Ripple strips on double white lines and edge lines on two sections of the Oxley Highway have been challenged by local riders as slippery, dangerous and “madness”.
However, the Roads and Maritime Services says they will prevent drivers dangerously crossing on to the wrong side of the road and follow complaints raised by riders in November 2017.
One rider posted this video of a ute crossing double white lines along the mountain section.
Local rider and Save the Oxley campaign founder Ken Healey says if a rider clips the 2.5cm-high ripple strips, they will come off.
RMS calls the ripple strips “audio-tactile line marking”. They are part of $10 million in roadworks on the highway that also include reducing the speed limit from 100km/h to 80km/h along 44 km of the mountain section.
Local businesses have claimed the speed reductions have cost them dearly.
Click here to read of the economic impact of the speed zones on tourism and local businesses.
RMS defends ripple strips
The RMS says the two sections with ripple strips were “identified due to wet weather conditions throughout the year, reducing the visibility of road markings and surface of the road for motorists”.
“Motorcyclists have raised the issue of vehicles crossing the centre lines as a significant risk for them when travelling this route. The vibration of the centre tactile edge lines on roads help alert drivers when they are drifting outside their lane and reduces incidences of this occurring.
“Audio-tactile line marking has been successful in driver fatigue management and keeping vehicles in their lanes, improving road safety for all motorists, and motorcyclists in particular.”
Ken says the ripple strips would “make no difference to cars and trucks” that would still drive over them, but would “kill motorcyclists”.
“For motorcyclists it leaves no room for error,” he says.
Ken photographed the ripple strips which are “big chunks of some sort of epoxy resin that are about an inch high”.
If a motorcyclist hits these ripple strips he/she is off the bike and will slide straight across the road and into a wire rope barrier or Armco barrier.”
The RMS did not supply us with any research to prove ripple strips were safe for riders.
However, Motorcycle Club of NSW member Steve Pearce says we don’t need research to tell us how dangerous they are to motorcyclists.
“They are slippery, wet or dry and will make a motorcycle unstable at the slightest contact,” he says.
“It’s just a bad idea which will lead to more deaths and injuries to motorcyclists. The NSW Roads Minister and the local member is just plain anti-motorcycle.”
The ripple strips are placed on many corners where an errant rider might clip the centre line.
Petition the Minister
Ken has urged all riders who use the highway to call on local member and Roads Minister Melinda Pavey to remove the ripple strips.
He suggests riders participate in the minister’s current online survey here. Click here to fill it out.
The RMS had originally proposed to reduce several speed zones by as much as 40km/h along the length of the highway from Wauchope to Walcha.
However, local protests organised by Ken and colleagues forced a review of their proposals, resulting in the 20km/h reduction on the 44km mountain section only.
Ken suggests riders not only call for the ripple strips to be removed, but also to remove the reduced speed limit.
“The current reduced speed limit has had no effect on Road Safety,” he says.
“In fact, it has created an increased chance of head-on collisions with motorists attempting to overtake slower vehicles in short overtaking opportunities travelling at only 80km/h or far less.
“The speed reduction has seen a substantial decrease in motorcycle numbers to the extent of serious loss of turn-over for local businesses.”
His petition ‘Not to Reduce the Oxley Hwy Speed Limits’ attracted more than 10,700 signatures.