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Action on road safety

At the Regional Advisory Committee Forum at Cradle Mountain Hotel in September, three workshops were conducted with committee members and stakeholders, with some key action items to be looked at in the coming months.

​Garry Bailey, in his former role as adviser, Bicycle Network, conducted a workshop session further exploring the legislation of minimum passing distances for cyclists.

There were a number of issues consistently raised by participants, including:
• Lane filtering, where cyclists legally pass stationary or slow-moving traffic on the left at a distance of less than 1m.
• Enforcement by Tasmania Police.
• Education on responsibilities of drivers and cyclists.

Discussions were also held regarding registration for cyclists, mandatory high-viz clothing and riding in groups.

As a result of participant feedback, RACT will review the active transport policies of other Australian Auto Clubs and expand on our current policy. In addition, the Road and Traffic Committee will consider providing in-principle support for minimum 1.5m passing distance legislation, contingent on clarification regarding the above concerns.

A workshop session was also conducted by Craig Hoey, Manager Road Safety Branch, Department of State Growth, presenting proposed changes to the Graduated Licensing Scheme to bring Tasmania in line with major states. Participants were very supportive of the following changes:
• Requirement for learner drivers to undergo hazard perception testing.
• Prohibition of all mobile phone usage, including hands-free.
• Introduction of 15 supervised hours of night driving.

In addition, most participants were supportive of the following changes:
• Minimum supervised driving hours to be increased to 80 hours, although some participants were concerned about the increased burden for young drivers.
• Peer passenger restrictions, although some participants expressed concern about the effect this would have on young people in regional areas with few or no public transport options, those travelling to and from work and those transporting peers for study. The difficulties that police may face in enforcing these restrictions were also discussed.

RACT will refer these outcomes and discussion points to the Road and Traffic Committee for consideration.

The RACT convenes Regional Advisory Committees in the south, north and north-west,
each of which informs the organisation’s advocacy activity with local road and traffic issues. The provision of this local knowledge and perspectives is critical to the work RACT undertakes with all tiers of Government.

Martin Blake, Director Network Management, Department of State Growth, conducted a workshop session that encouraged Regional Advisory Committee members to put forward local priorities for discussion.

Below is a summary of the points discussed:

North-West
• A slip lane at Caltex at Latrobe was discussed. It was agreed that State Growth would review and provide RACT with an update.
• Concerns were also raised about deteriorating condition on some parts of the Bass Highway.

South
• State Growth is supportive of a speed limit relocation at East Derwent Highway and Sugarloaf Rd.
• Arthur Highway at Eaglehawk Neck is a priority for State Growth and the Southern Regional Advisory Committee.
• It was agreed that issues surrounding road ownership on Bruny Island need to be resolved by State Growth and Kingborough Council.
• The removal of a slip lane on the Midland Highway at Melton Mowbray was discussed and it was agreed that education is required regarding driving on painted median strips.
• A reduced speed limit on South Arm Road was discussed.

North
• Possible traffic congestion as a result of UTAS campus relocation was discussed. It was reported that State Growth and the City of Launceston are working together to undertake modelling to finalise their position on traffic impact.
• $40 million needs to be spent on the West Tamar Highway during the next 6-7 years.
• Speed reduction measures near intersections were discussed. State Growth expressed interest in further discussion.
• A reduced speed limit at Hagley Station Lane was discussed and it was agreed that State Growth would review and provide RACT with an update.

We will continue to report on the progress of these workshop action items in future issues of Journeys.

RACT members are welcome and encouraged to submit priorities and/or concerns for their local Regional Advisory Committee to consider. Each committee meets every two months to
review key road and traffic issues.

More information can be found at ract.com.au/regional-advisory-committees.

This article first appeared in Journeys magazine’s October/November issue. For more great reads visit www.ract.com.au/journeys-magazine