The Nudgee Road Conundrum

The Nudgee Road Conundrum

Nudgee Road on Brisbane’s northside is an important commuter corridor connecting the Soorley Bikeway to the city. Its shown on the TMR Principal Cycling Network plan however it does not appear on the Brisbane City Council’s interactive cycling map and leaves no safe route between the bikepaths at either end. Cyclists share this corridor with heavy traffic and parked vehicles resulting in 28 injured cyclists and one fatality in the past two decades. At the Long Street intersection where the fatality occurred, there have been two prior collisions and collisions at every intersection between Gerler Road and Manson road.

Council raised the topic following the fatal crash and stated that they would wait on the coroner to advise them what to do. A ghost bike memorial was placed near the crash site and subsequently removed, as were the following five also placed there.

Correspondence with the local councillor stated: “As you may be aware, Council received concerns from local residents who witnessed the accident and found the roadside memorial deeply distressing. Further to this, Council officers undertook a site inspection on 22 August and determined the bike posed a safety hazard. The bike was parked very close to the road, reducing pedestrian visibility, and impeding sight lines, as well as creating a potential distraction for road users.

For those who may be uncomfortable about a road fatality near where you live this is your cue to lean on the local councillor to make the area safe so such reminders are not needed.

In addition there were comments regarding other tiers of government: “While infrastructure plays a vital role in enhancing safety on our roads, it must be complemented by regulations and technology that aid in making cycling safer for residents. A 2015 inquest into a cyclist’s death on Annerley Road recommended the use of appropriate technologies to alert truck drivers to obstacles within their forward blind spots. It is regrettable that other levels of government, which are able to regulate such changes, have not yet acted on this recommendation.

Some might interpret this as zero care factor for vulnerable road users when it comes to areas where council could and should improve safety such as provide separated infrastructure or even just remove on street parking. Council have stated there needs to be a balance noting its important that people can park their trucks, cars and boats on the road despite the existence of side streets, driveways, garages and off road car parking at the nearby shops. And clearly none of these things parked at the side of the road contribute to a safety hazard needing the attention of council inspectors, reducing pedestrian visibility, and impeding sight lines and so forth. Images show what the council presumably assessed when making their decision regarding the tremendous safety hazard of a ghost bike chained to a pole between the kerb and footpath compared to the bus stop, trucks and other vehicles normally parked on the road nearby.

Enter ghost bike number 7, mounted on a trailer and legally parked at the kerb on Nudgee Road. This blatant up yours to the council has highlighted the hypocrisy of council’s position not only on continually removing the ghost bikes, but on inaction to make the road safer for all road users who travel through there. The “balance” council refers to is far from inclusive it seems. And the “record expenditure” touted is not improving safety on Nudgee Road and not at all relevant to this conversation.

Images courtesy Stephen Wisenthal and Space4cyclingbne

Some have noted parking the ghost bike on a trailer in the bike lane is not helping the safety of cyclists. In return its been stated its not in a bike lane, its parked hard up against the kerb leaving adequate room to safely pass, its not a truck, bus, car or boat which might also be parked there and its easy to see around. Its not ideal, but its not a real issue either.

Its reignited the conversation highlighting council’s inaction and deflection and arguably attempting to hide the issue by removing the prior ghost bikes. A reminder below of when this was first raised in a council meeting where Councillor David McLachlan ducked responsibility for any sort of resolution to this known safety black spot. And this is why its important the memorial remains to remind everyone that more can and should always be done to improve safety for everyone.  

Interview with Stephen Wisenthal.

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