Repairs to shoddy Mt Glorious roadworks have been delayed while Queensland’s Main Roads finds “specialised contractor” after a rider crashed this week in slippery melting tar.
The Sydney rider, Stephen Thomas, suffered minor injuries and his Honda was damaged, but he was able to ride home, according to eye witnesses.
They say he was lucky not to die when his bike crashed into the guard rail.
His bike picked up large chunks of melting tar mixed with gravel from the road surface because of the faulty roadworks.
A statement from the Queensland Transport and Main Roads (TMR) Department says they are monitoring conditions:
Repairs to this section of Mount Glorious Road, locally known as Northbrook Parkway, have been delayed while we source a specialised contractor to undertake the seal rejuvenation works.
The repairs should now be finalised by the end of next week, weather permitting.
In the meantime, our contractor has been monitoring road conditions.
Safety signs installed last week will remain in place until improvement works are completed.
Our Traffic Management Centre confirmed that no reported incidents were recorded for Northbrook Parkway as of this morning.
We remind motorcyclists to always ride to conditions and recognise their responsibility to ride sensibly and safely within the law.
We remain committed to ensuring motorcycling is a safe and enjoyable experience for those who choose to ride.
TMR was last week alerted to the problem by riders who experienced loss of traction. They responded by placing an electronic 50km/h warning sign on the wrong corner.
When we advised them of their mistake last week, they moved it to the correct corner. However, in the morning, it is difficult to read with the sun on the screen.
Maurice Blackburn Lawyers principal Malcolm Cumming says road authorities have a duty of care to “take all reasonable steps to make sure all their roads are safe for all motorists, including vulnerable road users”.
“It seems that a lot of the time the way road authorities do repair work is with complete disregard to any motorists not driving a car or other four-wheeled vehicle,” he says.
“Loose debris and poor road conditions (such as melting tar) may not be much of a hazard for most vehicles but they are extremely dangerous for riders.”
He pointed out a case where a crashed rider successfully sued a council and contractor for poor roadworks that left debris behind near Nimbin in northern NSW.
Malcolm says Maurice Blackburn Lawyers are representing several riders who have crashed on poorly maintained roads or roadworks where the authority knew of a problem.
“Most relate to the deliberate practice of leaving loose material on the roadworks with no attempt to clear away debris,” he says.
Malcolm says there is a systemic lack of satisfactory national regulations and compliance on the quality of roadworks.
“A lot of the time the roadworks are obviously sub-par and there is no question they would not meet any standard at all,” he says.
“There seems to be no supervision by the relevant authorities of the work that their contractors are carrying out.”
Of course, Malcolm suggests crashed riders seek legal advice.
“But the other crucial point is that riders who observe defective roads or roadworks should report it to the relevant road authority in writing so that it is a matter of record,” he says.
“Most importantly to promote roadworks to fix the defect but also if something consequently happens to someone, if it’s been reported to the authority, it’s of enormous significance in the success of bringing a claim after the event.
“The state of knowledge of the authority can be very important in these cases.”
There was some hope of official recommendations on roadworks from a coronial inquest last year into the death of a motorcyclist who hit a pothole on roadworks at a new bridge near Goulburn.
However, the coroner issued no findings of fault, nor made recommendations for councils to promptly fix road defects.
To be fair, the council had already admitted its incompetence and addressed the major issues.
Also, it should be noted that the Nimbin case shows riders can successfully sue relevant authorities and contractors for shoddy roadworks.
The concern among riders is that TMR will reduce the 80km/h speed limit on the Northbrook Parkway to 60km/h where the crash occurred this week.
Local rider David White has petitioned government for increased speed limits on the mountain after speeds were dropped as much as 20km/h in some area over the past few years.
“I am extremely concerned that TMR’s reaction will be to lower speed limits permanently,” he says.
“If they do this, I would view it as a totally unacceptable response.”