The Cairns Post has been front and centre on the Tanya Roneberg story since she was murdered on May 11th by a drink-driving P-plater.
But instead of channeling the anger in the community into worthwhile legal and political steps, the Cairns Post has instead given us a Gavin King-inspired "feel good" campaign. The equivalent of the ridiculous "lightning bolt" tourism time-waster. Community political masturbation.
To launch their campaign, they've gotten Glenys Duncombe from the FNQ Hospital Foundation to blather: "It's all about sharing the road". Sorry Glenys, that's bullshit. Sharing the road has little to do with our particular problems.
The Far North has had more bicycle fatalities the last eight years than any other region of Queensland - 13. This includes the South Eastern (Brisbane) Region, which saw 8 bicyclist deaths in the same period. A region with hundreds of thousands more cars, and a higher rate of bicycle usage.
Let's start dealing with the real problems, shall we?
Drink driving. Tanya Roneberg couldn't have done any more road sharing if she had tried. This alleged murderer, on a virtually empty four lane carriageway, careened into a guardrail and then Ms. Roneberg while loaded. Why? Because driving while hammered is somehow an Australian human right, with little shame and less punishment attached.
In part the police secrecy policies serve to anaesthetise the public as to the depth of the problem. Every arrest for drink driving should be made available to the public, and published in the newspaper. They have the statistics, which they share to generate "aggregated reports" without names. But individual cases are swept under the rug, and even requests for release of the information is denied by the QPS. A case in point is the single-car, early morning accident that took the life of Jeff "Hoppy" Hopgood, founder of the Taipans who has a section of Cazaly's named for him. The word on the street at the time was that ol' Hoppy was hammered prior to his drive up the twisty Gold Coast mountain highway. Statistically, single-car accidents at night have alcohol as an element. Was alcohol part of the Jeff Hopgood traffic death? Who knows, THE POLICE WON'T SAY. But I won't be taking an impressionable son thru this entrance at Cazaly's anytime soon.
And I would guess alcohol has played a part in most of the car/bicycle accidents in FNQ. And I don't mean just the car drivers, either. We have adequate evidence that bicyclists are driving hammered, too.
But government and alcohol are co-conspiritors in this highway carnage. Governments generate huge taxes from alcohol. And look what happens when the politicians get caught? Tony Abbott fronts up to protect his chief-of-staff Peta Credlin, the latest in a series of Parliamentary drinking incidents. Even Warren "Run for the Door" Entsch was caught, and received the barest of punishments - $200 fine and a month off the roads. His excuse? He hadn't eaten all day when he was launching the "Palm Cove Reef Feast" festival. Like anyone believes this fat fucker has ever missed a meal. We have a culture where alcohol consumption is celebrated, and the public reaction low.
"SHARE THE ROAD" doesn't solve this problem.
Shitty Roads. One of the reasons for the low fatality rate in the SE corner is the continual rate of investment in grade-separated bicycle paths in Brisbane. No expense too great to cater to the bicyclists, including bridges and tunnels for bicycles (and the errant pedestrian). Money spent on just this bridges and tunnels? Sit down, you won't believe it. Over $150,000,000!
And in Cairns we saw the hillbillies organised by John Cueball MacKenzie to scream about a $6M bikeway from Aeroglen to the CBD. Had this bikeway been properly completed to the Northern Beaches, we wouldn't be "remembering" Tanya Roneberg, as she'd be alive and well.
The lack of dedicated bikeways in conjunction with the substandard roads built by both Council and Main Roads over decades mean that bicyclists in much of the city have little chance.
BAD BICYCLISTS: The bicyclist in Cairns has the same
mentality as the average driver in Cairns. They do as they please, ignoring every road regulation they would follow if driving a car. Stop signs? Invisible. Driving on wrong side of road? Who cares! Red light? Not for me, mate. Darting across traffic lanes? Get outta my way, Mr. Polluter! Cairns Police routinely target every other road user, but give virtually no infringements to bicycles. In most foreign countries, bicyclists are held to the same standard as other road users, including having to signal turns.
"SHARE THE ROAD"? Nonsense. Let's work for REAL solutions, not empty slogans from do-nothing politicians. It takes real work to solve problems.