The human body is unlikely to survive an uncushioned impact with a vehicle travelling at more than 30km/h (Vicroads 2008, p12).
Where traffic moves at higher speeds it is vital that we separate pedestrians from vehicles by way of off-road paths and pedestrian facilities.
Where pedestrians have to cross roads, the crossings that are provided need to be of a high standard.Across Australia, pedestrians account for approximately one quarter of all road deaths in metropolitan/urban areas (Australian Transport Council 2008, p48) and so managing pedestrian behaviour through enforcement and engineering is especially important in this environment.
Similarly to pedestrians, bicycle riders are vulnerable road users and are much more likely to be injured in the event of a crash than motor vehicle occupants (Queensland Transport 2008, p25).
European research suggests that the risk of being killed per traffic kilometre travelled is more than seven times higher for cyclists than for car occupants, with the severity of injury sustained in crashes also higher (Townsend and Avenoso 2008, p30).
It is sometimes argued that cycling and walking should be discouraged, as they are less safe modes of transport than a car (Townsend and Avenoso 2008, p27). However, research suggests that the public health advantages of walking and cycling, e.g., a healthy lifestyle through regular exercise, outweigh the risk of death or injury from road crashes (Townsend and Avenoso 2008, p27).
Therefore, in order that riders can be kept safe while still maintaining a level of mobility, there is a need to provide suitable separate off-road cycling facilities, especially where the other options for cyclists are riding on higher-speed roads where injuries sustained in crashes will be more severe.
Bicycle helmets substantially reduce the risk of death or brain injury for cyclists (Australian Transport Council 2008, p48) and still need to be actively promoted and policed to encourage compliance.
Providing a safe co-existence between cyclists, pedestrians and other traffic through better education, enforcement and engineering – particularly in busy urban environments – is, and will continue to be, an ongoing challenge for all road users, agencies and authorities.
Under the Australian Road Rules a driver of a motorised wheelchair is also classified as a pedestrian and must follow the same rules as pedestrians, e.g., using a footpath where provided.
These devices are growing in popularity and some sections of the community may not be aware of, or understand, their responsibilities for the safe and legal use of these mobility devices, e.g., registration and insurance issues. Users of these devices commit an offence if they:
RACQ research about drivers and cyclists shows that others breaking road rules annoys everybody, but that many riders and drivers are not aware of the road rules.
APCC Presentation (PDF 1,643KB)
In late 2015, RACQ developed a brochure with Bike Queensland to inform bike riders and motorists of the road rules applying to bikes in Queensland.
RACQ road rules brochure for bikes (PDF 2.48KB)
As motorists and cyclists how can we share the roads more safely? This RACQ TV episode looks at some of the concerns expressed by both cyclists and motorists and offers some advice on how we can all make the roads a safer place.