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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 07 Hansard (Tuesday, 22 June 2021) . . Page.. 1867 ..

Road Transport (Safety and Traffic Management) Amendment Bill 2021 (No 2)

Ms Clay, pursuant to notice, presented the bill and its explanatory statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MS CLAY (Ginninderra) (3.06): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

I rise today to table the bill that is in my name, the Road Transport (Safety and Traffic Management) Amendment Bill 2021 (No 2). This bill will protect vulnerable road users and contribute to a culture of care on our roads. We are all vulnerable road users. Every single one of us is a vulnerable road user at one point or another in our lives, often every day—a dad walking to school with his child, a person heading to the shops in a wheelchair or a weekend motorcyclist. Even if you drive most places, when you get to your destination and hop out of your car, you become a vulnerable road user.

The good news is that our roads are getting safer. For most groups, our road death toll has been going down over time. New cars are more robust. We are getting better at building infrastructure. We have reduced drink driving and lowered suburban speed limits through Slower Streets but, tragically, road safety is not improving for everyone. For instance, in Australia more cyclists died on our roads in 2020 than in 2010.

Death tolls are no mere statistic. They are a shocking loss of life that affects children, friends, family and the whole community. But counting deaths alone omits a lot of the damage. Many collisions leave those involved with serious and long-lasting injuries. When one of the victims is a vulnerable road user, the consequences are even more severe.

There are lifetime injuries, permanent psychological harm, surgery, and loss of work. A few seconds of negligent driving can be a life-changing event for someone else. Data from the federal Office of Road Safety found that pedestrians suffered around seven per cent of serious injuries. Motorbike riders suffered 22 per cent and bike riders 18 per cent. Almost half of the serious injuries on our roads and more than one-third of road deaths are suffered by vulnerable road users. Vulnerable road users are being injured and killed.

The ACT government does not accept this. The government is committed to Vision Zero and acknowledges that we should not regard death and serious injury as acceptable or inevitable. But while road safety is increasing for motorists, it is lagging for vulnerable road users. Being in a car is safer than ever before, but being near a car is not. A motorist is surrounded by armour, but a vulnerable road user is surrounded by air. A pedestrian does not have airbags. A wheelchair does not have a crumple zone. A helmet does not help much when two tonnes of metal are headed your way at

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