Organisers of the Save of the Oxley rally to halt the reduction of speed limits on the famed motorcycle route have declared Saturday’s event a success.
However, the outcome for the speed zones is still in the hands of the Roads and Maritime Services and won’t be known until next month.
Every man and his dog was at the Saturday rally including well-know charity rider Tex O’Grady and his dog, Bundy.
Rally organisers Ken Healey, Craig Windsor and Motorcycle Council of NSW chairman Christopher Burns say there were more than 1000 people present at Gingers Creek after riding from Walcha and Wauchope under police escort.
Christopher says there would have been more, but it clashed with the popular annual Snowy Ride and the GS Safari in South East Queensland.
“I’d particularly like to give a big thanks to local Snr Sgt John Hay for his excellent public relations skills,” he says.
Local riders Ken and Craig have also declared the rally a success.
“It was a great show of the feelings of the riders towards this proposal,” says Craig.
“There were no incidents, none of that,” says Ken. “No one binned it, I’m happy to say.”
“I’d like to think it had some sort of effect on the RMS and the Minister (Duncan Gay) because they would now have heard our call and seen how passionate the riders are about this.”
Ken launched a petition after speed limit reductions began in September and, together with Craig, has organised meetings between local businesses, riders, politicians and the RMS.
The result is that the RMS has halted speed reductions pending a review.
“I’m now chilling out and waiting to see what the RMS comes back with,” Ken says.
“The RMS told us they would have the results of the review in three or four weeks and we’ll meet with them and other stakeholders to find out what they have decided.”
Where to next?
Christopher says the next move will be to make personal representations to various government represents to secure a timeline on a decision.
“No one from the RMS has advised us about what the process for re-assessment is; they’ve just made a vague promise,” he says.
“There were about 16 recommendations from the road safety report into the highway. But they’ve decided to adopt just two of them. One is to drop the speed limits which is a basic road safety copout.”
Christopher says there is also a question mark over the incorrect installation of wire rope barriers on the highway.
“They’re not within their own guidelines, so there really needs to be an audit of the work of the local RMS.”
Petition going strong
Ken says his online and accompanying paper petitions have gathered almost 10,000 signatures.
“While we can’t present it to parliament because it’s not in the right format, it’s serving its purpose,” he says. “It was only ever designed to force the Minister to get the RMS to make the right decision.”
This is what Ken and other riders are trying to preserve:
However, the RMS has decided to reduce speed limits in several sections of the highway, including dropping a 30km mountain section around Gingers Creek from 100km/h to 70km/h.
Rally protesters were told that local businesses did not support the speed limit reductions because it would drive tourism away.
Local politicians have also previously spoken out against the speed reductions, but none was present at the rally.
“They all cited prior engagements,” Ken says. “But they have been very supportive.”