CONSIDERATION OF NOTIFIED MOTION - “Share the Road” style campaign:
(Notified motions are printed as supplied and are not edited) 585/2013-14
The Chairman of Council (Councillor Margaret de WIT) then drew the Councillors’ attention to the notified motion listed on the agenda, and called on the Leader of the Opposition, Councillor Milton DICK to move the motion. Accordingly, Councillor DICK moved, seconded by Councillor Helen ABRAHAMS, that—
This Council determines to fund a “Share the Road” style of campaign and directs the CEO to urgently prepare a submission to Council (including funding provisions) to undertake such a campaign. The campaign's focus should be to encourage all road users to demonstrate safe behaviour, particularly with regard to interactions between cyclists and motorists on Brisbane's roads. The campaign should be designed to work in partnership with any initiatives by the State Government to improve safety for cyclists.
Chairman: Debate Councillor DICK.
Councillor DICK: Look thank you very much, Madam Chair, and I am delighted to rise to speak on an issue that affects all motorists and cyclists across our city and really across Australia, across the nation. I think all of us, Madam Chair, have been shocked and horrified at the increasing number of accidents that are reported and shocking and disturbing incidences that we're seeing between cyclists and vehicles on the roads. It was only last week where we saw the shocking video of a cyclist being run into by and collisions on the roads and we're seeing on a regular basis tragic and sometimes fatal accidents across this city.
Madam Chair, we know that this is a growing issue because we're seeing more and more reported accidents on our roads. Drivers need to accept that commuter-cycling isn't going away and today I'm really pleased that this Council is able to have a debate and I want this debate to be constructive. I want us to unite on an issue that the community is calling action for. Since I raised this issue last week, I've been touched and moved by a number of families and parents who have contacted me and sharing their experiences that they've seen either their children or loved ones impacted by accidents on the road.
I'll be honest, Madam Chair, until I investigated and looked into the research on this issue, until I started this campaign, I wasn't aware of just the community sentiment out there. I would say fear on our roads, which is growing. I want this Council to be proactive and I want it to take a positive role in showing leadership with a Share the Road campaign.
Last week as we know, Madam Chair, the State Government introduced, as we all know, new road rules that stipulate that motorists must allow a one-metre clearance between cyclists and their cars in 40 to 60 kilometre areas. The one metre rule increases to 1.5 metres on roads with a speed limit higher than 60 kilometres. Madam Chair, I support this law and it's a step in the right direction when it comes to cyclist's safety but the average width of a road lane is around three metres and the average width of a car is 1.5 to 1.7 metres. That doesn't leave a lot of room on our roads.
I believe we need to equip drivers with the right skills to drive safely with cyclists to minimise the number of accidents with cyclists. But we also need to minimise the number of accidents occurring as a consequence of drivers trying to avoid cyclists by swinging into another lane and then ending up hitting a car. Madam Chair, it's a two-way street. Motorists need to see cyclists as a legitimate road user; because they also have a right to be on our roads. Cyclists need to understand that being on the road means adhering to the road rules for cyclists as well.
The blame game has to end. While reading and researching this issue, I was horrified by some of the vitriol and toxic comments on social media. We need, as a Council, to work within the State Government and to look at how we can do more. This isn't about who's spending more, this isn't about who's delivering more and I really hope the LNP (Liberal National Party) today support this initiative and to see it for what it is, a positive motion to look at how we, as a Council, can work together to improve road safety for cyclists and motorists.
I want this campaign to focus on the awareness of how to be safe on our roads by increasing awareness of the road rules. I also want to look at how Council can lobby the state government to improve our learner and provision licence processes to put a greater focus on driving safely with cyclists. We know that there is currently a whole range of new rules coming into effect by the state government, new laws into effect. I think it is time that this Council, just as we've seen in other local government authorities across Australia and come together to look at how we can improve road safety.
I was delighted to receive support for my cause from the Amy Gillett Foundation. I was researching the great work that they've done in a campaign launched on 28 February in New South Wales. The campaign reached out to all road users across the New South Wales using billboards, print and radio, social media and a convenient pocket guide containing driver and ride rules. The campaign launch brought together a whole range of stakeholders to look at how we can improve awareness; particularly between cyclists and of course drivers on the road.
Now the campaign is proving to be highly successful and talking to them in the lead up to this debate they've come up with some fantastic initiatives and that is the sorts of things that I want this Council to be on the front foot about. I know we already do a number of measures, I acknowledge that that the Administration has been building on for a number of years and all previous administrations have been focusing on this but now is the time to really step up this campaign.
We now see, probably on a weekly basis, more and more accidents on our roads, there was one parent I spoke to yesterday. It broke my heart to hear their tragic story where an inexperienced young cyclist who came on the road, thought they knew what they were doing, and a collision with an angry motorist occurred at an intersection and now there's some permanent or severe damage to that young cyclist. That cyclist now doesn't ever want to get back on a bike again. So we really need to look at how this awareness can really rollout, particularly as the largest local government authority in Australia, that we lead the way when it comes to cycle safety.
Madam Chair, the other area that I researched was from the City of Sydney which was a gracious cycling campaign which developed a short video that explains why it's important to be aware when you're a cyclist, all the things that you should be doing. Now that whole campaign is run through the Sydney Cycleways which is hosted by the city of Sydney. So that is a website that brings together cycle, Sydney and offices, the info on the best cycle paths, safety tips and how businesses can be a cycle friendly workplace as well.
We do have some information on our website. I acknowledge that but I want this campaign to really step up and go to the next level. We know that there are CityCycle stations right across the city. We know that CityCycle is struggling and one of those issues I believe is because of driver competence. We know that there is an advertising campaign right outside our doorstep here through the JCDecaux billboard sites. That's an ideal way for us to extend the message of safety. This issue has got to be above politics. I'm really looking forward to broad support today so that we as a Council can come together and say enough is enough and take a lead when it comes to cycle and road safety.
