Sometimes there’s nothing like a bit of data to make a case — or strengthen an argument.  When it comes to the stretch of Kyogle Road between Braeside Drive and Glenock Road, some 650 metres, I have wondered since February 2016 if that was a particularly dangerous place.

That stretch of road that claimed three lives I knew about — probably four. But was it really that dangerous?

Now I have reliable data to show that it is/or was. Blessedly, that whole stretch has been repaired by Tweed Shire– with a guardrail.

I thank them for doing that.

It will open next month.

But when I look at the data for that road, I ask myself, what would Karl say?

Maybe he’d say something like, “Holy crap!” Or “OMG!” Or “I can’t believe it.”

Or, more likely, knowing Karl, he’d say: “I knew it all the time.”

An act of self-sacrifice

On my sad days, missing him so much that my heart is aching in my chest, I imagine that Karl’s death was an act of martyrdom, of self-sacrifice. Having driven that stretch of Kyogle Road hundreds of times (maybe a thousand times) for fifteen years, he knew how dangerous it was. He knew it would claim more live if it wasn’t repaired.

AND maybe he knew that I and his friends would try to do something about it. If he gave us just one more shred of evidence: his precious life.

Kyogle Road, Uki, NSW

Some simple statistics

Let’s take a look at some simple statistics (not about Kyogle Road — I’ll come to that later):

What about undivided 2-lane roads? Look at this table.

What does that table tell us about how dangerous 2-lane rural roads are?

Road Deaths

Or let’s look at this, just comparing percentages of deaths on roads in one municipality with the rest of New South Wales:

In both 2015 and 2017, Tweed Shire had a much higher percentage of road deaths than the rest of the RMS Northern Region or the whole of New South Wales — by as much as 9%.

Something is wrong here.

Something is wrong here.

Is anyone looking at these data and asking: “What can we do about people being killed on these dangerous rural roads?”

Notice I am not saying “fatalities”. These are real people who are bleeding to death on our rural roads.

They are dying.

These are deaths. Dead people who used to be alive.

Then let’s look at this image:

A lovely country road. Or so it seems.

To the expert eye, however, it’s a disaster waiting to happen.

Look at this map:

Here are the data to support that map above:

What about the weather as a factor in road casualties (see below for 2010 to 2016)?

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I am a crash survivor, not a road planner or manager.

But I reckon that Blind Freddy can see the problem just from looking at available data.

There is more to road safety than encouraging safe driver behaviour.

There’s something wrong with our rural roads.

And, I for one, want to fix that problem so that no more beautiful people die on our roads.

No more dead people on our rural roads.

Is anyone listening?