A rider’s call for ute and truck tarps and/or cargo nets, as in Queensland, has been rejected by the Victorian Department of Transport.
Longtime motorcycle advocate Rodney Brown (pictured above) says debris from utes and trucks is particularly dangerous to vulnerable motorcycle, scooter and bicycle riders.
He should know; he suffered multiple injures and wrote off his bike when he crashed on Riddells Creek Bridge after hitting a slippery liquid that had spilt out of a 15-litre white bucket that had fallen off the back of a vehicle.
So in 2018, he started a campaign to get utes and trucks to secure their loads with a tarp or cargo net as in Queensland where the fine starts at $200.
Cargo nets rejected
Despite Rod’s many protestations to government, Transport Department spokesman Roger Chao has now rejected the move, saying they are “not the ideal solution for all circumstances”.
“Victoria’s laws require the operator to restrain a vehicle’s load down securely so that it does not come off,” he says.
The rules are similar in other states such as NSW.
“It is the operator’s responsibility to assess the most appropriate method to secure the load for each particular set of conditions. Therefore, we maintain our position that it would not be adequate to mandate a specific method to use on all vehicles types when carrying different loads.
Yet there is no specific law requiring loads to be covered as there is in most other states which stipulate penalties for not securing a load properly.
Such laws are preventative, rather than the Victorian punitive rule that only applies a penalty if load debris causes a crash.
Rod says VicRoads only suggests “nets and tarpaulins may be used to restrain lighter items”.
He proposed that all light vehicles such as cars, utes, vans, trailers (including boats on trailers) and trucks (gross vehicle mass up to 4.5 tonnes) must be covered with a approved tarp or cargo net so that nothing can escape.
“This is a no-brainer, based on the costs involved with doing nothing,” he says.
“I have gone as far as possible with this current Victorian government.
“The next step will be to take this issue up with a newly elected government.
“Examples of this approach was getting filtering and new road riding assessment of L riders happening due to a change of government. Thank heavens other states don’t think like our Victorian government does. Towards Zero – what a joke.”