Chairman: Further debate? Councillor MATIC.
Councillor MATIC: Thank you, Madam Chairman. I rise to speak in respect of this motion and, Madam Chairman, I have to speak in opposition to the motion. Madam Chairman, no person in good faith and with truth in their heart could honestly support this political stunt by the ALP (Australian Labor Party). We've heard from Councillor DICK today that these things have only just come to his notice and yet, Madam Chairman, the question really needs to be asked, where have you been Councillor DICK, we're halfway through this term—
Chairman: Councillor MATIC, yes Councillor DICK?
Councillor DICK: I claim to be misrepresented.
Chairman: Thank you. Councillor MATIC.
Councillor MATIC: Madam Chairman, anyway I heard it quite clearly but anyway we'll move on. Madam Chairman, there is one thing that is important about this issue and that is that we do have to take the politics out of it. But nothing that Councillor DICK has said or shown to us today shows that he is in fact trying to do that. Madam Chairman, the ALP has consistently opposed, by not voting for our Active Travel program, Madam Chairman, in respect of our bikeway improvements. Madam Chairman, this Administration in this term alone is investing $120 million across our city and delivering outcomes right now, Madam Chairman, for all Brisbane residents in the area of safer cycling.
Now, Madam Chairman, this $120 million is a record investment but have we seen the support of the Australian Labor Party or the Opposition councillor in respect of all the proposals that are made up of that $120 million? No, Madam Chairman, they chose not to support it at the last budget. Madam Chairman, what we get from those opposite is actually a denial of the policy and of the work that is going on across the city in their wards benefitting their residents. But irrespective, Madam Chairman, of their objection this Administration has a very clear commitment to seriously and properly address the cycling safety issues of our city.
Because we understand, Madam Chairman, that as we rollout our bikeways we need to incorporate various aspects of education and information to help our cyclists get to where they want to go. Madam Chairman, all of these things are already in existence. Councillor DICK talks about a ‘Share the Road’ campaign. Yet, Madam Chairman, we already do. If Councillor DICK cared to investigate out the front of George Street, out the front actually, Madam Chairman, of the Council building up here on George Street, he would see that there is clearly signage in existence.
I'm holding up for the record, Madam Chairman, the actual signage across the road from Brisbane Square that clearly indicates Share the Road with signage, Madam Chairman, and pictures. But, Madam Chair—
Chairman: Councillor DICK.
Councillor MATIC: Now Councillor DICK is feeling cornered, Madam Chairman, because he's now starting to become sarcastic and cynical. Councillor DICK doesn't choose to also, he also chooses to ignore, Madam Chairman, the signs and the lines that are already painted across our roads. Madam Chairman, this $120 million, Madam Chairman, clearly designates road space to cyclists. This $120 million, Madam Chairman, is clearly right now providing projects across our city that provide separated paths for cyclists.
This $120 million that our Administration is putting in, Madam Chairman, right now is providing information and guidance to cyclists as to how to get around our city following all the designated bike paths, Madam Chairman, both online and in maps. This Administration, Madam Chairman, and this $120 million, has already launched in November of last year, Madam Chairman, two cycling education programs for free, for free, Madam Chairman, for Brisbane residents to get out there and enjoy cycling.
They, Madam Chairman, choose to ignore the kind of courses that we have already provided to Brisbane residents, Madam Chairman, the ‘Back on your Bike’ course for those starting out, Madam Chairman, run by professional cyclists providing free courses on how—through Council’s Active and Healthy program—thank you Councillor ADAMS—providing free courses to assist first time cyclists. Madam Chairman, cycling in traffic, cycling in traffic which Councillor DICK just spoke about right now in different instances, free courses for those to build their confidence in getting out there for two hours, Madam Chairman.
This is the kind of short courses that are available and, Madam Chairman, people can come and do them again. They are free.
They are open to all to enjoy. Madam Chairman, one of the important things in all of this is that Councillor DICK chooses to ignore the Brisbane Active Transport Strategy—I'm holding it in my hand—which we have launched and spoken about in this Chamber. Madam Chairman, there are a number of important priorities within this document, particularly four and five, which deal directly with the issues that Councillor DICK says have only just come to his attention. Madam Chairman, he talks about information for residents. We're already delivering that under our $120 million program. He talks about education for cyclists. We're already delivering that under our $120 million program. He talks about learning how to build your confidence level and be able to cycle safely. We're already doing that within our $120 million program.
Madam Chairman, this Administration clearly understands and has illustrated through our documentation, through our commitment, not only politically, socially and financially, Madam Chairman, that there are multiple approaches that must be taken in addressing the safety issues of cyclists on our roads. These are serious matters for serious people, Madam Chairman, and we do not see that from those opposite. What we get, Madam Chairman, is a campaign built on fluff. What we get, Madam Chairman, is a leader in Opposition who two years into this term has finally come to the realisation that there are cyclists out there (1), and (2) that there needs to be an education program.
Is he truly serious, Madam Chairman? Can he stand here in good faith and with hand on heart and say that he is genuine in his approach, that this is nothing more than a political stunt to raise his own profile for whatever purposes he may have exterior to this Chamber, Madam Chairman? I am absolutely appalled that Councillor DICK can stand here and say that he is engaging with the community when he has been completely missing on this issue in this term alone, Madam Chairman, not to mention that he's been here since 2008.
These are the kinds of things that we as a Chamber have to deal with but, Madam Chairman, this side of the Chamber will not play these political games, will not play with the emotions of people and is already working, Madam Chairman, in conjunction with stakeholders like Bicycle Queensland, the frontrunner in Queensland, Madam Chairman, on these safety issues, who we engage with and liaise with on a regular basis, with the different BUGs (Bicycle User Groups), Madam Chairman, in respect of their needs and their particular areas, and not only those but Australian associations in cycling safety, Madam Chairman. This is who we're working with.
