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NCA response to their inadequate safety barrier, a sign to be ignored

By johnboy 20 September 2012 21

The Canberra Times has a terrifying story about the National Capital Authority discovering they’ve installed an inadequate safety barrier on Commonwealth Avenue Bridge.

A terrifying near-miss in which a cyclist fell over a railing and on to the road of the Commonwealth Avenue Bridge has highlighted the need for extra safety on the bridge.

National Capital Authority chief executive Gary Rake has confirmed the railing on the western footpath of Commonwealth Avenue Bridge needs to be raised at a cost of $3 million but the money won’t be available within its rolling capital work budget until 2015-16.

If the situation is judged to be too dangerous in the meantime, the western footpath of the bridge could be changed to a demount zone – only to be used by pedestrians and people walking their bikes. The eastern footpath of the bridge has a higher railing.

Even with a low railing it should still be safer than an on-road cycle path.

And are police seriously going to enforce the demount signage appearing out of nowhere?

UPDATE 21/09/12 10:05: The NCA’s pathetic statement in all its misery is online:

The NCA will now assess the safety of the western footpath of the bridge, and if it’s not appropriate for cyclists to continue riding across it, we will make it a dismount zone until the railing can be upgraded.

In the meantime, cyclists are encouraged to walk their bikes if they are using the western footpath, or alternatively use the eastern footpath of the bridge where the guardrail has already been upgraded.


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21 Responses to
NCA response to their inadequate safety barrier, a sign to be ignored
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JohnK 4:56 pm 21 Sep 12

Link said :

It was a much more action-packed story when I thought they meant the cyclist went over the rail and into the lake.

Perhaps the could just swap the guard rails between the lake side and the road side to save money and provide entertainment for tourists.

Jungle Jim 3:36 pm 21 Sep 12

niftydog said :

“Canberra Times September 21, 2012”
He was heading south on the footpath. The other cyclist was heading north and veered to the right to get off the footpath and on to the road.

Regardless of the railing debate, it sounds like North deliberately veered into the path of oncoming traffic (the other rider) and collected South head on in the process. Do people honestly ride along a path without looking forward!? If the traffic was at a stand-still, North probably wouldn’t have even needed a head check (although that wouldn’t be an excuse for why they didn’t see South anyway)

Can North be charged with dangerous or negligent riding by any chance?

Link 3:29 pm 21 Sep 12

It was a much more action-packed story when I thought they meant the cyclist went over the rail and into the lake.

niftydog 3:20 pm 21 Sep 12

“Canberra Times September 21, 2012”
He was heading south on the footpath. The other cyclist was heading north and veered to the right to get off the footpath and on to the road.

“A witness said it was quite spectacular. I was hit and went up in the air and over the railing and landed on my back on my backpack between the cars.”

Wait a second…

Going by these first-hand accounts, the accident most likely happened somewhere in this vicinity. The barrier would not have even been a factor if the accident had happened just a few seconds earlier. The NCA Ass-Covering Committee is clearly hard at work here.

My question to the Committee Chair is this; If you flip “up in the air” and, I assume, high enough to flip ass-first over your handlebars, then would the taller barrier really have prevented him from landing on the road? Or prevented him from sustaining some other injury BECAUSE of the taller barrier?

Why don’t the NCA head off potential future litigation and just build a 3m high steel-reinforced brick wall on both sides of both paths from Albert Street to King Edward Terrace, fully lined with soft padding then equip it with first aid kits every 2m?

bundah 9:04 am 21 Sep 12

DrKoresh said :

$3 MILLION? For a mother-lumping railing on Commonwealth bridge, do I have this right?

How does it cost 3 million dollars? HOW?

And banning cyclists from riding across it until they can find this stupid amount of money, that’s ridiculous, can’t they bung up some chicken-wire or something until then?

To re-iterate, HOW THE LUMP DOES IT COST THREE MILLION DOLLARS TO ALTER A LUMPING RAILING?! WHAT THE LUMP!?

Yeah i’d reckon about $250G for the metal and $2.75M to install it,bargain. Should take about a year to install reducing Commonwealth Ave down to two lanes.Nothing unusual there!

wildturkeycanoe 9:54 pm 20 Sep 12

All I can say, It just takes one person…….

To elaborate – what kind of an idiot can fall over a barrier, oh wait, just read the report. It was a collision between two cyclists. Who’d have thought that cyclists have accidents too. Were they going the same direction? One would hope so. Well, once they get their super cycleways, this will be an ever increasing problem. Then they’ll need to have CTP insurance in case they hit someone and injure them [do they have this at the moment?] as well as a means of identification. Mmmmm, sounds like what has been suggested here more than a few times.

