Tag Archives for " infrastructure "

The bridge that threatens to wipe out all cyclists.

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“The government has knowingly left a substantial hazard for cyclists. Every time it rains a new cyclist is injured. In our opinion,   something needs to be done”


Emily Billau - Principal Cyclelaw

The Goodwill Bridge – it’s probably one of the busiest cycle routes in Brisbane and now it’s become unsafe.


We represent far too many clients who have placed their trust into normally safe public infrastructure only to find out the hard way that the surface is unreliable. And unfortunately these hazards can have devastating and lifelong effects on the cyclists and their families.


The current state of the Goodwill Bridge surface needs urgent and prompt attention before there are too many more serious injuries.  

What's the situation?

Late last year, work had taken place on the Goodwill Bridge to fix the slippery surface after complaints of accidents.

Despite appearances, the upgraded blue surface is still a hazard causing cyclists to lose traction and sustain significant injury, even at really low speeds.

In response to fresh complaints, this month, the government has installed caution signs on the entrance to bridge instructing cyclists to “dismount when wet”.

The bridge remains a dangerous hazard to cyclists.


Asking cyclists to 'dismount when wet' is really just shifting the responsibility.


The authorities, not the cyclists, are responsible for rectifying the dangerous surface.

Emily Billiau

Principal, Cyclelaw

Does the State owe cyclists a duty of care?

Emily Billiau

Principal, Cyclelaw

Yes.


 The State does owe cyclists who use the Goodwill Bridge path a duty of care.


If they breach that duty of care they may be liable to compensate the cyclist.

Evidence (including likely expert evidence) would ultimately need to be obtained to support a case in negligence against the Sate and/or their contractors, servants or agents.

But for now, our preliminary thoughts are this...

We would argue that the surface:

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    appears to not have a sufficient and/or appropriate slip resistance;
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    is such that it was sufficient to cause a number of cyclists to lose traction when wet;
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    is frequently used by cyclists and it was known to the State Government that this was the case;
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    until recently, was not marked, barricaded or covered in any way to identify the hazard;
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    in the circumstances, presented a perpetual trap, such that it could not be detected by cyclists in time to avoid an accident.

We would say that the existence of the surface created a specific hazard which posed a foreseeable risk of injury to cyclists.

The State Government were and still are aware of growing issues with the slipperiness of the bridge.
There have been at least nine report of accidents since its resurfacing and countless more prior to that.  

Ultimately, in our opinion, the State have failed in their duty of care to cyclists by:-

  • failing to provide a safe surface for bicycle traffic;
  • failing to remove the hazardous surface from the path when it knew of the hazard;
  • failing to implement an appropriate remedial solution;
  • failing to construct the path is a reasonably competent manner;
  • causing, allowing or permitting the use of the path, in circumstances when they knew, or ought to have known, that it was a hazard to cyclists;
  • failing to give any, or any adequate, warning of the surface or the hazard.

What this could cost the authorities

If someone (a cyclist) is owed a duty of care by the State 

  • and the State breaches that duty of care to them (bad path surface)
  • and these people have suffered loss (damages)
  • these angry cyclists may very well form a  long line at the court house seeking hundreds of thousands (if not millions) in compensation.

Surely it is just much easier, and cheaper, to put down a non-slip surface over a 400 m bridge?