We're working in conjunction with the State Government in investments in projects across our city. This is what we need to do. This is what we are doing. Why, Madam Chairman? Because we understand that this is a combined effort. This is not about one upmanship. This is about partnership on so many levels with so many groups because this is about people, Madam Chairman, at the end of the day. This side of the Chamber will never play the game where we will put people's lives at risk for our own political outcome. This side of the Chamber will never play the game, Madam Chairman—
Chairman: Order, order.
Councillor MATIC: —where this side of the Chamber is prepared to put—
Chairman: Order, order.
Councillor MATIC: —facile motions up to insult the intelligence of this Chamber, to insult the intelligence of Brisbane residents in saying that we are not doing enough and worse yet, to say that we are doing nothing. Why, Madam Chairman, can Councillor DICK in good faith go out and make statements with no reference to what the ratepayer is already investing in, in this city. In investment, Madam Chairman, in infrastructure, in policy, in education and information, all of these things are out there freely available, Madam Chairman, and yet Councillor DICK is nowhere to be seen.
He comes today and tells us that he has finally taken an interest in the program. I say to Councillor DICK if you have truly taken an interest in the program then get on board. Get on board and support the program that is already working and delivering outcomes for Brisbane residents. Get on board Councillor DICK and start supporting the LORD MAYOR in these initiatives that he has passionately been committed to and continues to deliver on. Get on board Councillor DICK with real outcomes and not this kind of political fluff that we are faced with right here right now.
Madam Chairman, this motion is an absolute disgrace and should not be supported.
Chairman: Thank you, Councillor MATIC. Councillor DICK you claim misrepresentation.
Councillor DICK: I do, Madam Chair, when Councillor MATIC falsely claimed that this has come to my attention my statement clearly reflected the fact that the community wants this Council to take action and been moved by the people impacted by accidents on our roads.
Chairman: Further debate? Councillor SUTTON.
Councillor SUTTON: Thank you, Madam Chair, I rise to speak on this motion and I have to say that I have been massively disappointed by Councillor MATIC's contribution to the debate this afternoon in a number of ways. First and foremost, this motion is not critical of the current LNP Administration's record on cycling infrastructure. Nowhere will you see that criticism in the motion and nowhere will you hear that criticism in the debate today. In fact Councillor MATIC knows that I, as the Councillor for Morningside Ward have actually been an advocate for a number of the initiatives that this Administration is funding in my very own ward.
So this is not a motion about whose cycling budget is bigger. This is a motion that is talking about changing attitudes and changing behaviours. We know that there is clearly an ‘us and them’ mentality on our roads between cyclists and motorists. It is getting bigger and uglier all the time. Motorists feel that it is them who are being persecuted by them. Cyclists feel that it is them not being accommodated by motorists. These attitudes can no longer be allowed, accepted or tolerated when they are taking the lives of an increasing number of cyclists every year.
Thirteen cyclists died on Queensland roads last year. It is clear that there is an issue with sharing the road. I acknowledge the current infrastructure, I acknowledge the current signage that's up and around the place, I acknowledge the current education campaigns that have been done for cyclists but this is not just an issue about cyclists. Motorists need to have their attitudes shifted as well. I was sickened when I saw the YouTube clip about the cyclist blatantly being mowed down at Mount Gravatt last week.
If anyone wasn't moved by that I daresay they don't have a heart I know the Council's own cycling strategy and as Councillor MATIC and every councillor in this place knows that the cycle network that Council has mapped out never envisaged that we would all have off-road cycle ways everywhere in Brisbane. We will always have cyclists on the road in certain sections no matter how much of the cycling network we deliver. Councillor MATIC acknowledged it in his speech. Therefore when there are cyclists on the road it sets up the potential for conflict.
I know, I've seen it myself when I've ridden down Wynnum Road. I've heard the abuse of motorists and I've also heard and seen the frustration and the anxiety of cyclists who are also trying to get to work by their preferred method of commuting. So what this motion is about is about a human focus. We do need to have a human focus on this. Councillor MATIC was at pains talking incessantly about Councillor DICK. I lost track of the number of times he mentioned his name.
Well here are two names for you. Mardi Bartlett, 21 years old, killed on Lytton Road. Michelle Smeaton killed when she was knocked off her bike by a truck on Old Cleveland Road. Her husband, Mark Smeaton, is not calling for drivers to be punished or restricted. He simply wants drivers to be more aware and better educated. I acknowledge the work that this Council is doing with cyclists to give them confidence but there is room for us to work in partnership with the State Government, the Federal Government if they choose to be involved and other cycling groups.
Organisations like Bicycle Queensland, like the BUGs need to change the attitude not just of cyclists and we know some cyclists, they're all not angels. They do break road rules as well but not just cyclists but of motorists as well. The president of the EaST Bicycle Users Group, Peter Berkeley in my ward has along with his wife, been involved in a number of cycling accidents. I have had the good fortune to have spoken to him at length about these issues over a number of years. He was actually the one that got me back on my bike and got me cycling down Wynnum Road. But he believes that both cyclists and motorists need to be responsible for safety on the roads and need to work together to be more mindful of each other.
The real issue here today and the real focus of our motion for the ‘Share the Road’ campaign is to ensure that people are safe. It is not about not acknowledging the work of the current Council Administration. I'm acknowledging that for you Councillor MATIC. It's not about that. It is about people and about changing attitudes. We are in this place as leaders of our communities. We need to act as leaders of those communities and say enough is enough. We need to break down the us and them mentality that exists out there and we need to work together to teach everyone that the roads need to be safe for everyone.
