Share the Street

Vulnerable road users account for approximately one third of road fatalities each year in Tasmania.

Last year 12 of the 36 fatalities on Tasmanian roads were vulnerable users – seven were motorcyclists, four were pedestrians and one was an ATV rider. In our major towns and cities, pedestrians and cyclists represent one in four serious casualties.

Today’s theme for National Road Safety Week is Share the Street and reminds all road users that the roads must be shared.

“Our cyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians are our most vulnerable road users and as you can see from the statistics, unfortunately they feature prominently in fatal and serious injuries,” said the Chair of the Road Safety Advisory Council, Scott Tilyard.

“Vulnerable users have little or no protection in the event of a crash with a motor vehicle and are at a higher risk of serious injury or death if hit at speeds of 30 kilometres an hour.

Mr Tilyard said all road users had a part to play in keeping our roads safe.

“Drivers should scan the road around them, check their blind spots frequently and never underestimate their speed – in slow moving traffic, sometimes cyclists can be moving faster than cars.

“Simple actions like letting others merge, leaving safe distances around cyclists and trucks and watching out for cyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians make our roads safer,” said Mr Tilyard.

“Pedestrians should also be paying full attention to the roads around them, especially when crossing.”

As part of National Road Safety Week activities, a “Swapping Seats” activation will be set up at UTas Stadium ahead of this afternoon’s National Road Safety Round AFL game between Hawthorn and St Kilda.  Organised by the Bicycle Network, Swapping Seats aims to educate vulnerable road users about the blind spots on large trucks and how to keep safe on our roads.  

“With many heading to the football in Launceston this afternoon, we encourage visitors to the ground to stop by our activation and jump in the driver’s seat of the truck to see firsthand the challenges that can come with driving a large vehicle,” said the Tasmanian Public Affairs Manager of the Bicycle Network in Tasmania, Alison Hetherington.

“The swapping seats activity is an important lesson on blind spots not only for people on bicycles but all vulnerable road users.

“Many of us don’t realise the extent of truck drivers’ blind spots when it comes to seeing people on bicycles – the main lesson from Swapping Seats is to always be cautious around heavy vehicles and to keep clear, especially when they are turning.”

Tasmania’s peak freight transport body, the Tasmanian Transport Association,

The Swapping Seats initiative is strongly supported by Tasmania’s peak freight transport body, the Tasmanian Transport Association

“Trucks have four main blind spots – immediately in front, beside the driver’s door, directly behind the truck, and on the passenger side extending out from the door backwards, said Executive Director Michelle Harwood.

“If you are in one of these blind spots, it’s highly likely the driver won’t know you’re there.  It’s important to be aware of these blind spots and to stay out of them as much as possible.”