all road users do, including motorcyclists. 

     

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Are roadworks speeds set too low?

While roadworks speeds in some jurisdictions can be as low 40km/h (25mph), the UK may be heading toward a standard 60mph (about 100km/h) on highway roadworks.

Speed limits through roadworks are reduced for the safety of road workers.

However, some riders question the low speeds when work is not happening and when workers are behind steal barricades or even up a side road.

Riders also claim their lives can be jeopardised by the sudden and dramatic drop in speed, especially when they are being tailgated by a large truck!

The problem stems from roadworks speeds being positioned too far ahead of the actual work and limits sometimes set too low, according to the RACQ.

Roadworks speeds

In most states of Australia, the roadworks speed limit is an enforceable 40km/h. Highway speed limits can vary right down to 40km/h, depending on the type of works.

In New Zealand, the lowest roadworks speed is 30km/h. In the USA roadworks speed limits are only advisory.

In the UK, highway roadworks speed limits are much higher from 40-60mph (64-100km/h).

To move toward a standardised speed limit for roadworks on UK highways, Highways England began a trial of 55 and 60mph speed limits in some roadworks.

They found “safety wasn’t compromised and customers preferred driving at 60mph”.

They have now asked roadworks companies to reconsider their speed limits.millions roadworks rain

Uniform speeds

Australian riders are also calling for more sensible and uniform roadworks speeds.

Russell Saunders of the Queensland-based Motorcycle Advocacy Group  says “inappropriate speed limits” are a concern.

“Forty kilometres an hour on multilane roads is not sensible and the maintaining of those speeds when no work is being undertaken is just plain stupid,” he says.

“Those limits should be lifted when no road workers are in attendance, such as on weekends.

“I have ridden in many other countries and have formed the opinion that we are the worst for excessive over compensation towards ‘safety’.”

The Motorcycle Riders Association of Victoria also claims speed limits are often set with “blanket rules based on opinion rather than science”.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Riders urged to slow down at Oxley roadworks

Motorcyclists are being urged to slow down at roadworks on the Oxley Highway, NSW, between Mount Seaview and Gingers Creek where lower rub rails are being installed.

Transport for NSW Director North Region Anna Zycki says road crews are installing new guardrails and crash barriers and repairing drainage on the mountain section of the highway where the speed limit was controversially reduced to 80km/h in 2018.

“Work on the guardrail involves installing an extra protection rail below the existing guardrail and is designed to stop bikers involved in a crash from sliding into the steel posts,” she says.

“Crash barriers are proven to keep vehicles from crashing down embankments and into trees but their posts can be unforgiving if a motorcyclist loses control and slides into them.

“Unfortunately some riders have been ignoring temporary traffic lights set up to ensure the safety of road users and workers while these upgrades are under way.

“Our road crews have also reported riders speeding up to beat the orange light and speeding close by workers on the road.”

Ms Zycki says the installation of the protection rail follows consultation with “key motorcycle groups”.

Slow down for roadworksMCCNSW Steve Pearce submission to Ombudsman over Oxley highway speed event

“It’s disappointing to find some riders are putting in danger the teams who are working hard to provide them with extra protection along this popular route,” she says.

“All road users are urged to drive or ride to the conditions, and follow the directions of signs and traffic control at all times.”

Work is being carried out from 6.30am to 3.30pm on weekdays, with traffic reduced to one lane during work hours.

Transport for NSW thanks motorists for their patience during this time.

For the latest traffic updates download the Live Traffic NSW App, visit livetraffic.com or call 132 701.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Roadworks proposed for Mt Glorious Road

One of Brisbane’s most popular motorcycle roads up to Mt Glorious will receive major resurfacing plus the installation of motorcycle-specific lower rub rail barriers.

The Department of Transport and Main Roads has today provided details of the proposed updates on the Mount Glorious Road and Samford-Mount Glorious Road Route Safety Project.

Work will be carried out along sections of Samford-Mount Glorious Road (between Dawson Creek Road and Mount Glorious Road) and Mount Glorious Road (between Samford-Mount Glorious Road and Wivenhoe-Somerset Road).

