BQ response to coronial findings on the death of Carolyn Lister

10 October 2023

Bicycle Queensland Interim CEO Lisa Davies-Jones said: “Bicycle Queensland has been very disturbed to read the coronial report into the death of Carolyn Lister, who died while riding her bike to work at the Royal Brisbane Hospital in July 2020.”

“Carolyn Lister’s death was tragic and unnecessary.  She died because there is no appropriate cycling corridor around the Royal Brisbane Hospital, a major workplace. The truck which hit her did not have safety features which have since been made mandatory for new trucks in Australia.

“Once again, we grieve Carolyn Lister’s tragic and unnecessary death, and we express our deepest condolences to her husband John and family.

“Bicycle Queensland has consulted with Brisbane-area bicycle user groups, who also shared our grief and our disappointment with the long wait for these findings, and the delays that this has caused to making our roads and paths safer.

“We call on Brisbane City Council to urgently implement the upgraded paths and crossings along O’Connell Terrace and Bowen Bridge Rd as mentioned as an “Interim Concept Plan” in the coroner’s findings. If there was any reason to wait for these safety improvements (taking into account the active transport community’s feedback on the concept designs), the publication of these findings removes that reason. We also note that the bikeway and shared path network of inner-city Brisbane is incomplete and disjointed, and that there are still many locations around Brisbane where heavy vehicles share space with vulnerable road users including bike riders, walkers, and scooter riders.

“Every person who leaves home in the morning to travel on our roads and paths has the rightful expectation that they will return home again. Brisbane City Council and the State Government must do more to provide for the safety of all users of our transport systems.

“We welcome the Federal Government’s announcement last week on new mandatory safety features for heavy vehicles, especially side under-run protection, blind spot mirrors, and safety sensors. Had the truck which ran over Carolyn Lister been better equipped with modern safety features, the driver might have been alerted to Carolyn’s presence. However, as the Federal announcement only applies to new vehicles, it would not have saved Carolyn, as the owner-driver fleet is typically older and less safe than trucks owned by the large logistics firms such as Boral.

“We call on State Government and Federal Government to jointly fund safety improvements to the existing fleet of trucks, focussing on assisting owner-drivers to ensure that their vehicles meet the latest safety standards including side under-run protection, blind spot mirrors, and safety sensors.

“We call on State and Federal Government to phase out trucks which cannot be made to meet current safety standards.

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