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MEDIA RELEASE


Vulnerable Road-User Group Slams Boswell “Do Nothing” Report

Following the release of the report last week by Senator Ron Boswell, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Transport, the peak bodies representing the most vulnerable and largest road-user group, pedestrians and cyclists, have united to slam the report as a classic “Yes-Minister, More-of-the same, Do-Nothing” farce.

In his Media Release of 25 June 2002, entitled: “HIGHEST MAY ROAD TOLL SINCE 1995” (copy attached), Senator Boswell concedes "The increase in road deaths from 155 in May 2001 to 171 in May this year represents a worrying trend … In fact, there has been an increase in fatalities every month this year except January.”

He added: “Of particular concern is the continued increase in road fatalities among bicyclists. There were 44 bicyclist deaths in the 12 months to May 2002, 18 more than in the previous 12-month period (an increase of 69%). "Female pedestrian fatalities have also increased in the 12 months to May 2002. 89 female pedestrians died in the 12 months to May 2002, 11 more than the previous 12-month period (an increase of 14%). Then Senator Boswell states: “These figures illustrate the challenges we are facing as we try to achieve a 40% reduction in the road fatality rate as part of our national road safety strategy by the year 2010.”

Ms Rosemarie Speidel, program director of the Cycling Promotion Fund said: “Sen Boswell has conceded that there is chaos on our roads, yet he has not acted on one of his strategies in order to reverse this horrific trend, or achieving his stated objective 40% reduction in road fatalities. While we are making roads and cars safer for motorists, we are killing more and more cyclists and pedestrians.”

Ms Charlie Farren, the President of the Bicycle Federation of Australia said: “According to the Federal Government's National Road Safety Action Plan 2001/2002 (quote) ‘Urban travel speeds are a significant factor affecting the increase and seriousness of crashes, especially for pedestrian and cyclists’. We demand to know why Senator Ron Boswell has not implemented any of the measures recommended in his strategies in relation to improving the safety of pedestrians and bicycle riders.”

Mr Harold Scruby, Chairman of the Pedestrian Council of Australia added: “Although we represent nearly 20 million Australians who are the largest, yet most vulnerable road users, politicians and bureaucrats always put us at the bottom of the food-chain. These statistics are proof positive that Senator Boswell’s strategies are not working. It is noteworthy that the federal government and every state and territory government has a Minister for Roads. It’s time all governments appointed Ministers for Footpaths, to advocate loudly for the rights, lives and limbs of pedestrians and cyclists and provide a balance against the over-represented petrol lobby. The health, transport and environmental benefits of walking and cycling are overwhelming.

We call on Senator Boswell to spare us these “do nothing” reports and to ACT NOW," Ms Speidel, Ms Farren and Mr Scruby said.


Media Contacts:

Rosemarie Speidel - Cycling Promotion Fund: (03) 9755-3557 - (0407) 537-760
Charlie Farren - Bicycle Federation of Australia: (03) 9827-4453 – (0411) 800-810
Harold Scruby - Pedestrian Council of Australia: (02) 9968-4555 - (0418) 110-011


25 June 2002
B62/2002

HIGHEST MAY ROAD TOLL SINCE 1995

Australia has experienced the highest May road toll since 1995.

Releasing the latest figures from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau today, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Transport and Regional Services Senator Ron Boswell said the figures were disappointing.

"The increase in road deaths from 155 in May 2001 to 171 in May this year represents a worrying trend," he said.

"In fact, there has been an increase in fatalities every month this year except January.

"The figures also reveal road fatalities have increased in the first five months of 2002 compared to the same period last year," Senator Boswell said.

There were 713 fatalities in the first five months of 2002 compared to 687 in the first five months of 2001, an increase of four per cent. New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia and South Australia all recorded increases over this period.

"Of particular concern is the continued increase in road fatalities among bicyclists," Senator Boswell said.

There were 44 bicyclist deaths in the 12 months to May 2002, 18 more than in the previous 12-month period (an increase of 69%).

"Female pedestrian fatalities have also increased in the 12 months to May 2002," he said.

89 female pedestrians died in the 12 months to May 2002, 11 more than the previous 12-month period (an increase of 14%).

"Male passenger fatalities have increased by 5 per cent from 230 in the 12 months to May 2001 to 241 in the 12 months to May 2002," he said.

"While the number of fatalities from crashes involving articulated trucks dropped almost 17%, the number of fatalities from crashes involving buses increased by almost 21% over the same period (one of the highest figures experienced in the last 5 years)."

The May 2002 road toll (May 2001 figures in brackets) was: New South Wales 55 (56), Victoria 44 (31), Queensland 27 (30), South Australia 12 (10), Western Australia 23 (17), Tasmania 3 (5), Northern Territory 5 (4), Australian Capital Territory 2 (2).

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau's Road Fatalities Australia May 2002 Bulletin is available at www.atsb.gov.au


Media Contact: Leah Nicoll (07) 3001 8150 or 0407 132 284