In the supplied images below, orange represents resurfacing, yellow is the installation of a lower rub rail on an existing barrier and red is a new motorcycle-specific barrier.

Roadworks proposed for Mt Glorious Road

Rider concerns

The roadworks were first mooted in 2018 TMR when contacted members of the Motorcycle Advocacy Group (Qld) to advise they were starting design work on $11.3 million worth of roadworks projects in the Mount Glorious region.

Riders expressed concerns about the possibility of speed reductions and unsafe barriers in impending roadworks on Brisbane’s most famous motorcycling road.

There is no mention of further speed reductions in the proposed roadworks and the barriers are not wire rope as feared.

TMR has now completed surveying works, speed surveys and a preliminary assessment of options, taking into consideration crash history.

Proposed treatments for Samford-Mount Glorious Road include:

  • Road resurfacing;
  • linemarking improvements;
  • safety barrier upgrades with motorcycle protection rail;
  • road signage improvements; and
  • minor vegetation clearing to improve sight lines.

We expect “linemarking improvements” to mean more double white lines, which could mean no overtaking along the entire length of the road.

Sadly, there is no mention of suggested turnout lanes for slow vehicles to allow for safe overtaking.

Detailed design for Samford-Mount Glorious Road is expected to be complete in July 2020, with construction to start in late 2020, weather and construction scheduling permitting.

Mt Glorious west side

New roadworks on Mt Glorious broken legMt Glorious is glorious if the roads are in good repair!

TMR is also considering roadworks options for the western end of Mount Glorious Road between the Samford-Mount Glorious Road intersection and Wivenhoe-Somerset Road intersection.

Detailed design for this section is expected to start in August 2020.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Rider input needed for roadworks

Riders should have input into more than $35 million in roadworks being planned for one of South East Queensland’s most popular motorcycling routes, says a rider representative.

The Queensland Government will spend the money on improving the Nerang-Murwillumbah Road, sometimes jokingly referred to as the “Hinze Raceway” as it’s popular with riders and passes by the Hinze Dam.

The road has also been used in many motorcycle product launches such as the Suzuki Katana launch last year.Suzuki Katana is a rider’s delight

Roadworks plans

Transport and Main Roads tell us the proposed improvement locations are:

  • Wide centreline marking from Beaudesert–Nerang Road to Latimers Crossing Road;
  • Dedicated right turns into Parkway Drive and Tangara Road at Advancetown; and
  • Other works being considered include shoulder or road widening, improved signs and rubrail, and/or guardrail at various locations along the 36km stretch of road.

Rider input

Crash injured accident avoidMotorcycle crash on the Nerang-Murwillumbah Rd

However, Australian Motorcycle Council secretary John Eacott is calling on rider input for improvements to the road which records frequent motorcycle accidents.

He says there is “very little detail” at the moment.

“We would expect that BG&E (the Queensland comp[any contracted to perform the work) would contact and consult with motorcyclists during their design phase,” John says.

“Too often the sharp end of road users are overlooked, and no real improvements result to benefit the most vulnerable road user group: riders!”

John Eacott at Beechmont

Unfortunately, there is no longer a Queensland rider representative group after the Motorcycle Riders Association of Queensland closed in January this year.

However, if you have any suggestions, we would be happy to pass them on to TMR.

The road has already had some upgrades and was one of the first in the state with flexible Chevroflex signs (top image) that prevent rider injures and deaths if hit.

Work is expected to start next year.

We have two major concerns.

One is that the “wide centreline marking” means even less chance to overtake slow traffic, leading to frustration and dangerous passing manoeuvres.

The other is that — like so many other improved roads — they will make it much smoother and safer … and then reduce the speed limit even further!

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Roadworks gravel a danger to riders

The issue of the condition of roadworks has flared again with several riders complaining about gravel left on roadworks on the Hume Highway in regional Victoria.