People are the ones using the road whether they are on their bikes or in their cars and they need to be aware and educated on sharing the roads. People like Michelle Smeaton who lost her life on our roads deserve better. People like Mardi Bartlett deserve better. People like the families of those two women and other cyclists who have lost their lives and who must now live with the consequences of inaction, deserve better.
I understand funding is something that people get concerned about when we start talking about public education campaigns. Well, when there's a will, there's a way, Madam Chair. We're continually bombarded with information in the Finance Committee about business partners who are prepared to partner with Council to promote good community minded campaigns. I daresay that some of the cost of any public education campaign will be shared by people who are prepared to stump up the dollars for this campaign.
So I think that we need to just say today where there is a will, there is a way. This motion is not about criticising the current Administration. It is about saying we acknowledge a problem. We want to dismantle that problem and create a safer environment for everyone. I'm disappointed if members of the Administration can't see that. We on the Opposition benches are continually challenged by you to come up with ideas and suggestions that we would like to see implemented in this city.
You can't have it both ways. When we put something up that is non-political, that is not attacking you, that is simply asking for your to partner with us, to partner with other agencies and levels of government to break down a growing attitude in our city and in our State and in our nation. So we just want to play a role in making the roads safer for everyone. I sincerely hope that you may be able to put aside your preconceived ideas about this motion and to come on board and support it.
Chairman: Further debate? Further debate? Councillor FLESSER.
Councillor FLESSER: Thank you, Madam Chair. Yes, Madam Chair, I'd like to speak in support of this motion as well, Madam Chair. It is time for this Council to undertake a ‘Share the Road’ campaign. Madam Chair, this is a large Council. We have the resources, the wherewithal, the reputation. We've got them to undertake a comprehensive ‘Share the Road’ campaign. Madam Chair, I was pleased that Councillor DICK joined with me on Sunday morning and we met with members of the Hamilton Pine Rivers Cycling Club at Nundah. It's a club that I'm a member of, 470 members, Madam Chair, and most members spoke specifically to Councillor DICK about the problems that we have on the road. As Councillor SUTTON said there is an ‘us and them’ mentality and it cuts both ways. I too also acknowledge that this Council is doing a reasonable sort of job in educating cyclists.
But what's missing, Madam Chair, is that education program extending to motorists. I suppose motorists might have a different view about that. But, Madam Chair, I—as a road cyclist like Councillor WYNDHAM and Councillor ABRAHAMS—Madam Chair, I see very often drivers on the road not understanding the ability or the lack of ability of cyclists and the problems that they have on the road keeping out of the way of cars and trucks. So, Madam Chair, as I said this Council has the wherewithal to make a difference. Madam Chair, it's not as if $1 million would be a huge hit to this Council budget, especially when I know the numbers of groups and not-for-profit organisations who would get on board and willingly assist this program at no cost to Council.
Madam Chair, I stand up here today also in support of Mardi Bartlett, a cyclist of the University Cycling Club. She used to race places I raced and I think I probably raced against her at some stage. Madam Chair, too many cyclists are dying on the roads, too many are being injured. This is a modest proposal put forward by Councillor DICK. I think it's something that it's not difficult—sorry it's not a difficult program that this Council can undertake. Madam Chair, this Council undertakes these sorts of programs all the time, programs to educate Brisbane's residents.
So, Madam Chair, I think it's time that we came up to the plate, put some dollars on the table and come up with a ‘Share the Road’ program to really encourage road safety, especially in my view to make sure motorists understand the rules and responsibilities that they're required to comply with, especially with the new rules that have been brought down by the State Government. So, Madam Chair, I support the motion. I don't believe it's a political motion. I'm not sure where Councillor MATIC was getting that idea from. But I support the motion. I think it's not unreasonable and we certainly support asking the CEO to come up with a comprehensive program to share the road. Thank you.
Chairman: Further debate? Councillor WYNDHAM.
Councillor WYNDHAM: Thank you, Madam Chair. I rise to speak against this proposal. We just heard about an ‘us and them’ mentality. Well many of the bike riders, the cyclists, drive cars. They understand the issues that they face. Why I'm opposed to this, Madam Chair, is that there are many programs in place. It's very recently been announced that on 7 April there will be legislation in place where those people that aren't giving cyclists room will be PIN’d and at the same time cyclists doing the wrong thing will be PIN’d to the same amount as those vehicle drivers.
You go through a red light on a pushbike, you'll be pinned $330 not $110. Madam Chair, I find it quite amazing the timing. Is this just coincidental or is this just to try and say look at us. We've put up this program when everything is boiling over about cyclists and cars. In 1990 Bicycle Queensland was running programs such as this, campaigning for that extra space for cyclists. We get abused no matter which way we go sometimes. Madam Chair, I've been out of a Wednesday morning, 5.30am and had a car on the wrong side of the road come straight at me and force me off the road. I don't think any campaign is going to change that attitude, particularly—and I was discussing last night with a person who had several half full beer cans thrown at him out of a car.
No campaign is going to change a drunk driver. I've been hit by a drunk driver. But, Madam Chair, I think it is time for some legislation which will bring a greater awareness. Madam Chair, that legislation, and we hear the arguments through people that haven't looked at it, giving a metre on a road with a double white line, the vehicle driver is allowed to cross that double white line if it is safe to do so. That is part of the legislation. A double white line, a single line or a dotted line.
In other words, if you have to put a wheel maybe 30 centimetres over that double line to give the cyclist room—and when you think about it the cyclist might only be doing 30 to 40 kilometres an hour, might be doing 15 kilometres an hour if it's an uphill and they're nearing a crest. That car will get past that cyclist fairly rapidly.
