Killed by Council Inaction – call for Safety Summit

Rebekka MeyerThe recent death of a Danish student, Ms. Rebekka Tine Lousdal Meyer, 22, has heightened existing concerns regarding the safety of cyclists on the roads of Brisbane.

According to the police, Ms. Rebekka Tine Lousdal Meyer was pronounced as deceased on the scene following a collision at the corner of Stanley Street and Annerley Road in South Brisbane at about 07:45am on 11th September.

She was struck by a semi-trailer travelling in the same direction, and was dragged about 20m by the dog trailer of the truck which killed her instantly. Ms Meyer was a humanities student at the University of Queensland.

Local Councillor, Cr. Helen Abrahams of The Gaba Ward, is disappointed that neither the Minister for Transport nor the Lord Mayor have allocated funds to improve the bicycle safety on the number one hot spot for cyclist accidents, as identified by RACQ in February, this year.

“Data shows that there has been 34 crashes and 14 hospitalizations reported along the Annerley Road corridor, but I’m aware of many other cycling accidents in this area, including one of my own,” Cr. Abrahams said.

“It doesn’t take a safety expert to see that the Vulture Street, Stanley Street and Annerley Street cycling route doesn’t have a consistent approach to bike lanes with the lane widening and narrowing to accommodate cars and trucks,” she said.

“I’ve repeatedly written to the Lord Mayor asking for immediate funding for safety improvements for cyclists along the Vulture Street, Stanley Street and Annerley Road corridor. So far, no real action has been taken to address the cycling community’s concerns and I’m worried it’s because the Lord Mayor and his Administration don’t want to invest in on-road cycling improvements.”

The Public and Active Transport Chairman, Cr. Peter Matic, said that last week’s cyclist incident at South Brisbane was currently under QPS investigation and if required Council would act on any recommendations.

“The Council conducted a road safety review along Annerley Road earlier this year. This review identified a number of improvements to enhance safety, including refreshing line markings, replacing missing and damaged signs, and removing overgrown vegetation. This work has been completed,” Cr. Matic quoted.

“Additionally, Council has made a number of safety upgrades at the intersection of Stanley Street and Annerley Road in recent months, based on feedback from Cycling Queensland,” he added.

“Council has made an unprecedented investment into bikeway infrastructure across Brisbane, $220 million across the last two terms and all of Council’s cycling facilities are constructed in accordance with relevant local, State and Australian Standards. Council has over 1,100km of dedicated on-road and off-road cycling paths and continues to deliver practical measures to increase safety.”

The council’s repetition of this claim on various platforms motivated the co-convener of Brisbane CBD-Bicycle User Group (BUG), Dr. Richard Bean, to conduct an analysis of the data used to underpin this figure, and he concluded that the Council used incorrect and inconsistent approaches to measure the network.

“This issue affects me as a cyclist because the Council is adopting a strategy of appearing to do something and proclaiming that much has already been done, as opposed to actually building the infrastructure or upgrading the quality of the existing amenities. We are dealing with a Council that proclaims a statistic of 1,100 km without taking into account connectivity or quality.” Dr. Bean said.

“ BCC’s annual spending on cyclists is approximately 2% of the total annual BCC transport budget and is only window dressing – all they want to do is throw good money after bad in the futile exercise of trying to deal with traffic congestion by expanding the road network, an approach that hasn’t worked anywhere in the world,” he added.

On 7th September, the Minister for Transport and Main roads, Mr. Scott Emerson, released a media statement  announcing the state government’s plan to invest $2 million for the construction of a new cycle path to ensure a safer and more direct connection between Brisbane CBD and the northern suburbs.

Cr. Helen Abrahams said enough is enough, and to address this issue she has called for an immediate cycle safety summit in Brisbane.

“I am aware that the Minister for Transport and Main roads, Scott Emerson, has announced a new cycle- way in his electorate. It is disappointing that neither the Minister for Transport nor the Lord Mayor have allocated funds to improve the bicycle safety on the number one hot spot for cycle safety, as identified by RACQ earlier this year,” Cr. Helen Abrahams said in response to the state government’s plan.

