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Ice on pathways in Parliamentary Triangle?

By CJ 9 August 2011 47

On Thursday 28 July at around 7.30am while cycling into the city from Wanniassa to work I had an accident when my bike slid from under me on ice. The ice had formed from water from sprinklers that flowed across the pathway and ramp passing by and leading up on to Commonwealth Bridge, between Flynn Drive and the Lake near the National Library).

I fractured my pelvis and, in the time between the accident and being taken away by ambulance, I and those assisting me witnessed perhaps 6 or so other cyclists also come to grief (though thankfully all escaped serious injury; I will be off work and off my left leg for 6-8 weeks). Several other cyclists and pedestrians went slipping and sliding when they unexpectedly encountered the affected part of the pathway.

I would appreciate hearing from anyone who, say in the last 12 months, has reported similar incidents or concerns to the National Capital Authority (NCA) – responsible for this area – regarding ice or water flowing across the pathway in this location. This is important if I am to successfully pursue a case for damages against the NCA, as I need to establish that they were aware of problems in the area but failed to take appropriate action (proper drainage, warning signs, etc.).

Please note that this is not a ‘cycling’ issue per se and I do not want to see this request get sidetracked in the inevitable debate. Pedestrians were also affected by this problem on the particular morning. If you or someone you know has passed on to the NCA information or concerns about the problem of ice or water flowing over the pathway in this area in recent times, please let me know. Thank you, in anticipation.


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Ice on pathways in Parliamentary Triangle?
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CJ 2:05 pm 13 Aug 11

Dear ‘chaep’: re your query:

So everyone just sat back and watched the carnage? Didn’t think to warn any of the six cyclists of the danger? Its you who should be sued.

No. A friend who assisted me shortly after arriving on the scene spent the best part of the next hour yelling out warnings to approaching cyclists and pedestrians and went to the aid of one person who fell badly, only to fall himself (twice) and break his spectacles in the process. Fortunately the other person was able to walk away (not ride, his bike was damaged).

Jethro 8:03 pm 11 Aug 11

dtc said :

For those ‘confused’:

– if you do something that foreseeably could result in an injury to another person and it does cause injury, then you are negligent. Possibly turning sprinklers on when the water would run down onto a bike path during a cold spell, then freeze and not be visible, could come within this category – or maybe not.

– however, if you do something that you didn’t realise could result in an injury to a person, but it does and you were told about it, and you then do exactly the same thing again and it results in an injury to another person, then you are almost certainly negligent.

Sure there are defences to this – for example, what systems were put in place to avoid the negligent act. And to what extent has a person contributed to the accident by failing to keep a lookout or by (for example) riding too fast for the potential conditions (whether or not the ice was visible, ice after a cold night is arguably a known hazard).

There is no ‘nanny state’ about this issue or issues of accepting personal responsibility. If the NCA knew they were creating a risky situation, because they had done it before and caused injury, then why should the OP be the one to bear all of the damage and loss?

What dtc said.

Okwhatever 9:05 am 11 Aug 11

Grrrr said :

..What’s with watering in winter, anyway? Particularly this winter where we’ve had a ton of rain. Perhaps if someone had a nice sloping lawn with a ski-gun (snow-maker) installed, that would be acceptable…

Plants still need water even in winter and this winter has seen very low rainfall, barely enough I would have said.

Irrigation systems can be damaged from freezing water inside the system, the sprinkler heads next to pathways are prone to damage from pedestrians and vehicles including ride on mowers and tractors. Often the only way to know if it is damaged is when the water or ice is visible in the morning, cold days especially because of the lack of evaporation. It would be great if you could sense a disturbance in the force as soon as a failur occurs but you can be sure that the private contractor responsible for this area would not intentionally leave the damaged sprinkler as a man trap for public servants. As mentioned by another poster if this was reported and ignored then that is another matter.

Classified 8:20 am 11 Aug 11

Sounds to me like someone needs to call Mal Meninga Edwards Johnson.

Angelina 10:33 pm 10 Aug 11

Holden Caulfield said :

Watson said :

It annoys me to when sprinklers managed by a government organisation – local or federal – spill water all over footpaths or the road. Because of the waste of water, not because “it might form ice and then people might slip on it”. As much as I feel for people getting injured for whatever reason, having grown up in a country where some winter nights you were unable to get home because of freezing rain forming a uniform layer of ice on everything, this topic doese my head in.