Madam Chair, I really do think that this is more about timing and more about politics than it is about safe cycling. We have many programs we've put a lot of money into. We have 1,200 kilometres of cycling on-or-off road paths in Brisbane. There is plenty opportunity, there's lots of paths marked, car drivers are aware of the cyclists if they keep their eyes open.
Across Australia in the last 12 months, 48 cyclists have been killed. 80 per cent of those have been strikes from behind and some of those have been just pure accidents where a vehicle's load or something has hit that cyclist. But, Madam Chair, I think what the State Government is doing is really bringing a greater awareness to cyclists. Many of the cyclists that are hit from behind are on their own. People complain about large groups. Well, one thing about a large group—unless of course—has happened in Sydney recently where six were taken out by one four wheel drive, obviously that driver didn't see them.
That's the part that I think is worrying all road users. Even car versus car accidents, there are so many these days that say I didn't see them. I think we need to get back to just good old road rules and good awareness, not just for cyclists, not just for car drivers but for all road users, pedestrians, cyclists and drivers.
Madam Chair, this motion, I believe, as I've said, is only a little bit of grandstanding on top of the State Labor government which were too late to put something like this into place many years ago. In 1990 this campaign started. Why didn't they step in, why didn't Beattie step in, why didn't Bligh step in, and do something then? It's taken Campbell Newman the intestinal fortitude—
Councillor MATIC: —to do something and now you guys want to get on the band wagon and say look what we're working to do and that's why I pose this because this is only grandstanding on your behalf.
Chairman: Order! Councillor ABRAHAMS.
Councillor ABRAHAMS: Thank you, Madam Chair. Madam Chair, I enter this debate and there are certainly some very valid grounds to debate following the previous councillor.
Madam Chair, the question of timing. I can see a number of reasons for questions as to why this motion, which is new, in that it is addressing the interaction of a cyclist and a car both sharing the road, both having a responsibility, both having to have a degree of alertness and awareness and respect for the other person on the road. That, Madam Chair, is the core of what this Share the Road campaign that we are proposing is all about.
Madam Chair, the timing. I've got three good reasons why this motion has come to the Council Chamber today, one of which is the State Government has recently announced their new direction for cycling in Queensland with 68 recommendations, some of which are contentious and that, as anyone who has seen the social media, has caused a polarising within the community and that is an adverse effect that needs to be managed and addressed.
Madam Chair, the other reason for it is that Council has accepted the responsibility for bikes, commuter bikes, on the road, recreational bikes on the road and therefore there is a logical extension of making sure that respect and acknowledgement of bikes on the road is understood by everybody that uses the road.
But, Madam Chair, even the fact when CityCycle was introduced and it was going to have 20,000 people daily using those bikes, we have a responsibility making it for those who are using our bikes on the road. Madam Chair, this is a new change. It is not saying anything about the infrastructure, it is not saying anything about the skills for cyclists who need to have those skills before they go on the road. It is talking about the ability for people to understand and respect the need for bikes to be on the road and how to remain alert.
Madam Chair, as a commuter cyclist, I am amazed that just how often a vehicle will go past me, probably acknowledging that I am there on the bike lane and then 10 seconds later pull over in front of me because they want to drop somebody off. That, Madam Chair, is lack of awareness. It is something that we can redress through a concerted campaign of sharing the road.
Madam Chair, when you listened to the previous councillor, you would expect that we can't change behaviour so don't try. That was the thrust of his logic. But, Madam Chair, Australia is one of the proudest countries for doing just that, for changing a person's behaviour and we have done it. For the Grim Reaper campaign was an international campaign. Seat belts have done it, as has our anti smoking, our Slip, Slop, Slap and even Every Kilometre Kills campaign.
So it's something we're good at and all this campaign is doing, let's have a new one that talks about sharing the road and I have complete faith in the ingenuity of where people who put campaigns together to make this something that everybody is aware of it on the road. I don't believe it necessarily is just one more sign because after all there are so many signs sometimes it's hard to know what it's on.
So while the signs may be very effective for some, Councillor MATIC, I'm very aware they are not effective to others. It is something where just similarly to when we had the rainwater tanks that when you're actually out at barbeques, people start talking about the need for cyclists on the road. At the moment, when I talk at barbeques or I even talk within my own family, it is split down the middle of those who do not believe there is a role for cyclists on the road and those that are pretty passionate about it and on a bike all the time.
Madam Chair, that is the core that this campaign needs to get at and change that awareness so that the debates do happen at every level of our community, not only when we're a cyclist on the road, so that there is an understanding, there is a respect and we give safety to all.
Madam Chair, anyone who goes overseas talks about how cyclists are recognised and respected in many of the countries we would wish to emulate. Well, we can't do that emulation just through infrastructure. We have to do it by being concerted, clever, comprehensive, bipartisan, both within political parties and with tiers of government campaigns.
Madam Chair, that's what this motion is and it certainly has my support.
Chairman: Further debate? Councillor WINES.
Councillor WINES: Thank you, Madam Chairman. I rise against this motion today for the simple reason that this Administration is the most bicycle and cyclist-friendly administration this city has ever seen and that the Labor Party's proposal today is a mere stunt to try to get a cheap headline. Let's remember that this Administration has already built over $100 million worth of bike lanes.
This Administration in this term is building another $120 million worth of bikeways. It is creating a vast network across the city of both recreational and commuter-based cycling. The other day we had a presentation of a report in this place talking about a specially designated cycle and pedestrian separation on the cycle way. We are trying to create the most pro-cyclist, pro-safer environment we possibly can. This city—
Chairman: Point of order against you, Councillor WINES.
DEPUTY MAYOR: Point of order, Madam Chairman. Will Councillor WINES take a question.
Councillor WINES: I would love to take a question.
