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Three ‘rules’ for roadworks sites

RoadworksWith all the roadworks going on and no sign of them disappearing soon, we need to establish some roadworks etiquette, starting with these three “rules”.


First rule of roadworks etiquette should be that all bikes should be allowed to shuffle to the front of the queue. This will allow the traffic to get away quicker. It’s a bit like lane filtering allowing the traffic to keep flowing.

I’ve done this on many occasions at the ubiquitous remote red light machines or where there is a worker holding a STOP/SLOW sign.

Where there is a worker, they often strike up conversations, mainly talking about the bike I’m riding and telling me useful information about the works, how long they will continue and how long the hold-up will be.Roadworks
It’s all very friendly and I’ve never had a motorist honk or make rude gestures. Most seem to know bikes accelerate quickly and I’ll be out of their way as soon as the traffic moves again.

On only one occasion did the STOP/SLOW worker get upset with me shuffling to the front of the queue.

I graciously informed “Mr Hitler” with the sign that I would be out of the way of the queue of trucks and cars as soon as he turned his sign around.Roadworks queue

Speaking of trucks, rule number two should be that trucks have to pull over 100m before the sign and allow all other vehicles to get in front so the other traffic isn’t held up by slow-moving vehicles trying to return to the posted regular speed.

One of the most frustrating things about roadworks is not the work site, but the long procession of vehicles following trucks out of the work site for several kilometres.

Motorists get frustrated by slow-moving trucks and try stupid overtaking manoeuvres.

It is a matter of safety that trucks should be made to pull over and allow other vehicles to pass or display some courtesy and pull over after the roadworks site to allow vehicles past.Roadworks


The third rule of roadworks should be that slow-down speed signs and warnings about queueing traffic and possible delays shouldn’t be so far in advance of the actual work site.

Out in the country it seems these signs are so far in advance of works sites that the traffic slows, then the motorists think the works have been closed down and they start accelerating again just as they come up on the work site.

I don’t agree with speeding through roadworks, but I do believe we shouldn’t slow down so far in advance. I recently slowed down to the required 40km/h and had several vehicles pressing on my rear wheel that I simply had to speed up again.

  1. Being a council worker no.3 is a favourite of mine.
    The worksite that you mentioned, I can only assume that this site was in a 100 or 110km/hr speed zone!
    Let me try and explain why there are certain distances (long?) between these signs.
    The first sign would have been a “roadwork 1km ahead” sign or a “roadwork ahead with an 80km/hr directive” sign.
    This in turn would have been around 160-500m ,(depends on designated speed limit of area), to the next sign which would have been a “60hm/hr, workmen ahead”sign, this is where it gets interesting……yaawwnnnn…zzzzzzzzz.
    If there is a completely closed lane ahead there will be a warning sign placed 80-120m ahead of the “workmen” sign followed by a “flagman ahead/prepare to stop” sign 80-120m ahead of the warning sign…. this may also have a 40km/hr ahead warning on it.
    After that, 160-240m ahead , would have been the flagman, paddle pop man, stop/slow man, whatever you want to call him/her.
    This person would be standing 20-30m ahead of the actual worksite, it is here where the 40km/hr sign would have been, this speed limit is only implemented in the “actual” worksite and may be for the complete length of the “actual” worksite.
    This work site can be up to 1km in length, 20-30m after the end of the site there would have been a 60km/hr sign followed by a “end roadwork/100-110km/hr” sign with “drive safely” on it, this would have been 150-240m ahead of the 60km/hr sign…… that is my favourite sign, because if you get to read this it means that you made it through my worksite ALIVE and all my workmen will get to go home to their families at the end of the day…… job well done.
    This is for one scenario, there are hundreds of different ones, we are governed by a bible called “Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices”, this is a very strict book of directives issued by the “Dept of Transport and Main Roads”, 260 pages, about 1.5kg in weight, if you want one you will have to do the course or ask DTMR for a copy, good luck there…….
    If you feel that you are being pushed or bullied through a worksite, don’t speed up, take details and report them to the police or to a member of the worksite if safe to do so, it is a major offence and if seen by the traffic controller they will take note and report it themselves.
    No one likes roadworks, that includes us, all we ask is for a little patience, we know that life is short and the few minutes we are making people wait means they will be terribly inconvenienced, but it has to be done.
    Stay safe.

    1. Brad i hope you right that drivers speeding and ‘monstering’ and tailgating others are reported by the workers. i find Qld to be one of the worst places for speeding through road works, i recon they should give you guys radar guns and a ticket book, you could pull people over using a dozer, that would make them stop

      1. As a traffic management officer and trained traffic management designer ( TMD) for QLD I can say with hand on heart that TMR ( Transport and Main Roads) are trying to educate workers about correct signage set up.

        The problem has been that TMR and other authorities have been historically very lax in enforcing their own rules.

        This is changing but with most things that involve government bodies such as councils the change can be glacially slow.

        The other issue is that we live in a society that has perpetuated the “ME” syndrome. This law doesn’t apply to ME, you are doing this to ME, you cant tell ME what to do, etc.

        Also due to the historical nature of the roadwork setups as described in the article road users of ALL TYPES have become accustomed to the road work signs being inconsistent …. this leads to complacency and the only thing slower to change than councils are drivers ( of all persuasions).

        just be aware that change is happening albeit slowly.

    2. Good on you Brad. I too have been in the postion of setting up signage and hanging on to a stop/go bat. Freeway and major highway works, unfortunatly only a fellow ticketed traffic controller would understand the red tap, and state governed legistation that must be complied with, to be deemed a safe work site.
      As for the constant abuse, for keeping the road user, site workers thier plant and equipment, and ourselves safe, first on site last to leave, i take my hat off, to these guys and gals, crap pay, crap hours. But you’ll never cop any crap from me, been there done that.

      1. Thanks Mickh.
        Funny thing happened the other day when my wife and I were coming home from a nice trip through the Atherton tablelands.
        We had to go through a roadwork area that was posted at 60km/hr, all was good until a big F250 comes screaming up behind us and began to try and get me to speed up by getting up as close as he could then back off for a second then repeat the tactic again and again.
        He must have been in a big hurry to get where he wanted to get to, BUT, this particular site had some boys in blue on site, guess what, done like a burnt snag……. too funny……
        When we got to a safe area just up past the roadworks, I pulled over to see if the cook was ok, bit shook up but all good.
        We were there for a while and I was just about to put my helmet back on when Mr F250 came into view, just leaving the r’work area.
        I stood there staring at him as he got closer as if to becken him to pull over and have a chat about his stupidity, but then things got really hilarious…….
        He had his eyes looking straight forward with his head sunken into his shoulders, only flinching to his right as his delicate little flower sitting beside him swung her Austrian Body Builder type arm at his head while screaming her lungs out and pointing at us on the side of the road……….priceless……
        I couldn’t put my helmet back on for about 10 minutes after that, had to keep wiping the laughter tears from my eyes…..
        The Highway patrol car came out shortly afterwards and they pulled over to see us, they were very nice and concerned for us, they also added to my laughter by informing us of the little flowers comments to her husband as he was being booked.
        By the way, unless you are the world mixed martial arts champion or have an army in your back pocket , I wouldn’t recommend pulling someone over to add to the rage, I dont know what was going through my head at that time….. it could have ended really bad.
        Stay Safe.

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