Home' South Gippsland Sentinel-Times : March 21, 2017 Edition Contents THE SOUTH GIPPSLAND SENTINEL-TIMES, TUESDAY, MARCH 21, 2017 - PAGE 15
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RUMBLE strips will be installed at the intersec-
tion of Smiths Beach Road and Back Beach Road,
at a cost of $40,000 to ratepayers.
But some Bass Coast Shire councillors are con-
cerned that no amount of improvement to roads in
the shire will change driver attitudes and human
At a council meeting on Wednesday, March 15,
councillors discussed the importance of imple-
menting changes to the intersection, after a peti-
tion signed by residents of Smiths Beach called for
improvements to safety.
VicRoads officers and the Bass Coast Shire
Council will now work together to reduce speed
at the Smiths Beach intersection, after the tragic
death of a baby in December 2016.
The 24-year-old male driver involved in the ac-
cident was charged in February with multiple of-
fences, including driving under the influence of al-
cohol, culpable driving causing death, and failure
to stop at a stop sign.
Island ward councillor, Stephen Fullarton, said
that the decision was not an overreaction.
“Something has to be done,” Cr Fullarton said.
“It’s difficult to control a situation when you have
a driver like that. I don’t see it as a knee-jerk reac-
tion at all.”
Cr Michael Whelan agreed, saying that residents
of the area have loudly expressed their safety fears.
“Along Smiths Beach Road, people do talk about
their concerns. I think what’s been put together
here is a good, simple measure to address the
community’s concerns,” Cr Whelan said.
However, the decision to fund changes to the
notorious intersection sparked debate among
councillors about road safety in Bass Coast, and
whether improvements to infrastructure can effec-
tively account for human error.
According to data from the Transport Accident
Commission (TAC), since January 2014 there
have been seven fatalities on roads in the Bass
Three of the fatalities have involved the vehicle
running off a straight road.
During the same period, 136 people have been
hospitalised after a road accident in the shire, with
31 people hospitalised after an accident involving
a vehicle losing control on a bend, and 25 people
after a vehicle has run off a straight road.
Cr Bruce Kent, who is a police officer based in
San Remo, said he was concerned that road safety
improvements are worthless if driver attitudes
“The gentleman who went through this intersec-
tion was drunk; let’s not muck around,” Cr Kent
“He was highly intoxicated, he was not in control
of that motor vehicle, and unfortunately a baby
died. It’s an awful situation.
“I don’t want to put humour into this, but ripple
strips for a drunk driver who is not in control, all
he is going to experience is a bumpy road.”
Cr Kent said there are a number of intersections
and stretches of road across the shire, such as Sol-
diers Road in Bass that have excellent vision and
clear signage but still have accidents occurring.
“It’s got the clearest view of any intersection I
know of. It continues to have collisions. We’ve got
the human factor there,” Cr Kent said.
“We could name several intersections that are
of a similar nature. Do we jump in now and treat
every one of these intersections with ripple strips.
“There are a lot of other intersections out there
that you should be naming as dangerous. This in-
tersection, for a prudent, safe driver, is not dan-
gerous. This is not going to solve the problem of
drunk drivers. Maybe education from the council
would do that.”
Cr Geoff Ellis named intersections at Wattle
Bank and Lance Creek as previous examples of
making changes to road infrastructure with little
“There’s one at Lance Creek where there are
ripple strips and they’re now putting in a round-
about, because the strips proved to be ineffective,”
Cr Ellis said.
“There’s another intersection in Wattle Bank, the
corner of Lynnes Road and Inverloch Road, where
people have been campaigning for ripple strips for
years, and there was a tragedy where a woman
was killed there three years ago.
“I really get that what happened was bad, but I
also think there are any number of intersections
that require more work in our road network.
“I’d like to think we could look at the whole big-
ger scheme of things rather than just one particu-
lar road, and one particular intersection.”
The Bass Coast Shire Council will now use
surplus funds from the 2016/17 budget to install
rumble strips on Smiths Beach Road.
for Smiths Beach
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