DEPUTY MAYOR: Can you advise the Chamber which side of the Chamber supports the CityCycle scheme and which side opposes the CityCycle scheme?
Councillor WINES: That's a question that we've often discussed in this place, DEPUTY MAYOR, through you, Madam Chairman, and it is the Administration that believes in CityCycle, the administration that had the commitment and the follow through to put that in the streets. Their opposition has resented that fact for years and years and they do not support cycling in this city as evidenced through their lack of support of the CityCycle scheme which again, like our cycleway commitment, continues to go from strength to strength—a real life exhibit of our Council's commitment to cycling in this city.
So as I was saying, DEPUTY MAYOR and Madam Chairman, there was over 1,100 kilometres of bikeways in this city, if you include the commuter bikeways all through the city and if you include on-road cycle lanes. I know in my own constituency when we did the Upper Kedron road upgrade, there is extensive on road bike lanes as part of that deal the State Government will be building.
So on top of these 1,100 kilometres of bikeways that we've already got, to make a safer city for cyclists, the State Government continues to build cycleways on their roads. The weight of evidence is immense that we are already doing these things in this space. Every person in this room has a constituency that's had an Active School Travel program where we teach children in their hundreds about safe-travel programs, including safe-cycling systems.
Those children also can teach their parents and, if Council so chooses, can bring adults into the system. The problem with this motion today is that we already are in this space and the only reason the opposition brings it up at all is because they saw an opportunity of a headline, nothing more, nothing less, let the people of Brisbane know that the Quirk Administration will continue its commitment to a safe and extensive bikeway network in this city.
Chairman: Further debate? Councillor NEWTON.
Councillor NEWTON: Yes, thank you very much, Madam Chair. I just rise to speak briefly on this motion this afternoon and lend my support to the motion proposed by the leader of the opposition and Councillor SUTTON.
I just wanted to reread into the minutes this afternoon because I'm a bit perplexed about what we're actually debating today. I just want to remind everyone in the Chamber we're debating this motion that says this Council determines to fund a Share the Road style of campaign and directs the CEO to urgently prepare a submission to Council including funding provisions to undertake such campaigns.
The campaign's focus should encourage all road users to demonstrate safe behaviour, particularly with regard to interactions between cyclists and motorists on Brisbane's roads. The campaign should be designed to work in partnership with any initiatives by the State Government to improve safety for cyclists.
Madam Chair, I'm bamboozled and perplexed to understand why anyone would call that a political motion. I'm bamboozled and perplexed why anyone would oppose such a concept which is a positive initiative to ensure that we're helping to change behaviour on our roads, Madam Chair.
I've been listening quite carefully and I think the debate has sort of come down to those on the Administration side are fixated with things, talking about things, talking about the infrastructure, Madam Chair. What they're forgetting in the debate is the people, Madam Chair. We're not discounting the importance of building bikeway infrastructure. I think we've made that absolutely clear this afternoon.
What we are wanting to focus on is rebuilding relationships between people sharing our road, Madam Chair, because clearly the road rage that's occurring is breaking down these relationships, Madam Chair, and we need to take a leadership role and partnership with agencies like the State Government and partnerships with bike user groups like Bicycle Queensland (BQ).
Madam Chair, this Council runs campaigns to raise awareness and I would hate to think that that money is poorly spent, Madam Chair, because listening to people in the Chamber today from the Administration saying that education campaigns are a waste of money is very disappointing, Madam Chair. Are you saying that the campaigns to change people's behaviour to be ready for the storm season is a waste of time, Madam Chair?
Is the funding that we’re spending to change people's behaviour and improve recycling, to cut down on litter, Madam Chair, are those projects a waste of time, Madam Chair? Now, clearly I would hope the Administration backs the idea of running information campaigns to change people's behaviour, given they're spending ratepayers' money on these other programs.
Madam Chair, this has become a life or death issue for people on our roads. This is very serious. What concerns me, and I guess like all of us we read comments and whenever there's an incident between a motorist and a cyclist you see this road rage come to the front, Madam Chair, from both parties. What worries me is we're failing to see the human beings in this.
Madam Chair, the motorists and the cyclists and those people sharing the road, they're someone's mum or someone's husband or someone's daughter or someone's cousin or someone's niece. We've got to re-humanise people who are sharing our roads. Clearly we're losing that and that's why this road rage is overtaking and people are being seen as objects and not as living, breathing human beings, Madam Chair.
Today I'm supporting this motion. I believe this is absolutely vital and the timing is critical because we're seeing changes to state legislation, changes that change responsibilities for motorists, change responsibilities for cyclists. Madam Chair, let's stump up, join the party and get on board with running some real education campaigns and change behaviour.
Chairman: Further debate? Councillor SIMMONDS.
Councillor SIMMONDS: Thank you very much, Madam Chairman. I rise as a previous chairman for active transport and current chairman of finance to speak against the motion before us in the Chamber today.
Let's be very clear that this Administration is not against educating residents, both cyclists and motorists, about how to share the road but the fact of the matter is, as has so eloquently been put by Councillor WINES and Councillor MATIC, we already do it. We are already in this space, Madam Chair, we are already in this space. We are already doing it.
Some of the things that Councillor NEWTON mentioned we are actively doing. We are currently in partnership with BQ. We are currently putting bike mounts with safety information on it. We have educated a generation of our children in the Active School Travel program about how to ride safely, Madam Chairman. These are all things that we are doing currently. We are in this space.
Now, the very first principle of prudent financial management is what? It is don't spend money to duplicate what you already do because in other turns, that is called waste and that is what those opposite are advocating here today, a duplication of spending. I find it abhorrent that Councillor FLESSER, the one man who gets up and pretends to talk about debt and this Administration's financial position, would then turn around and say, what's another million dollars? What's another million dollars? We can find that.
