Tag Archives: roadworks

Call for urgent action on regional roads

For years riders and other motorists have been asked to report road hazards such as potholes to their state road authority.

However, local authorities seem to ignore the repot, respond slowly or respond with inappropriate measures.

In one recent instance, rider Mick Rider (no joke!) reported concerns about a section of the Hume Highway, that suffered melt damage and was covered in marble-like gravel by VicRoads, and speed reduced to 80km/h from 110km/h.

Photos supplied by Mick Rider

“This has resulted in a worse mess than when it was just melting, with VicRoads attempting to cool with water spraying the last few days,” he says.

“Insufficient speed reduction for motorcycles to navigate extremely hazardous surface now resulting in dual lane traffic showering with gravel. 

“In addition to that, the four-wheel traffic has created mounds of this gravel between wheel tracks in lanes.”

He reported the matter to VicRoads at 5.45pm on 25 January by phone. 

Motorcycle Riders Association of Australia regional spokesperson Cate Grace posted the comments on their Facebook page and another motorist posted footage on TikTok.

“Noted that one local had reported to VicRoads 5 days prior, and their response was blasé to say the least,” she says.

It’s not the first time melting tar has been an issue.

In 2018, we reported on how new roadwork immediately began melting on the Mt Glorious Road in Queensland and in 2019, sand and then water were used in an attempt to “fix” a similar issue on the Oxley Highway in NSW.

Melting tar on Oxley highway sand fix
Melting tar on Oxley highway

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.

In one incident a rider successfully sued VicRoads after a crash on 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.

Cate says five days after Mick’s complaint nothing had been done.

“VicRoads contractors and traffic management continue to ignore motorcycle riders and place them at risk, not just from the hazardous road conditions, but other road user behaviour in poor conditions not appropriately signed,” she says.

“How many times do we have to complain?  How many times do riders have to suffer damage to motorcycles, themselves, and death, before VicRoads comes down on their Contractors hard, and ensures they’re compliant?”

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Mt Glorious stage 2 roadworks begin

Riders of Brisbane hinterland’s motorcycling Mecca that is Mt Glorious should be aware of upcoming roadworks that could delay their ride on the twisting tarmac.

The Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) completed upgrades along the seven-kilometre section of Samford-Mount Glorious Road between Dawson Creek Road and Mount Glorious Road in April last year.

Now they are about to begin stage two construction.

TMR says investigated the full length of the road, between Samford-Mount Glorious Road at Mount Nebo and Wivenhoe-Somerset Road at Dundas, and prioritised “known and potential crash locations for safety treatments”. 

Key works will include:

  • road resurfacing;
  • linemarking and signage improvements, including additional road safety and wildlife signs;
  • safety barrier upgrades with motorcyclist protection rail; and
  • selective vegetation removal to improve sight lines.
    Mt Glorious planned works

Hopefully they have improved the tar surfaces as the last works left a lot to be desired with melting tar causing major slippage issues for riders, according to the Motorcycle Advocacy Group Facebook page.

New roadworks on Mt Glorious melting tar reservations bitumen
(Photoshopped sign for irony!)

TMR told us back then that road spray seals require time to settle and “given its newness, the Samford-Mount Glorious Road seal is performing within our standard limits”.

We shall see.

I also hope the speed limits aren’t dropped as they were after the roadworks on the “bus stop” section north of Mt Nebo a few years back to a ridiculous 40km/h!

Harley-Davidson Sportster S at Lions Rd

This is what riders can expect when works start shortly:

  • majority of works will be undertaken between 6am and 6pm, Monday to Friday;
  • occasional weekend works may be required between 6am and 6pm;
  • works are anticipated to take approximately six months to complete, weather and construction conditions permitting;
  • some of the works will need to be undertaken in warmer weather and can only be carried out after other improvements are completed. Depending on project progress, TMR may need to return to the area later in the year to finish these activities in warm conditions;
  • temporary lane closures, reduced speed limits, construction signage and traffic control measures will be in place during construction;
  • variable messaging signage will be in place at the approaches to the work site;
  • motorists may experience minor delays and are encouraged to drive to the changed traffic conditions, obeying signage, reduced speed limits and traffic controller directions at all times;
  • due to the nature of the works, there may be some intermittent property access restrictions and modifications to access within the work zone. TMR will provide advance notice of any access restrictions and traffic controllers will be onsite to assist as required;
  • noise, vibration and possible dust from construction activities and machinery can be expected;
  • reversing beepers and flashing lights are a safety requirement and will be used during working hours; and
  • emergency vehicles will be given priority access through the work site..

“Every effort will be made to keep disruptions and noise to a minimum while the works are undertaken,” TMR says.

For more details about the project please visit www.tmr.qld.gov.au and search ‘Mount Glorious Road and Samford-Mount Glorious Road, improve safety’.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Mt Glorious tar not so glorious

Four years after melting tar on the Mt Glorious Rd west of Brisbane in 2017 resulted in at least one rider crashing and after recent multi-million-dollar roadworks, the issue of melting tar is back again on the popular motorcyclist road.

The Motorcycle Advocacy Group Facebook page is warning riders to take care on the Mt Glorious Road from Samford as “the new surface is falling to bits since the weather warmed up”.

“The esses are particularly bad especially from the beehives down. Be extra careful,” their page says.

The issue of melting tar is not exclusive to Queensland nor to the popular Mt Glorious motorcycle road.

The Oxley Highway in NSW, which is a Meccas to many riders, also offered melting issues in 2019 and water was sprayed over the highway to blast away excess bitumen and cool the road down after it began melting.

Melting tar on Oxley highway sand fix
Melting tar on the Oxley Highway

The Mt Glorious Rd melting surface issue comes after more than $11 million worth of roadworks and almost four years of consultation between Queensland Main Roads and the Motorcycle Advocacy Group (MAG).

“At every stage we told them this was an unsuitable surface. They ignored us and argued with us.”

MAG spokesman Stuart Langfield says they warned of two prior upgrades which were also “unsuitable and had to be ripped up and re-laid”.

Stuart contacted the department after a recent hot weekend to complain about the dangerous melting surface which has been further eroded by trucks.

Melting tar on Mt Glorious Rd
Melting tar on Mt Glorious Rd

“I was able to push my index finger into the surface and remove stones at all of the three levels laid,” he says.

The issue will only get worse through summer as the temperature heats up.

Commuting traffic lane filtering speed wet NSW sydney police commuting

MAG had asked for “hotmix” bitumen on the surface which a contractor had told them was only $25 per ton more expensive than the present surface.

“A miniscule amount in the scheme of things now this road too requires ripping up and replacing with that very material,” Stuart says.

“Further to that the next stage upgrade on the western side of Mt Glorious is about to commence and no doubt it will suffer the same fate.

“This is a blatant waste of $11m and a flagrant disregard for the input of concerned parties.”

Stuart says MAG raised the issue of the public service ignoring public input at a recent Parliamentary investigation into road safety. 

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

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.\


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