Really, you grew up outside of Australia? Why haven’t you mentioned that before?

Heh! That was awesome and made me laugh.

JC 6:37 pm 10 Aug 11

Holden Caulfield said :

Anyway, I can accept it can be argued some run-off from a sprinkler is possibly a minor public concern. But when do the preventable actions of an organisation that affect the public stop being acceptable and become culpable? I think that’s probably the root of the issue at hand.

Hang on a sec, the OP is BLAMING sprinkler run off, but it hasn’t been proved if this was actually the case. It may well have been dew, or moisture coming out of the ground and forming ice on the path.

I live on the high side of a hill and I notice that from time to time on cold nights, especially the unusual ones where there is fog too that a small patch of ice on the path out the front. On not so cold days I notice the path is slightly wet. I do wonder though because I have noticed this and taken no action if somehow me, or the government are responsible for it, or maybe we should just blame mother nature, the one thing we cannot control or sue.

screaming banshee 6:15 pm 10 Aug 11

Please do educate us as to the difference between what is colloquially(sp?) known as black ice and what the OP has reported here.

00davist 5:35 pm 10 Aug 11

tidalik said :

00davist said :

tidalik said :

You poor thing. Black ice is notoriously hard to see, hence the name. You have every right to seek compensation if it’s caused by run-off. Really, who does watering on a cold winter’s morning?

I know a very good personal injury lawyer, if you need a recommendation. (JB – can we do public recommendations or do they have to be private messages?)

While I do not wish to take sides in this argument, I am going to Jump up and SCREAM, at the obligatory “Black Ice” Poster.

Ice formed from freezing run-off water, is NOT BLACK ICE!!! Black ice is a very specific, and dangerous occurrence, which goes far beyond the dangers posed by the formation of regular (Or White) ice.

DO NOT TRY TO MAKE THIS SEEM LESS AVOIDABLE BY USING THE TERM “BLACK ICE” INAPPROPRIATELY!

Thos situation may, or may not have been avoidable to the OP, and not having seen the area in question, at this time, I do not know where fault lies, however, using ‘Hype Terms’ such as black ice, is only adding confusion to the debate!

I must have touched a raw nerve there, sorry. I must confess to thinking that the OP mentioned black ice, but it might have been all in my head. However, where I’m from, black ice is just a name for ice that is completely clear and therefore almost impossible to see. I’ve slipped on enough of it to vouch for that.

I’m sure the OP has a good lawyer already, but if anyone else is hanging out for my recommendation, I’ll take the liberty of naming Bruce Howes in O’Connor.

Sorry if i went a little overboard, But i have had experience dealing with issues (Such as car crashes, resulting in death) where many could not face the results of human error, and instead, misused and blamed “Blac Ice”

Black Ice is formed from Dew, etc. in freezing conditions, It is much thinner, than ice caused in situations such as this, making it almoast impossable, as opposed to rather difficult to see.

The fact that it is so thin, and invisible, mixed with its density, and the fact it is often found layered with water, makes it much more hazzardous than regular ice, as it is so much harder to detect, and suprisingly, can withstand greater load, making it less likely to simply crush to powder, and dissapear under a tire.

In this case, the OP is refering to ice formed by sprinkler run off, which would not form black-ice, but white ice, which still poses a nast threat to cars, but is more a concern to bikes and pedestrians, as cars will quite quickly break through run off, if the road is busy enough.

In this case, the term “Black Ice” would be something the OP should work hard to avoind mis-using, as black ice is naturally formed, and cannot be blamed on NCA, If this is a case of neglegence, then the last thing they would need is to make room to accuse them of confusion in regaurds to the ice being from man or nature.

If they go around calling it black ice, they will be accused of being unsure of where the ice came from, as they would have refered to it as both man made run off, or natural black ice.

Sorry for Biting your head off!

Grrrr 5:30 pm 10 Aug 11

That’s why you don’t leave home before 9AM on a sub-zero morning!

