Some of you will know that at the end of the Dawn ’til Dusk – Winter ride earlier this year, I crashed my bike on wet railway tracks and broke a bone in my knee. I reported the accident to Main Roads Western Australia through their fault reporting web site. This is what I said:
On Saturday the 20th of June 2009 at approximately 7:00 PM I was bicycling south-west along Railway Parade in Bassendean when my bicycle slipped on the wet railway tracks. The railway tracks are located approximately 270 metres from Collier Road. I was aware of the railway tracks and took care when crossing them but the front wheel of my bike slipped away as I crossed the tracks causing me to fall. I landed hard on my side, injuring my knee. The road surface should be modified so that a cyclist can cross the tracks without falling and being injured. Thank you for your attention to this matter.
Main Roads Western Australia sent the following email as a return:
Thank you for your email regarding the road surface at the rail crossing.
I have referrred your email onto the Public Transport Authority for their attention and a direct response as the location in question falls within a rail reserve for which they are responsible.
Should you require any further assistance, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call our 24 hour Contact Centre on 138 138.
Customer Information Officer
Main Roads WA
I followed up with the Public Transport Authority (PTA) who informed me that they are not the responsible agency for maintaining the level crossing. I have now been advised that United Group Rail are responsible but this has not been confirmed.
More than two months after first lodging my fault report I found out that two more cyclists had crashed on the same crossing in wet conditions and one had broken his pelvis and leg. I was very annoyed that although I had been trying to contact the relevant agency, I still had not been able to confirm who that was and the fault had not been rectified, leading to another serious incident. At that point I contacted the local paper.
On 6 October, 2009, the Eastern Reporter – East published the article Uneven crossing ‘puts cyclists at risk’ on page 13. The article can be viewed here. The article raises a number of interesting points.
- A United Group Rail spokeswoman said the company was only aware of two accidents at the site
- Town of Bassendean chief executive Bob Jarvis said the Town supported the extension of the shared path from Tonkin Highway through Bassendean
I know of more than two accidents at the site. Either people are not reporting their accidents or the reports are not getting through to the relevant people. This will require further follow up.
I have been informed by two independent parties that the Town has worked against the extension of the shared path from Tonkin Highway through Bassendean. I will pass on this information to my sources as the Town is now on the public record that they support the extension of the shared path.
I doubt any of this will make any difference but a number of issues arise:
- Remind cyclists of their responsibility to report faults to Main Roads Western Australia
- Follow up to see if United Group Rail are recieveing faults reported to Main Roads Western Australia
- Follow up to advise relevant parties that the Town of Bassendean have gone on the record supporting the extension of the shared path
In the mean time, I hope there are not any more accidents on this crossing.