News National National road toll for 2013 down, cycling deaths double

National road toll for 2013 down, cycling deaths double

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The national road toll has revealed a drop in road fatalities for most states and territories in 2013, with an overall lower figure than 2012.

There was a total of 1,193 deaths on the roads last year, a decrease of more than 8 per cent when compared to the previous year.

New South Wales and Victoria experienced record low figures for road fatalities. Northern Territory, Queensland, the Australian Capital Territory and Western Australia recorded fewer roads deaths. However, Tasmania and South Australia recorded slight increases.

Victoria, NSW lead country with record low figures

Victoria led the country with a 14 per cent drop in deaths compared to 2012, the state’s lowest figures since 1924. But the Victorian Government says they are adamant in working towards no fatalities.

“The key thing is that these deaths are avoidable. There are no accidents on our roads,” Victoria’s Acting Premier Peter Ryan said.

“Drivers make poor choices. They choose to speed, they choose to drive under the influence of alcohol and drugs. They choose to be distracted from the particular task at hand.”

Victorian Police Assistant Commissioner Robert Hill says the figures are not a reason to become complacent.

“This is not a success story. The success will come when we have no road trauma in this state,” he said.

New South Wales also recorded its lowest figure since 1924, with 339 road fatalities in 2013. Roads Minister Duncan Gay says the figure could be improved.

“While fewer fatalities is encouraging, that still means 339 people do not get to spend the new year with friends and family, and their loss will be felt by everyone they knew as we start 2014,” he said.

Cycling fatalities double 2012 figure

In 2013, the number of cyclist deaths on roads rose to 14, double the number from 2012.

“That’s a number we’re quite concerned about and we’re working on,” Mr Gay said.

He says the challenge is greater education and awareness.

“It’s not as simple as saying we need car drivers to be more observant of cyclists. It is a two-way street,” he said. “We need a better education program, not only for car drivers but for cyclists as well.”

Mr Gay says there has not previously been a serious policy approach to this issue.

“It’s been pretty laissez faire in this area in the past,” he said. “We need to concentrate on it and if we need to legislate, that’s one of the things we need to look at.”

NRMA spokesman Peter Khoury says there needs to be a continued focus on safer roads and driving.

“If we’re looking at reducing the road toll further there’s no single-bullet solution,” he said. “We need to continue to work on safer cars, safer roads and safer drivers.”

Mr Khoury says there has been a lack of educational campaigns and planning around cycle paths and roads.

“We’ve not done nearly enough to educate all road users on how to share the road safely,” he said.

“We’ve not been strategic enough on how and where we build cycle paths, we’ve not tried hard enough to separate cyclists and road users.”