Saturday, 25 October 2014


An 8 year old boy's life was taken away from him a little while ago in Sydney. He was riding close to his home when he was hit by a car. He dies soon after his arrival in hospital.

His family will no doubt never recover and nor will the driver of the vehicle involved.

It happened at the intersection of Paddock Street and Capertree Street, The Ponds, in Sydney's west. This is a view of the intersection:

and here you can see where it is on a map:

You can see it is no far from the main road, Stanhope Parkway. You can also see that all of the surrounding streets are long, generally straight and open to traffic. All of them, including this one, have default speed limits of 50 km/h even though, as the picture shows, people live on them. A quick squizz on Streetview will also show you that it is a very new sub-division.

The roads are quite wide, very smooth and have long sight lines. The curves into side streets are generous and allow turns to be taken at a decent speed - despite give way rules involving pedestrians walking along the street being turned off.

The little boy was riding on the road (rather than the pavement which is on only one side of the road) and, tragically, he failed to give way.

It does seem an extraordinarily high price to pay for a simple and understandable error.

How can we have a road system that is so unforgiving of a simple mistake like that one?

In any workplace, risks are dealt with first by elimination, then by substitution. OHS manuals generally say something along the lines of "If it is not possible to eliminate the hazard, substitute it with something preferably of a lesser risk which will still perform the same task in a satisfactory manner." Something like the same intersection with a much lower speed limit? Or the same intersection on roads with traffic volume reduced because it doesn't need to be there?

I don't wish to appear in bad taste by discussing this but it is very upsetting to hear about anyone killed on our roads. Each time this happens, we should be asking why so that we (and each level of Government) can do our level best to ensure it never happens again.

There is no excuse not to. And there is no excuse to leave that street as it is with its obvious hazard that has now made itself known with such appalling consequences.


  1. This kind of thing is my worst nightmare. And also one of the reasons I think of leaving Australia. I just don't feel my family is safe here.

  2. So sad, and you are right where you say:

    '... there is no excuse to leave that street as it is with its obvious hazard that has now made itself known with such appalling consequences.'

    Here in Australia we are so bad at sharing the road with all users including the vulnerable ones - it's a national disgrace (no wonder anonymous above is thinking of leaving)

  3. I left already. It might be the weather is crap, but I can travel easily. It might be that I pay a lot of tax, but i can afford it and things just works. It might be that I live in a 'shoebox', but it is practical, looks good, and I have everything at my doorstep. Here in Copenhagen I can do what I want, helmet or not, and not worry about myself or my family getting mowed down.