What’s with watering in winter, anyway? Particularly this winter where we’ve had a ton of rain. Perhaps if someone had a nice sloping lawn with a ski-gun (snow-maker) installed, that would be acceptable…

tidalik 5:21 pm 10 Aug 11

00davist said :

tidalik said :

You poor thing. Black ice is notoriously hard to see, hence the name. You have every right to seek compensation if it’s caused by run-off. Really, who does watering on a cold winter’s morning?

I know a very good personal injury lawyer, if you need a recommendation. (JB – can we do public recommendations or do they have to be private messages?)

While I do not wish to take sides in this argument, I am going to Jump up and SCREAM, at the obligatory “Black Ice” Poster.

Ice formed from freezing run-off water, is NOT BLACK ICE!!! Black ice is a very specific, and dangerous occurrence, which goes far beyond the dangers posed by the formation of regular (Or White) ice.

DO NOT TRY TO MAKE THIS SEEM LESS AVOIDABLE BY USING THE TERM “BLACK ICE” INAPPROPRIATELY!

Thos situation may, or may not have been avoidable to the OP, and not having seen the area in question, at this time, I do not know where fault lies, however, using ‘Hype Terms’ such as black ice, is only adding confusion to the debate!

I must have touched a raw nerve there, sorry. I must confess to thinking that the OP mentioned black ice, but it might have been all in my head. However, where I’m from, black ice is just a name for ice that is completely clear and therefore almost impossible to see. I’ve slipped on enough of it to vouch for that.

I’m sure the OP has a good lawyer already, but if anyone else is hanging out for my recommendation, I’ll take the liberty of naming Bruce Howes in O’Connor.

00davist 4:02 pm 10 Aug 11

tidalik said :

You poor thing. Black ice is notoriously hard to see, hence the name. You have every right to seek compensation if it’s caused by run-off. Really, who does watering on a cold winter’s morning?

I know a very good personal injury lawyer, if you need a recommendation. (JB – can we do public recommendations or do they have to be private messages?)

While I do not wish to take sides in this argument, I am going to Jump up and SCREAM, at the obligatory “Black Ice” Poster.

Ice formed from freezing run-off water, is NOT BLACK ICE!!! Black ice is a very specific, and dangerous occurrence, which goes far beyond the dangers posed by the formation of regular (Or White) ice.

DO NOT TRY TO MAKE THIS SEEM LESS AVOIDABLE BY USING THE TERM “BLACK ICE” INAPPROPRIATELY!

Thos situation may, or may not have been avoidable to the OP, and not having seen the area in question, at this time, I do not know where fault lies, however, using ‘Hype Terms’ such as black ice, is only adding confusion to the debate!

johnboy 3:15 pm 10 Aug 11

recommend away.

tidalik 3:14 pm 10 Aug 11

You poor thing. Black ice is notoriously hard to see, hence the name. You have every right to seek compensation if it’s caused by run-off. Really, who does watering on a cold winter’s morning?

I know a very good personal injury lawyer, if you need a recommendation. (JB – can we do public recommendations or do they have to be private messages?)

Okwhatever 2:48 pm 10 Aug 11

Cycling is so dangerous, it should be banned.

Arrow 12:55 pm 10 Aug 11

Cheap said :

So everyone just sat back and watched the carnage? Didn’t think to warn any of the six cyclists of the danger? Its you who should be sued.

That’s harsh. Person was lying there with a broken pelvis – and you want them punished for not setting up a couple of flags and a sign.

Nice trolling though.

dtc 11:54 am 10 Aug 11

For those ‘confused’:

– if you do something that foreseeably could result in an injury to another person and it does cause injury, then you are negligent. Possibly turning sprinklers on when the water would run down onto a bike path during a cold spell, then freeze and not be visible, could come within this category – or maybe not.

– however, if you do something that you didn’t realise could result in an injury to a person, but it does and you were told about it, and you then do exactly the same thing again and it results in an injury to another person, then you are almost certainly negligent.

Sure there are defences to this – for example, what systems were put in place to avoid the negligent act. And to what extent has a person contributed to the accident by failing to keep a lookout or by (for example) riding too fast for the potential conditions (whether or not the ice was visible, ice after a cold night is arguably a known hazard).