“I have been calling for a Copenhagen style bike lane along Stanley Street for five years. Each year it is one of my top priorities for funding in the annual budget. My requests have been ignored. I believe that the Stanley Street and Annerley Road are the major arterial route for on road cycling in Brisbane as they are the most direct link from the Goodwill Bridge and the Eleanor Schonell Bridge. The allocation of road space should be consistent with the number of cyclists using these roads,” she added.

“We need to get in a room and close the door until Council’s decision makers and south side cycle groups have hashed out a plan to improve cyclist safety along the Vulture Street, Stanley Street and Annerley Street corridor.”

On the contrary Dr. Richard Bean thinks that the Minister’s announcement of $2M to improve connectivity between the CBD and the suburbs is a re-announcement of funding that was detailed in the Queensland Government’s June 2014 budget.

“Cr. Helen Abrahams is genuine in her desire to stop more cyclists being killed – but a summit is likely to suit the BCC administration in being just a talkfest.  We just finished having a Cycling Issues Inquiry so the time for talk is over. The only thing that matters now is real action on new segregated cycling infrastructure and road rule changes to protect vulnerable road users,” Dr. Bean commented.

The current building boom in West End and South Brisbane has seen a huge increase in the number of heavy vehicles using local roads. As well as causing noticeable damage to the road surface, they make it far more hazardous for other road users.

While Dr. Bean suggested that restrictions must be enforced on heavy vehicles during peak hours, Cr. Abrahams commented that she was not aware of any existing restrictions on heavy vehicles.

Meanwhile a spokesperson for the Transport and Main roads said “Our Transport Inspectors randomly patrol West End, monitoring compliance and enforcing transport laws, including regulation mass, dimensions and loading. We also act on received complaints from the public but do not enforce council by-laws.”

Finally when Dr. Bean was asked to rate the council’s response to address cyclist issues, he replied “somewhere between head in the sand and callous indifference,” whereas when Cr. Abrahams was asked what the council is doing, she replied “ They have done nothing to date.”

Sam Navin 17 September, 2014 Community News, Cover, Ride 31 Comments

CORONERS- Inquest – cyclist death involving conventional truck and dog trailer

6 responses to “Killed by Council Inaction – call for Safety Summit

  1. http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/dont-let-my-dad-die-in-vain-says-son-of-man-hit-by-cyclist-20170421-gvpueq.html

    The son of an 85-year-old man, who was killed on a St Kilda pedestrian crossing this week when hit by a cyclist, is calling for compulsory registration of bicycles and licensing for cyclists.

    Alastair Mackenzie said yesterday: “How many innocent people need to die before these laws catch up?”

    Cycle trails along the beaches of Port Phillip are very popular with riders, but come with a dangerous reputation.

    In 2015, a young woman was left with a fractured skull and two others were hospitalised after a crash at Beach Road, Mentone, during the notorious “hell ride”.

    In 2006, 77-year-old James Gould was struck and killed by a cyclist on Beach Road in Mentone.

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  2. Drunk guy at the pub

    It is an inescapable fact that roads are bloody carrying heavy trucks dangerous places for anyone, and more so for cyclists. No cyclist is going to fare well in an altercation with a fifty tonne behemoth but how many cyclists ever consider this ? There is clearly no point in suggesting trucks be banned from city roads with a development-obsessed establishment. Precious few car drivers and even less cyclists have the ghost of a clue regarding visibility issues and braking distances in heavy trucks, and this points to abysmal failures in driver education. Some clown who claims to be the leader of a Brisbane road-racing bicycle club told me he knows all about trucks, a few days later I discovered he drives a one-tonner !!!!! The inanity is demonstrated by reference to aircraft and marine equivalents where the responsibility of the smaller craft to get out of the way of bigger ones is well recognized. Unfortunately due to political correctness, mention of this in relation to cyclists is akin to heresy or treason.

