Accent On Albury is a glossy brochure our local council produces a few times each year, with community events and promotions. I always read it right through – not only is it well put together but I like to get some idea of what’s on locally.
The front page piece for February 2010 is ‘Take care to protect cyclists on our roads’. It aims at informing (reminding of road rules) and especially at improving safety. There must be some concern at our statistics:
The percentage of Albury car crashes in which a cyclist is hurt or killed is more than double the state average.
Sixty-seven cyclists were killed or injured on our roads from 2004-2008. Of all car crashes in Albury that resulted in casualties, 13% involved a cyclist, compared with 5.8% across NSW.
It’s good to make us think of safety. But I doubt that the council is really concerned. If they were, they would have to consider the condition of local roads, as well as decisions made in road planning. Some are crazy. Instead of this, the only suggested reason for such a high rate is participation.
To some extent, these figures reflect the number of local people who cycle, according to AlburyCity’s Road Safety Officer, Kate de Henin.
Hmm. Sounds like too easy an explanation. As soon as you do any reading on cycling and safety, you come across quotations like this, from Bicycle Victoria:
A new study published in the April 2005 issue of the Health Promotion Journal of Australia has found that the more pedestrians and cyclists who share the roads with motorists, the more likely they are to arrive at their destination safely, supporting the concept of ‘safety in numbers’
In other words, Albury should have *fewer* injuries and deaths, having a higher participation rate. I like what this article does to remind about roads rules. I commend its tone of voice – not confrontational or finger-pointing. But I also think it’s time for council to work harder on roads, road markings, intersections, and cycle lanes.