There is no ‘nanny state’ about this issue or issues of accepting personal responsibility. If the NCA knew they were creating a risky situation, because they had done it before and caused injury, then why should the OP be the one to bear all of the damage and loss?

Rusalka 10:56 am 10 Aug 11

Holden Caulfield said :

I’m all for people accepting personal responsibility. However, that should not absolve organisations of accepting their own corporate responsibilities.

Watering in a shady place during a Canberra winter, really? Aside from the fact that it’s probably a waste of water, if ice is as prevalent as everyone is saying and there’s a cycle path nearby is it really that much to ask the NCA to consider the consequence of their actions?

As individuals we’re asked to ensure our domestic watering does not spill onto footpaths and roadways. Probably for different reasons than concern the OP, but the point remains, we all have responsibilities as individuals and organisations.

Sure stick it up the OP if it makes you feel better, but let’s not forget responsibility is a two-way street.

+1

I used to work along King Edward Tce for many years until a couple of months ago and the amount of times the sprinklers were turned on irresponsibly was ridiculous.

Either in the middle of winter when the grass was still wet from the night before, or in the middle of a 40 degree day in the middle of the drought when the rest of us weren’t allowed to water at all. All the time these sprinklers are left to run off onto the paths and roads, and I’m surprised people haven’t been hurt in this way earlier.

Hope you recover quickly 🙂

Holden Caulfield 10:56 am 10 Aug 11

Watson said :

It annoys me to when sprinklers managed by a government organisation – local or federal – spill water all over footpaths or the road. Because of the waste of water, not because “it might form ice and then people might slip on it”. As much as I feel for people getting injured for whatever reason, having grown up in a country where some winter nights you were unable to get home because of freezing rain forming a uniform layer of ice on everything, this topic doese my head in.

Really, you grew up outside of Australia? Why haven’t you mentioned that before?

Personally, I’m not too fussed about the whole NCA sprinkler issue. My concern is more over the principle of people getting stuck in to the OP for supposedly not accepting his share of responsibility while ignoring the responsibilities that should be expected of the NCA.

Perhaps the NCA has no case to answer, I’m no lawyer so I can’t advise on that. However, I think the OP is within reason to at least explore the possibility. Doing so via RA is perhaps not the best way to do so, but more power to RA for providing punters such an opportunity.

Anyway, I can accept it can be argued some run-off from a sprinkler is possibly a minor public concern. But when do the preventable actions of an organisation that affect the public stop being acceptable and become culpable? I think that’s probably the root of the issue at hand.

Watson 10:43 am 10 Aug 11

Holden Caulfield said :

I’m all for people accepting personal responsibility. However, that should not absolve organisations of accepting their own corporate responsibilities.

Watering in a shady place during a Canberra winter, really? Aside from the fact that it’s probably a waste of water, if ice is as prevalent as everyone is saying and there’s a cycle path nearby is it really that much to ask the NCA to consider the consequence of their actions?

As individuals we’re asked to ensure our domestic watering does not spill onto footpaths and roadways. Probably for different reasons than concern the OP, but the point remains, we all have responsibilities as individuals and organisations.

Sure stick it up the OP if it makes you feel better, but let’s not forget responsibility is a two-way street.

It annoys me to when sprinklers managed by a government organisation – local or federal – spill water all over footpaths or the road. Because of the waste of water, not because “it might form ice and then people might slip on it”. As much as I feel for people getting injured for whatever reason, having grown up in a country where some winter nights you were unable to get home because of freezing rain forming a uniform layer of ice on everything, this topic doese my head in.

Holden Caulfield 10:26 am 10 Aug 11

I’m all for people accepting personal responsibility. However, that should not absolve organisations of accepting their own corporate responsibilities.

Watering in a shady place during a Canberra winter, really? Aside from the fact that it’s probably a waste of water, if ice is as prevalent as everyone is saying and there’s a cycle path nearby is it really that much to ask the NCA to consider the consequence of their actions?

As individuals we’re asked to ensure our domestic watering does not spill onto footpaths and roadways. Probably for different reasons than concern the OP, but the point remains, we all have responsibilities as individuals and organisations.

Sure stick it up the OP if it makes you feel better, but let’s not forget responsibility is a two-way street.

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