First published August 9, 2013
Far northern residents who are interested in making roads safer for both cyclists and motorists are invited to attend a discussion forum on the issue in Cairns next week.
The Safer Together panel and discussion forum on road safety will be held on Wednesday August 14 at the Cairns Institute at James Cook University.
The event has been organised by the Tropical NQ Branch of the Planning Institute of Australia (PIA), JCU’s TropEco and the Cairns Cardiac Cyclist Inc organisation, which orgainses the Cairns Cardiac Challenge.
The forum aims to deliver a better understanding between road users, a list of cyclists’ priorities to take to, or reconfirm with local, state, federal governments, and a better connection between all cycle and road user groups to increase coordination of activities.
PIA’s Young Planner spokesperson Hansley Gumbaketi said the public forum was designed to address the frequent tension between road users to prevent unnecessary accidents on the roads.
President of the PIA Tropical NQ, Nikki Huddy said the forum would centre on road use and ways to protect both groups of users on the roads and the challenges of implementing current policies and infrastructure projects.
“We aim to identify what is already being done locally in Cairns to improve safety for cyclists and motorists on the roads, such as the Bike Bus concept,” she said.
“Cairns is bound to change, but there there are things we can hold onto as a community and not compromise on, we just need to make sure we all share the same vision and are more united on issues affecting our community.”
Ms Huddy said the event would involve a range of groups, including Cairns councilors, representative experts in planning and engineering, police and local businesses to discuss how to make Cairns roads safer and more sensitive for all road users’ needs.
“It is essential that we have all these groups of people together to discuss our city’s weak points, otherwise we can’t change anything,” she said.
The event will also involve participants from the Amy Gillett foundation and RACQ, to help provide Cairns with the opportunity to “set the scene” in a lead up to the upcoming State Parlimentary review into cycle safety to be hosted by Cairns, Ms Huddy said.
The event has been inspired by the 1000 cyclists who rode in memory of Tanya Roneberg from the Cairns Hockey Grounds to Trinity Beach Baseball Ground in May this year.
Ms Roneberg was a local resident who had embraced the cycling spirit in Cairns leading up to the Cairns Airport Challenge. Tragically, her training ride on the Captain Cook Highway was to end up costing Tanya her life after an accident with a motorist.
Ms Huddy said since Tanya’s death, the community reaction had been both inspiring and “horrifying”.
“Tanya’s death reveals how unsafe our roads are but more so, the inability of roads to cope with a community which is embracing cycling,” she said.
“We have a very long way to go in getting our communities to appreciate the different threads that enrich the tapestry of a town.
“The forum is an opportunity to come together as a community and discuss one of these threads being the safety of our roads for the sake of all road users.”
Speakers include Steve Spalding from RACQ, Sean Sampson from the Amy Gillett Foundation, Professor Bob Stevenson from JCU’s Cairns Institute, Councillor Richie Bates, Mark Allen from the Trinity Beach Bike Bus, and Marty Lambert, President of Queensland Parks and Leisure.
Ms Huddy said the forum would centre on road use and ways to protect both groups of users on the roads and the challenges of implementing current policies and infrastructure projects.
“Secondly, and most importantly, we aim to identify what is already being done locally in Cairns to improve safety for cyclists and motorists on the roads.”
Date: Wednesday 14 August
Time: light refreshments from 6pm, tour of Cairns Institute from 6.30pm, 7pm – 9pm main discussion
Venue: Cairns Institute building Room D3.054, JCU
Cost: Registration: $11. All proceeds will go to the FNQHF and the Amy Gillett Foundation.
For further information or interviews, contact:
Ms Nikki Huddy, Town Planner, MPIA, President – TNQ Branch of Planning Institute of Australia, and student at JCU’s Centre for Tropical Urban & Regional Planning – mob 0447 323 384
Mr Hansley Gumbaketi
TNQ PIA Young Planner Rep, MPIA and JCU student – mob 0421 579 565
JCU Media contact: Caroline Kaurila (07) 4781 4586 or 0437 028 175