Well, to duplicate programs that we currently already do, well no, that's called waste, Madam Chairman, and this Administration will reject it any day of the week, not because we don't support educating cyclists and motorists but because we are already doing it.
Let's look at the actions of the Labor councillors opposite. What did they do when they were in administration if this is such a key issue for them? Well, what they did is they only managed to spend $23 million in a four-year term. That's all, that's all they managed to do and they could put the funding towards whatever priorities—I take interjections from the other side and I'll get to more recent history. I'm getting there, Madam Chairman, but I'm happy to build a story because their record of hypocrisy goes back much longer and much further than just the last 12 months, the last four years, it goes back a long way, Madam Chairman, their hypocrisy, because when they were in this place they only put $23 million in a four-year term towards bikeways, Madam Chairman.
That's doesn't buy you a lot of bikeways or education campaigns. Well, what have we done? What have we done? We’re spending $120 million this four-year Council term, almost five times what they spent, five times extra we've put in. Councillor ABRAHAMS, through you, Madam Chairman, don't sit there and pretend to be the councillors and the side of politics for cyclists when you put in a measly $23 million over four years. It's embarrassing. You should be embarrassed, hang your head in shame, because that was your contribution to cycling in this city, Madam Chairman.
Chairman: Councillor ABRAHAMS, you've had your say.
Councillor SIMMONDS: I remember. I remember going back a few years when I was the chairman for active transport and I remember the Labor State government at the time their view of cyclist safety, Madam Chairman, in this city and that was to drop a bridge in the middle of a two-way street, Tank Street, and say good luck to you, cyclists. Good luck to you as you cross the bridge into that two way carriageway, Madam Chairman, and off you go.
I didn't hear them squeal, I didn't hear a single word out of them. It was up to this Administration to pick up the pieces of that poor planning decision. We put priority of that intersection and we put a dedicated separated on-road bikeway, Madam Chairman, along George Street. That was this Administration. I didn't hear support from them at the time and I didn't hear them standing up to their Labor State colleagues.
Okay, let's bring it forward. Let's look at some recent history. Let's give them the benefit of the doubt and say since they were in administration, they've had a radical change of heart. Well, where would I have expected to see that radical change of heart? I would've first of all have expected to see it in their budget submissions for this year's budget.
Did a single councillor on that side of the Chamber put in their budget submission that they wanted a $1-million program to educate cyclists and motorists? How many do you think put it in, through you, Madam Chairman? How many put it in? A grand total of zero, zero, nil, nil and zip. So what's clear, Madam Chairman, is that they're happy to have an advocated program like this. Well, they get into this Chamber and there are headlines to be grabbed. They want it as long as it doesn’t overtake one of the priorities in their ward.
As long as it doesn't overtake one of the priorities in their ward, they're happy to talk about it until the cows come home. Well, do they support the current spending we're doing even? It wasn't in the budget submissions. Do they support the current spending, Madam Chairman? Do they support the current $120 million in bikeway safety improvements? Very good, Councillor KING. As you pointed out earlier, as you pointed out earlier in this Chamber, they didn't. They voted, they abstained against it, Madam Chairman, they couldn't even bring themselves to vote for the current education, the current safety improvements, that this Administration is making.
It is a continual problem with the Labor councillors opposite, they're lazy. We remember their accusations about BaSE because they didn't notice it in the budget for three years. Well, now it seems that they expect us to believe that they haven't noticed the $120 million where the cycling infrastructure and safety programs being rolled-out in this city. Did they miss the $220 million over eight years that this Administration has put in to cycling over the last decade? Did they miss the BQ sponsorships? Did they miss the Active School Travel program? Did they miss the bike maps that we produce, Madam Chairman? Wake up, I say to Labor councillors opposite.
And finally, finally being the good small government Liberal that I am, I believe in a little thing called personal responsibility. So to bone up in preparation for this speech, I went on to the Queensland Transport website and I looked at what the individual responsibilities for a cyclist are when it comes to safety.
This is what—and I quote from the website—this is what Queensland Transport says. Be predictable, ride in a straight line and at least one metre from the kerb so you can move around road hazards. Use hand signals. That's important. Use hand signals, let others know where you are going. It goes on. When you are turning right, signal, move to the right-turning lane and turn when safe.
Well, Madam Chairman, having read that, you can imagine my horror when just today I was given a report that a cyclist sped through the intersection of George Street turning right into Adelaide Street without making the appropriate hand signal gesture. Without making appropriate hand-signal gesture and demonstrating safety for them and the motorists around them.
So I was almost knocked dead when I found out that it was none other than Councillor ABRAHAMS. Councillor ABRAHAMS going through that intersection on her bike, speeding through and not even bothering to conduct safe practice herself as a cyclist. Wow, wow, what a hypocrite, Madam Chairman. It’s just like—it reminds me very much like those opposite who say that they don't like the tunnels and then they use it hundreds of times, hundreds of times.
Councillor ABRAHAMS: Point of order, Madam Chair.
Chairman: Point of order—
Councillor ABRAHAMS: Point of order, Madam Chair. The councillor is imputing motive and he is inaccurate. It was very clear to everyone what I was doing.
Chairman: No, he's not imputing motive. He is recalling what he saw. Not imputing motive.
Councillor SIMMONDS: —their motivations are very important, Madam Chairman, because what they're asking—
Chairman: Councillor ABRAHAMS, be quiet.
Councillor SIMMONDS: Madam Chairman, there's no dispute outside the Chamber that she didn't use a hand signal, there's no dispute that she didn't use a hand signal as Queensland Transport says, she's safely required to do, Madam Chairman. Well, it hurts them a little bit because they claim to be the councillors who have a monopoly over cycling and cycling safety and infrastructure in this city and it's quite clear that they don't.
