Members statement- Wire rope barriers

Mr O'SULLIVAN— I would like to speak this afternoon in relation to the installation of wire rope barriers along many country roads. There is no doubt that road safety is very important, and the statistics show that accidents in regional areas are beyond what they should be. In the northern region wire rope barriers have been rolled out along the Hume Freeway, the Calder and also the Goulburn Valley Highway. Obviously this has been undertaken by the Transport Accident Commission in conjunction with VicRoads.

The barriers are certainly positive in terms of what they are trying to do, but some unintended consequences have occurred as a result of the rollout of these barriers. Anyone who rides a motorbike is very fearful of ever coming into contact with them if they come off. They are referred to in that fraternity as the cheese graters. Certainly the motorbike riders do not particularly like them as they see them as being dangerous.

The problem with the barriers that I am starting to see, and many people are coming to talk to me about, is the fact that they are actually being put up too close to the road itself and there is not enough room for run-offs. We actually saw a fatality only in the last week where a lady died when she ran into one of these barriers. I think we need to have a better understanding of where these barriers actually need to be placed, and that needs to be much further away from the road so they can actually do what they are intended to do. It is a pity that the Minister for Roads and Road Safety said that anyone who questions these wire rope barriers is a banjo-playing dingbat.

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