Maurice Blackburn Lawyers principal Malcolm Cumming says road authorities have a duty of care to “take all reasonable steps to make sure all their roads are safe for all motorists, including vulnerable road users”.
“It seems that a lot of the time the way road authorities do repair work is with complete disregard to any motorists not driving a car or other four-wheeled vehicle,” he says.
“Loose debris and poor road conditions (such as melting tar) may not be much of a hazard for most vehicles but they are extremely dangerous for riders.”
Malcolm says Maurice Blackburn Lawyers are representing several riders who have crashed on poorly maintained roads or roadworks where the authority knew of a problem.
“Most relate to the deliberate practice of leaving loose material on the roadworks with no attempt to clear away debris,” he says.
Malcolm says there is a systemic lack of satisfactory national regulations and compliance on the quality of roadworks.
“A lot of the time the roadworks are obviously sub-par and there is no question they would not meet any standard at all,” he says.
“There seems to be no supervision by the relevant authorities of the work that their contractors are carrying out.”
Of course, Malcolm suggests crashed riders seek legal advice.
“But the other crucial point is that riders who observe defective roads or roadworks should report it to the relevant road authority in writing so that it is a matter of record,” he says.
“Most importantly to promote roadworks to fix the defect but also if something consequently happens to someone, if it’s been reported to the authority, it’s of enormous significance in the success of bringing a claim after the event.
“The state of knowledge of the authority can be very important in these cases.”
There was some hope of official recommendations on roadworks from a coronial inquest last year into the death of a motorcyclist who hit a pothole on roadworks at a new bridge near Goulburn.