VW Hatchback with bike on roof racks driving on rural highway
Advocating change

Tasmania has spoken - and you want change

When we asked you for your views on road safety in August, we knew to expect a big reaction, writes Garry Bailey.

Every time we set out to see what our 210,000 members are thinking through our quarterly surveys, road safety comes up as a key issue. So, when we asked Tasmanians to contribute their views on road safety as part of our project to provide a submission to the Legislative Council Select Committee into Road Safety, we were certain that there would be no shortage of material.

A long history of regular engagement with our members helped us be well prepared for the reaction. We expected a big response – and got it. A total of 2010 submissions were received through a special portal established on the RACT website for this exercise in community engagement.

And it wasn’t just the big-picture items that they brought to our attention. There is a mass of material on the quality of individual roads; ideas for behaviour-change campaigns; anecdotes about poor driver behaviour; pleas for people to slow down; black spots that need to be fixed; speed limits that people want changed; road markings that need renewal.

It’s a rich harvest that will help inform our advocacy beyond the road safety inquiry, with implications for transport and infrastructure issues too. The survey exercise shows the value of connecting with Tasmanians to test the temperature of community issues such as road safety and transport as they arise.

Many of the issues raised are already captured in the comprehensive range of RACT policies, (available for review online). And as we work through the extensive material supplied by the survey, we expect to add to those policies. Those policies, and the evidence that underpin them, were the foundation for our submission to the road safety inquiry.

That submission will be publicly released by the Select Committee into Road Safety. There were many other discussions, as we cast the net far and wide for information for the submission – from our local partnerships with the Police Association of Tasmania, the Local Government Association of Tasmania, the Bicycle Network, to tapping into the expertise in Sweden, Norway, the Fédération Internationale de l‘Automobile and the Australian Automobile Association (of which the RACT is a member).

And there was the considerable evidence from past inquiries, both in Tasmania and nationally, that add to what we believe is a compelling narrative for change in road safety in this state. Our message: We need to do things differently.