Committee Urges Victoria to Prioritise Vulnerable Road Users

01 May 2024

The Victorian Government should take measures to prioritise the safety of vulnerable road users, a report tabled in the Legislative Assembly today has recommended.  

The Legislative Assembly Economy and Infrastructure Committee has recommended the government adopt a ‘road user hierarchy’ where road users who can do the most harm to others have a duty of care to reduce the danger they pose to more vulnerable road users.   

“We need to do everything we can to work towards the Victorian Road Safety Strategy’s goal of zero road deaths by 2050,” said Committee Chair Alison Marchant.   

The Committee investigated changes to road users’ behaviour during and after the COVID-19 pandemic, and how this affected the safety of people most at risk on the road, such as pedestrians, bike riders and motorcyclists. These road users made up 36% of all lives lost on Victorian roads in 2023 and 47% in 2022.   

"It’s not easy to change people’s behaviour simply by educating or urging them to be more responsible,” said Alison Marchant.  

"Complementary approaches are needed such as enforcement and infrastructure that separates vulnerable road users from motor vehicles and that guides motorists to slow down in areas with high volumes of bike riders and pedestrians.”   

The report has 61 findings and makes 56 recommendations.  

The inquiry found that, while there is a lack of published supportive data, anecdotal evidence suggests Victorian drivers’ behaviour worsened during and after the COVID‑19 pandemic in terms of increased aggression, impatience, risk‑taking, inattention and rule breaking.   

The inquiry also found that new travel patterns have emerged since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic with reduced public transport patronage and increased travel by car, as well as an increase in cycling, walking and the presence of delivery drivers on our roads. Remote working means these patterns are likely to continue.   

The Committee also recommends; creating a vulnerable road users’ advisory group to contribute to the development of road safety interventions: reviewing the flexibility of speed zoning guidelines with the aim to decrease suburban ‘rat running’; reviewing the location of pedestrian crossings on arterial roads to ensure there are regular crossings linked to public transport stops, activity centres and schools; prioritising road treatments in regional areas; and running a targeted campaign on regional road safety to improve safety for vulnerable road users and encourage safer behaviours on regional roads.  

The Committee received more than 300 submissions and held six days of hearings. 

The report is available to download from the Committee’s website