Have your say on regional Victoria’s most dangerous roads

Pothole on the corner of a windy country road.

Sarah Marinos

Posted May 07, 2020

My Country Roads survey asking Victorians to pinpoint most dangerous regional roads.

RACV is calling on regional Victorians to pinpoint the most dangerous roads in their area on an interactive online map to help make the state’s roads safer. 

RACV’s My Country Road survey uses an interactive map showing high-speed roads with the most crashes causing death or serious injury in regional Victoria, and seeks comments from people with local knowledge.

The survey comes as new statistics reveal that fatalities on regional roads over the past five years have been disproportionately higher than in metropolitan areas, says RACV’s senior manager transport, planning and infrastructure, Peter Kartsidimas.

“Over the past five years more than half the deaths on Victoria’s roads have occurred on regional roads, but only about a quarter of Victorians live in rural areas,” Peter says.

RACV’s online interactive map highlights 169 roads with 80kmh or higher speed limits where there have been several fatal or serious crashes based on the latest data available since 2014.

Peter says RACV research shows that it’s not only the obviously risky roads, such as those that are narrow or winding, that pose a danger to motorists. For example, three people lost their lives and three were seriously injured on a short, straight 3.5 kilometre section of Ballarat’s Remembrance Drive in the five year period.

The state’s deadliest road between 2014 and 2018 was an 11.5-kilometre stretch on the Healesville-Koo Wee Rup Road between Albert Road and Allsops Road in Woori Yallock where five people died and seven were seriously injured.

Other danger spots include:

  • an 11-kilometre section of the Portarlington Road in the City of Greater Geelong, where 18 crashes, including one fatality and 17 serious injuries occurred.
  • a 700-metre stretch of the Glenelg Highway between Racecourse Road and Gordon Street in Coleraine, where one fatal and five serious injury crashes occurred. 
  • a curving 26.5-kilometre stretch of the Warburton-Woods Point Road at Reefton where one fatality and 17 serious crashes occurred.

“What the statistics don’t tell us is local knowledge and the survey gives locals a voice that we can use to take to every level of government,” Peter says.

“The survey gives regional Victorians an opportunity to highlight any safety issues they encounter on the roads they travel on.

“We want to find out what local residents think. For example, is the speed limit is too high given the condition of the road? What are the potential dangers in the road design like narrow lanes, power poles or trees too close to the road, and poor line marking, or unexpected things like livestock or native animals on the road?” 

Peter says RACV will use input from regional Victorian drivers to lobby all levels of government to make rural roads safer and look at lowering speeds on some roads to match conditions. 

RACV estimates that 80 per cent of the 180,000 kilometres of regional roads with 100kmh speed limits in Victoria need upgrading. “But at the current rate of funding it would take about 1000 years to make all of them safe,” he says.  

“Ideally, we’d like every country road to be upgraded to a safer standard immediately, but logistically this is not possible. However, there are some simple measures we can implement relatively quickly along some of these roads that will save lives, that don’t necessarily cost a lot of money.”  

He says RACV’s submission to the state government’s road toll inquiry earlier this year called for an urgent review into speed limits on country and outer-urban roads, prioritising those with the most crashes.  

“We’d also like to see a significant increase in the amount of maintenance being undertaken on regional roads, with such works incorporating extra safety improvements, such as sealing shoulders and adding rumble strips,” he says. 

“The survey provides an opportunity for RACV to shine a light on the complexity of addressing road safety in regional Victoria, given the condition of the network, the spread of crashes across the state and the funding available,” he says. 

“Once the data is collated, the next step is for RACV to advocate on the behalf of motorists to ensure Victoria’s regional roads are safe for everyone.”