They’re asking us to spend $1 million of ratepayers' money. They have no idea what they want to spend it on. They're duplicating existing programs and more than that, they can't even bother to lead by example, Madam Chairman. That's what's most disappointing about this.
Motion be now put
It was moved by Councillor Julian SIMMONDS, seconded by Councillor Andrew WINES, that the motion be now put. Upon being submitted to the Chamber, the motion, that the motion be now put, was declared carried on the voices.
Councillor JOHNSTON interjecting.
Chairman: Councillor DICK, would you like to sum up?
Councillor DICK: Thank you, Madam Chair, and all I can say is how predictable, just how predictable. You know, in the party room meeting today, I said what's the bet that the strategy will be just for them to talk about themselves, talk about themselves and to attack me? True to form, that's what happened. You can set your watch every day of the week by how predictable.
Did we hear anything about the issues, did we hear about—and I’ll go through the speakers one at a time. Now, Councillor MATIC isn't supporting this motion today because apparently I don't pat him on the back enough for all the work that he does and that enough homage is not paid to all the work that he does. Now, we know—
Councillor MATIC: Claim to be misrepresented, Madam Chairman.
Chairman: No, it's not misrepresentation. Sorry.
Councillor DICK: Just like you were wrong in the debate. Madam Chair—
Councillor DICK: —that Councillor MATIC isn't really interested in cycling. We know his preferred method of transport is cabs. We know that, Madam Chair. That's disgraceful but it's true. Is that not true? Okay. Well, Madam Chair, what I'll do is I'll also talk about Councillor WINES, Councillor WINES, who also said we're doing enough, that's it. We don't need to do anything else, that's enough.
Well, you know what, Madam Chair? I stand here tonight after sitting down and meeting with cyclists and talking to people affected by accidents, they don't think this Council is doing enough. I don't think this Council is doing enough. Councillor WYNDHAM then went on to say this is all about timing. Well, I'll give it to Councillor WYNDHAM. He's not normally wrong about a lot of things. You're right, Councillor WYNDHAM, new laws have come into place.
What's this Council said about new laws, the new cycling laws? Nothing. What are we going to do? Just sit back and hope that people obey them, just sit back and well, we'll just see what happens because we can't change behaviour. Now, I disagree with Councillor WYNDHAM. We can change behaviour. You know what, Madam Chair? We must change behaviour.
I don't mind the LNP attacking me, I don't mind the LNP with all of the political nonsense they go on with. I'm used to it, Madam Chair, I've had it for 20 years from the LNP. I'm used to it, Madam Chair. I've had it every day since I've been in this Council Chamber. Doesn't faze me one little bit.
But you know what I am worried about? You know what does faze me, is that this Council believes we've done enough, we've invested enough, that we've built enough bikeways and we're running enough programs. Well, Madam Chair, the facts speak for themselves. The incidents of accidents and fatalities are on the rise. Now, this Council must and should be doing more. It is responsible leadership at this level of government where we can and we should be taking a proactive role in changing behaviour.
We've heard nothing about that tonight. We’ve heard nothing about the issues that are out there in the community. We've heard the political spin and the political attacks and you know what? The LNP are so predictable. They are always looking for the political point for the political score.
In my opening remarks, I acknowledged the work that the Council has done. I acknowledged that we are doing things. There was no attack, there was no LNP's bad, you know, you need to do this, that and the other. I acknowledged the work that's being done. I stand here tonight simply to say that we as community leaders must do more to help and affect the behaviour out there on the roads.
Sit down and talk to mums and dads as I have who have been impacted by accidents on the road. They are crying out for people to do things and to take leadership on this issue. That is the motivation about why I stood tonight and moved this motion. They might not believe it, I don't care whether those opposite believe it or not. The people I've spoken to about this motion want to see behaviour change.
It's simply not good enough to lower the tone of debate tonight, to wheel in the political tactics which is so predictable by the LNP time and time again. Those opposite have the opportunity now to send a clear message to motorists and cyclists that we support change on our roads. That is what is driving this motion tonight.
Councillor WYNDHAM is dead right. We do need to do more. I'm sick and tired of reading the news articles of those reports practically on a weekly basis where we're seeing more and more accidents on our roads. I won't stand by and say enough's enough. I won't say we're doing enough because the facts and the evidence don't bear that out.
Councillor MATIC should be condemned tonight for not speaking out and actually promising that he will do more to actually address behavioural change. We've had no evidence from the LNP tonight. I'm absolutely appalled by their level of debate tonight but you know what, Madam Chair? I'm not surprised. I will continue to fight for behavioural change. This motion is the first tip in making sure this happens.
Chairman: I will put the motion.
As there was no further debate, the Chairman submitted the motion to the Chamber and it was declared lost on the voices.
Thereupon, Councillor Helen ABRAHAMS and the Leader of the Opposition, Councillor Milton DICK immediately rose and called for a division, which resulted in the motion being declared lost. The voting was as follows:
AYES: 7 - The Leader of the OPPOSITION, Councillor Milton DICK, and Councillors Helen ABRAHAMS, Peter CUMMING, Kim FLESSER, Steve GRIFFITHS, Victoria NEWTON, and Shayne SUTTON.
NOES: 17 - DEPUTY MAYOR, Councillor Adrian SCHRINNER, and Councillors Krista ADAMS, Matthew BOURKE, Margaret de WIT, Vicki HOWARD, Steven HUANG, Fiona KING, Geraldine KNAPP, Kim MARX, Peter MATIC, Ian McKENZIE, David McLACHLAN, Ryan MURPHY, Angela OWEN TAYLOR, Julian SIMMONDS, Andrew WINES and Norm WYNDHAM.
ABSTENTIONS: 1 - Councillor Nicole JOHNSTON.