Mayor Rattenbury has penned a plea for motorists and cyclists to leave off all the hating:
There is a rumbling debate in Canberra about the rights and responsibilities of cyclists, pedestrians and car drivers. Many people take sides with one of these groups, depending on their personal perspective. As someone who drives, rides and walks around our town, it’s clear to me that that unfortunately there are irresponsible road users in all of these groups.
We need to come out of the trenches. This shouldn’t be a war between cyclists and car drivers. It should be a discussion about how we can have safe roads and paths for everyone in the community, because the truth is that neither car drivers or cyclists want to see or be involved in accidents.
“Vulnerable road users” is a term used for people who are most at risk in traffic, and who are the weaker party in any collision: pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists.
Last year there were 4 pedestrians, 3 motorcyclists and 1 cyclist killed on ACT roads, compared to 3 car drivers. While only 8% of all motor vehicle crashes involved injury, 57% of crashes involving bicycles were injury crashes.
I’d like to see the concept of “vulnerable road users” become well recognised in Canberra, and entrenched in our road transport laws. We need to recognise vulnerability in the way we plan and design our city, and road users need to recognise it in the way they interact. The reality is that car drivers have a special onus to be aware of the more vulnerable people around them. Cyclists and pedestrians need to behave in a way that is safe and respectful. Cyclists need to ensure they are visible, consider pedestrians, and show respect for road rules.
This week I will call on the ACT Legislative Assembly to establish a Committee inquiry to investigate the ACT’s approach to vulnerable road users. There are interesting and successful advancements being made all over the world and the Committee will be able to harness these new ideas and recommend improvements for the ACT.
There will, no doubt, be many trips required to Amsterdam and Copenhagen, so not a bad secretariat to get onto.