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  3. In my opinion, many cyclists are their own worse enemy. Those wearing lycra in particular have a major issue and must be made to realize public roads are not their personal racetrack. I am aware that many police detest MAMILS due to their carelessness and blatant disregard for road rules, and are recommending some kind of identification be implemented. Personally I rarely have an issue with ‘normal’ cyclists who at least have some sense of their own mortality, but one can’t say the same for MAMILS who delight in playing russian roulette on public roads. Whilst accidents involving MAMILS hitting pedestrians have been carefully hidden away, I have noticed quite a few reports where one of their unruly mob inflicted grievous bodily harm on an innocent pedestrian. Political correctness dictates that like those involving crooked judiciary, these events must be buried, but sooner or later, someone ‘significant’ is going to get killed or injured by a MAMIL and then maybe we’ll see common sense prevail.

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  4. The Forgotten Cyclist

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  5. The Greens today launched Safer CBD Roads, a $6 million commitment to a grid of separated bike lanes in Brisbane’s CBD. Separated bike lanes are being introduced throughout the world as a cheap solution to cycling safety and traffic congestion problems, and are supported by motoring advocates like the RACQ. The Greens’ Lord Mayoral candidate, Ben Pennings, said:

    “Cyclists and motorists prefer to be separated to avoid fear, conflict and collisions. Separated bike lanes allow more people to cycle and reduces road congestion for everyone. Central Sydney’s separated bike lanes doubled the number of cyclists on the road, and injuries to cyclists still reduced.”

    The Greens’ Safer CDB Roads commitment for the Brisbane City Council elections would introduce a grid of separated bike lanes in the CBD, allowing cyclists to ride safely to within two blocks of any location in the city. The new lanes integrate with existing off-road cycling infrastructure into the CBD, providing a safe and pleasant journey for both commuter and recreational cyclists. Ben Pennings said:

    “Our plan will breathe life into the floundering City Cycle program too, making cycling safe for both residents and tourists. Commuters can simply touch on with their Go Card and cycle the first or final part of their journey safely separated from city traffic.”

    The recent recommendations of the coronial inquest into the tragic death of Rebekka Meyer recommended Council “engage with bicycle representative groups to investigate, plan and develop more dedicated exclusive bikeways in Brisbane.” Ben Pennings said:

    “This isn’t a cyclist or a motorist problem. It’s a political problem. Thousands want to ride to work or university but are too scared, particularly women. Only 19% of Brisbane cyclists are women, the lowest of all capital cities.”

    “Bicycle Queensland recently presented Brisbane City Council with proposals aimed to prevent any more cycling deaths in Woolloongabba. Appropriate infrastructure for cyclists can prevent such tragedies. Council needs to start listening and act on the coroners recommendations immediately.”

    Interview: Ben Pennings on 0418 164 014

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  6. 'Accidental' death of a cyclist - coroner

    On the 9th Dec 2015 Coroner Christine Clements made the following findings: “Ms Meyer’s death was caused as she cycled through the right hand turn from Stanley Street into Annerley Road immediately ahead of a fully laden conventional truck and dog trailer combination. The truck driver was unaware of her presence until he had completed the turn into Annerley Road.

    The driver could not see forward of the driver’s position for seven metres. The bull bar of the truck hit the rear tyre of the bicycle causing Ms Meyer to fall beneath the truck where she was run over by the trailer’s tyres. She suffered un- survivable multiple injuries and died instantaneously.

    It could not be determined whether when the truck driver approached the intersection Ms Meyer was already ahead of the truck in the same lane, or whether Ms Meyer passed the truck leading up to the intersection and positioned the bicycle in front of the truck before commencing the right hand turn.”

    The coroner made a number of recommendations to reduce the possibility of similar ‘accidents’ being repeated. They include:

    The Queensland Government should amend the Transport Operations (Road User Management – Road Rules) Regulation 2009, to require motor vehicles (including heavy vehicles) who stop as the first vehicle behind a bike box, to stop in a position which enables the driver to see the entire bike box.

    CORONERS- Inquest – cyclist death involving conventional truck and dog trailer

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