The road was recently reopened with a reduced speed limit before it was completed, leaving about 3km of the road  between Wandong and Clonbinane covered in loose gravel.

Rider complaints

Mick Rider said there was so much gravel left behind that even the 60km/h signs were too high.

“To navigate this dangerous marble like surface safely, I had to reduce my speed to 40km/h, resulting in b-double trucks and other vehicular traffic following dangerously close, and being sprayed with loose gravel and dust by vehicles overtaking in right hand lane,” he says.

Mick says it is the third time he as nearly crashed in loose gravel from roadworks caused by “sloppy work practices”.

Another rider, Geoff Evans, who encountered the section while driving his b-double tanker says he noticed speed limit signs had been knocked over leaving little alert to the conditions ahead.

“I remember thinking to himself, when I got to that last 200m of fine loose gravel, I was glad to be in the truck, and not riding,” says the Harley Breakout rider.

“I looked in the mirror and and you could see the cars behind in the blinding dust blowing up from my truck.”

Gravel residue is ‘common practice’Gravel roadworks

While the surface has now been swept, Motorcycle Riders Association (Victoria) regional member Cate Hughes wrote to VicRoads and the Roads Minister saying it was common for roadworks to leave behind loose gravel.

“This has to stop before a motorcyclist is killed, or seriously injured,” she wrote.

“VicRoads has a duty of care.

“Your contractors must be advised to correctly sign all approaches to roadworks and sweep love grave from surfaces, regardless of whether they are planning to return to complete later.”

Gravel roadworksBumps on lane exit

Cate also complained about one of many sections of ‘shoves’ (raised bumps in a sealed surface) on the first 50m of the Clonbinane-Broadford northbound exit on the Hume. 

“To use this exit as a motorcycle rider, I have to exit last minute from the Hume Highway, which, regardless of indicating to do so, has resulted in cars trying to come up the inside, which is very dangerous,” she says.

“This is not fit for purpose for all road users, and is in urgent need of attention, given the number of motorcycle riders using this exit, not just as commuters, but as leisure riders on weekends.”

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Bumpy Summerland Way goes smooth

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.

Summerland WayGoogle Maps images

Popular route

“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.

Lions Rd Summerland WayLions Rd

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.

Summerland roadworks

Summerland WayBurnetts Creek

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

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Are white line bumps dangerous to riders?

In response to rider concerns about the safety of white line bumps, Transport for NSW conducted tests with a range of riders and found concerns may have been overstated.

The raised bumps of thermoplastic material in painted lines are called audio-tactile line-markings (ATML) and sometimes erroneously called ripple or rumble strips.

Roads and Maritime Services and Transport for NSW claim they alert motorists when they veer out of their lane, reducing fatalities and injuries from head-on and run-off crashes by 15-25%.

Rider concerns

Ripple strips on the Oxley highway bumpsRipple strips on the Oxley highway

In May 2018, riders and the Motorcycle Club of NSW raised concerns about ATLMs in the centre and side lines of two sections of the Oxley Highway, saying they were slippery, dangerous and “madness”.

“They are slippery, wet or dry and will make a motorcycle unstable at the slightest contact,” said a former council member.

Bumps tested

ATLM motorcycle bumps Safe System SolutionsLines being tested at Crashblab

In response, the Transport for NSW Centre for Road Safety invited motorcyclists to ride over ATLMs in a variety of conditions in a study observed by the Motorcycle Council of NSW and facilitated by independent consultant Safe System Solutions Pty Ltd.

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.

Be wary

Aussie knowhow helps Thai riders stay safe Safe System Solutions Pty Ltd learn learner novice training licensed licensingDr 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.”

Ongoing testingATLM motorcycle bumps Safe System Solutions

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.”

The requirements for materials of ATLM are provided in the Roads and Maritime QA Specification R145 Pavement Marking (Performance Based)

The performance requirements in R145 are for dry and wet retro-reflectivity, skid resistance, colour, colour change, luminance factor and degree of wear.

Have you experienced any issues with these line bumps on your motorcycle? Leave your comments below.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com