I am also outraged that the expense is so much to rectify. It only took 6 weeks to come up with this figure? After the incident, I cannot see the system working so fast to come to a solution. How many other black spots have taken years of studies and committees to come up with a plan, prior to getting quotes and funding? This stinks of pandering to minority groups in my opinion.
Still, I can smile at the irony in this, from now on they will have to walk over the bridge or risk death and/or road rage attacks on the tar. But who will police it??????

milkman 7:41 pm 20 Sep 12

If it’s a lawful road sign, why shouldn’t they?

Comic_and_Gamer_Nerd 6:34 pm 20 Sep 12

Does this mean I can go out tomorrow, ride a bike and flip over the barrier and injure myself, sue the government and be winning at life!!!

The race is on, can I get out there before the sign goes up?

FD10 5:05 pm 20 Sep 12

And are police seriously going to enforce the demount signage appearing out of nowhere?

The Police most likely won’t enforce this – it’s more to cover the government’s arse in case a similar accident happens again.

steele_blade 4:40 pm 20 Sep 12

Judgemental or what? Some poor person has an accident, and people here condemn them as “idiot” and “stupid”. Tell you what, I’ll be judgemental too – “no, youse are, stupid heads!”

Henry82 4:39 pm 20 Sep 12

I’m surprised it isn’t possible just to weld/bolt on a higher guardrail on top of the other one.

The existing rail is to slow down cars mounting the kerb. A hand rail to stop a cyclist doesn’t need to be anywhere near as strong. Make it in sections like pool fencing, shouldn’t take long at all.

Innovation 4:08 pm 20 Sep 12

The problem may be that the low railing can result in cyclists being catapulted over the top. As per an earlier post, making cyclists dismount will result in a lot of cyclists diverting on to the road.

Another cheap option would be to rip out the railing and reduce traffic to 60km/h all the way through to Vernon Circle. That way they would save money every year as they wouldn’t have to keep changing signs for Floriade and cars wouldn’t have to keep changing their speed every two hundred metres or so.

Canberracanuck 4:02 pm 20 Sep 12

Since the danger is not falling over the rail, but falling over the rail and being run over by a car, why don’t we do the obvious thing and get rid of the cars! A continuous, physically separated bicycle lane from Barton to Braddon. Park your gas guzzlers in the quiet streets of Deakin and Red Hill and ride your bike into town. You’re welcome.

Deref 3:52 pm 20 Sep 12

How about $100 for a sign saying “Cyclists must dismount to cross bridge”?

cross 3:43 pm 20 Sep 12

I’m not saying let’s go kill all the stupid people… I’m just saying let’s remove all the warning labels and let the problem sort itself out.

c_c 3:11 pm 20 Sep 12

Another way to look at it is spend $3m now, and the Commonwealth/ACT might avoid having to pay that and more out later to someone in compo.

A lot of public works these days are as much about insurance as about making improvements for the sake of making things better.

Keijidosha 3:07 pm 20 Sep 12

“A terrifying near-miss in which a cyclist fell over a railing and on to the road of the Commonwealth Avenue Bridge has highlighted that cyclists need to take more care.

Fixed that quote, saved the taxpayer three million dollars. You’re welcome.

Build a better safety rail and society will simply provide a bigger idiot.

Aeek 2:02 pm 20 Sep 12

The law abiding non-dismount option will be to ride across the bridge on the road.

Also what’s the difference compared with the totally unfenced footpaths both sides of the bridge?
(Footpaths being designated as Shared Paths in the ACT)

arescarti42 1:59 pm 20 Sep 12

DrKoresh said :

$3 MILLION? For a mother-lumping railing on Commonwealth bridge, do I have this right?

How does it cost 3 million dollars? HOW?

And banning cyclists from riding across it until they can find this stupid amount of money, that’s ridiculous, can’t they bung up some chicken-wire or something until then?

To re-iterate, HOW THE LUMP DOES IT COST THREE MILLION DOLLARS TO ALTER A LUMPING RAILING?! WHAT THE LUMP!?

Oh my glob you guys, chill out.

I was thinking that it might require the existing one to be ripped out, and then a new one fabricated, which would be quite costly. Looking at what they’ve done on the other side of the road, it is essentially 2 long steel pipes, held apart by brackets and bolted on top of the existing one.

3 million for that, down only one side of the bridge certainly does sound expensive.

DrKoresh 1:46 pm 20 Sep 12

$3 MILLION? For a mother-lumping railing on Commonwealth bridge, do I have this right? How does it cost 3 million dollars? HOW? And banning cyclists from riding across it until they can find this stupid amount of money, that’s ridiculous, can’t they bung up some chicken-wire or something until then?

To re-iterate, HOW THE LUMP DOES IT COST THREE MILLION DOLLARS TO ALTER A LUMPING RAILING?! WHAT THE LUMP!?

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