Written by John Cain
TFM-Celtic’s John Cain has been attending Bayside Council’s meetings relating to the long overdue clearway trial currently underway. His report on the latest meeting, and some alarming developments, is reproduced with permission from the TFM-Celtic website, http://tfmceltic.webs.com/
The first round of the Beach Rd Corridor Strategy group was held earlier this week, the main theme being the presentation of a large amount of research and the review of past surveys, submissions and literature that has been generated on the topic of Beach road over the last 10 years
The majority of discussion centered on the presentation of a very detailed and technical report by Traffix Group into many aspects of life on Beach Rd. This report extended to well over 80 pages and included detailed findings into statistics such as:
· Vehicle and Bicycle volume
· Main activity centres
· Key crash sites
· Comparison of the severity of crashes on Beach Rd compared to those on other roads in the Melb metro area
· Changes in accident numbers during different months of the year
· Changes in accident numbers during different days of the week & time of day.
· Types of accidents (parked car, side swiped etc)
Some of the more interesting statistics were the growth in the number of cyclists -
As survey undertaken at Beaumaris between the hours of 6 am and 10 am over one weekend in July 2005 recorded 2,275 vehicles on the road compared to 3,488 bicycles. This number has stood as a key statistic for many years but as we all know the number of cyclists has boomed since 2005. The survey was re taken in September 2010 with astounding results. The new survey was taken at the same location for the same period of time. Car numbers were virtually unchanged at 2,326 – an increase of only 50 cars. However there were a very impressive 7510 – more than double the number of cyclists compared to 5 years prior. Based on those numbers I would have to assume it was taken over one of the few dry weekends we had in Sept last year.
The Black Rock roundabout (and surrounds) gets the honours as the most crash prone area of Beach Rd with no fewer than 25 serious or fatal accidents in the area in the 5 years to December 2009. This DOES NOT include accidents of a less serious nature. Next in line was Brighton Baths – understandable given the level of traffic in this area.
Not surprisingly is the fact that 9 am Saturdays are the most crash prone time of the day/week on Beach Rd. Sunday had the next highest number of crashes followed by Tuesday, Wednesday then Thursdays. The safest day was Monday.
As usual a lot of discussion was held around the current issues that surround Beach Rd including, cyclist behavior, motorist attitude & heavy vehicle usage.
Next steps for the Strategy review will be an assessment of the “No Stopping” trial – and this is where it gets interesting. Over the month of February, Vic Roads will be undertaking a number of surveys to assess the impact/effectiveness of the “No Stopping” trial. The surveys will include:
· Letter box drop survey of Beach Rd residents – no prizes for guessing how this will turn out.
· Survey of Businesses on Beach Rd
· Survey of Sandy Hospital crash stats – I know these have been high of late (approx 6 per week)
· Surveying off street car park occupancy – and finally
· Video assessment of cyclist behavior
This latter point is the one we can all have an impact on. The method they will use is comparing “before” data with “after (now)” data. I am not sure how long ago the “before” video was taken but the after data will be taken NOW. The assessment will be looking for the incidence of running red lights, hand signals, more than 2 abreast, occupying more than one lane, greater than 30 in a pack, drafting cars.
My take on this is that if the review finds that there has been no material improvement in the behavior of cyclists, particularly in respect to occupying one lane then there will be little point for the authorities to see the “No Stopping” trial becoming permanent.
For the next 4 weeks I urge all cyclists to do all they can to ensure they cycle within the code of conduct and to urge as many other cyclists to do the same. If you see someone out videotaping do not abuse them – this will not help the cause.
I cannot stress enough how critical I think this analysis will be as I suspect that all the other surveys will contain levels of bias. I believe Vicroads and others will be looking to see that the no stopping trial has had a beneficial effect on the flow of traffic and cyclist behavior. It is up to us.