John Hargreaves is proposing that Canberra’s speed cameras be allowed to be placed anywhere, rather than be restricted to certain zones, and that an extra camera be purchased in an attempt to stem this year’s ever-growing road toll.
No media releases or news stories online as yet, but today’s CT story is faithfully reproduced below (apologies for any fast-finger-stumbles). Strangely, although the story starts and finishes with the speed cameras, it mostly seems to be Mr Hargreaces talking about motorcycle road safety, which would seem to me to be a somewhat different matter. So is he talking about motorbike safety to distract from more revenue-raiser criticism?
I heard on the radio that the Libs were agreeing to the speed camera areas being opened up, but in this media release Steve Pratt is saying extra cameras won’t help reduce the road toll, suggesting instead — big surprise — that a larger police presence would be more effective.
So what will help fix our apparent road safety problem? More speed cameras? More police? Or something else, like better education?
UPDATED The ABC now has their story about this up.
Canberra Times, Mon 15 Aug 2005 p3
New speed cameras a bid to stem road toll
By John Thistleton
Police and Emergency Services Minister John Hargreaves will widen Canberra’s network of speed cameras in the wake of the road toll reaching 17 so far this year.
Police are yet to disclose the name of a 23 year-old Spence motorcyclist who died when he crashed late on Friday night while riding a trail bike on Vickers Crescent, Flynn. Police said he was not wearing a helmet. No other vehicles were involved.
He is the sixth motorcyclist to have died on ACT roads this year.
A post-mortem examination was completed yesterday and police are continuing investigations, reconstructing the accident and appealing for information.
NSW Police have named the man and woman who died in a collision at Ando, 29km form Bombala on Saturday.
Genevieve Reed, 55, of Delegate River, and Leonard Richardson, 80, of Bombala, were dead when police and ambulance arrived. A police spokesman said there were no witnesses.
Awaiting a police report into the latest motorbike death in Canberra, Mr Hargreaves said he was not in favour of raising punitive measures, but motorbike riders and drivers had to pay more attention to the road.
He was preparing legislation to allow speed cameras anywhere in Canberra.
The Government would buy a sixth speed-camera vehicle.
Mr Hargreaves does not want drivers to know where to expect a speed camera, so they will pay more attention tot heir driving.
He attributes most of the motorcycle accidents this year to rider error, and believes the problem can be addressed.
He said an exception to rider error was a death several months ago at Hut Point [sic] crossing in which an experienced rider died after being hit by a four-wheel-drive vehicle on the wrong side of the road.
The Police Minister said another motorbike death occurred when an inexperienced young rider was rounding a bend too quickly and crashed into street furniture.
He is evaluating ideas from the Motorcycle Riders’ Association, and considering additional training regimes. Restrictions already on riders includ [sic] power-to-weight ratio impositions which keep young riders off high-powered bikes.
“But you can kill yourself on a Honda 50cc postie’s bike,” he said.
The Road Safety committee, comprising police, Urban Services and NRMA road safety people, was constantly reviewing speed limits, driver education, interstate initiatives and testing.
Mr Hargreaves said that at a road safety gathering six months ago, transport ministers discussing a greater emphasis on drink-driving, speeding and seat belts, were told by a Wheels magazine editor that their conventional thinking missed the point. Road accidents were caused by lack of attention. Mr Hargreaves agreed.
Many motorbike riders were not aware of risks, and in conjunction with the Motorcycle Riders’ Association, the Government would be looking at ways of sharpening riders’ awareness of road conditions, weather and dangerous drivers.
The biggest single ACT road safety initiative was the introduction of red-light cameras at intersections.
Mobile speed vans had been criticised as revenue-raisers, but they had made people pay more attention.
Mr Hargreaves said people caught by the cameras were travelling at higher speeds than previously. They had not been paying attention and would now, as a result of being caught.