Single-lane roads need safe turnouts

Pull over sign turnout turnouts

Turnouts that allow safe and legal passing are unfortunately scarce, but would prevent frustration that can lead to rash and dangerous passing manoeuvres.

Many of our favourite riding routes are winding, single-lane roads with double lines or unbroken lines that prevent passing.

Slow-moving traffic, cyclists and trucks on these roads create a mobile chicane.

We’ve all been caught behind these and become frustrated at not being able to legally and safely pass.

Turnouts a solution

Turnouts that allow the blocking vehicle to move over briefly while traffic passes would alleviate the frustration and prevent motorists making rash passing manoeuvres.

But the turnouts need to be well signposted in advance and again at the site to encourage motorists to use therm.

Roads such as the Great Ocean Rd and Mt Mee Rd have them, but there are not enough and signs do not provide ample warning or encouragement to motorists to pull over.

Mt Glorious turnouts

Mt Glorious turnouts turnout passing sign
Mt Glorious gravel unsigned and unsealed turnout

Mt Glorious Rd in Brisbane’s hinterland is a great example of a popular road among motorcyclists who frequently vent their frustration with slow-moving drivers who don’t pull over.

The road is due to receive some major upgrades and the Transport and Main Roads Department should be applauded for seeking rider input into the design for the upgrades.

An active and resourceful group called the Motorcycle Advocacy Group (Qld) has been involved in the planning.

They have put forward a raft of suggestions such as improving camber, reducing barriers, sealing run-off areas, and removing roadside obstacles such as signs and trees.

I would suggest they also ask for more sealed and signposted turnouts.

Mt Glorious gravel unsigned and unsealed turnout
Mt G turnout

A quick ride up from the Gap to the Samford turnoff and down to the Goat Track revealed about 16 areas where turnouts could be used to allow traffic to pass.

Most already exist. Some are just gravel and grass, but some are already paved.

However, none has accompanying signs to warn motorists of them or to notify slow-moving traffic to pull over.

Mt Glorious gravel unsigned and unsealed turnout
Large turnout area

Many similar single-lane roads we love riding also have plenty of suitable areas for safe turnouts.

But it still relies on the courtesy of slow-moving motorists such as truckies, Sunday drivers and caravanners to pull over.

Pull-over rules

Slow moving vehicle pull over turnout sign traffic
American turnout sign

What we also need are rules that make it mandatory for motorists with more than a set number of following vehicles to pull over.

This road rule is implemented and works well in many other countries, so why not here?

Slow moving vehicle pull over turnouts sign traffic
Alaska road sign

In the mean time, we need suitable sign wording.

Mt Glorious has a series of signs that simply say “Look for bikes”. What does that even mean?

Look for bikes signs - Oxley Highway may set safety standard turnouts
Look for bikes signs on Mt Glorious

The signs are pointless and only act as dangerous obstacles that a rider could hit if they run off the road.

We need bigger signs in safe places that say something like “Turnout lane 300m ahead”, then “Move over to allow passing” at the site of the turnout.

Plastic versions of the signs would also be handy! Click here to read about these signs.

2 Comments

  1. Exactly – won’t work unless there are cameras set up to catch abusers. Cops not interested because they can’t just snooze while their cameras do their job – that would too much like real work for them to bother.
    Just last week heading from Warwick back to the Gold Coast through the mountains passed several of these turn outs that were well enough signed, behind 2 slow b-doubles. The first one pulled in, the second one stayed out right in line with the tail of the first one – prevented everyone getting through for 2 full turn outs. He tried it on the next one too, but I beat him out there and honked like crazy going past him – and I bet he thinks I’m the asshole!

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