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Journeys : April May 2009
older drivers, community representatives and policy-makers to engage in a discussion about the issues facing older drivers in Tasmania. Listening to older drivers I Rail uncertainty not speculate on the outcomes of any negotiations, but would work T asmanian rail operator Pacific National’s parent company Asciano recently advised the State Government of its decision to cease the sale process for its Tasmanian rail assets and of its intention to exit Tasmanian operations in the medium term. The RACT understands that this means between six to twelve months. State Minister for Infrastructure Graeme Sturges said that the latest development now required the Government’s direct negotiation with the company, where previously it had remained at arm’s length from the sale process. The negotiation team will be headed by the secretary of the Department of Infrastructure, Norm McIlfatrick. Mr Sturges said that the Government would Tasman Bridge to be more cycle-friendly O ne of the major barriers to greater use of bicycles as a commuter option around Hobart has always been the relative difficulty faced by cyclists on the Tasman Bridge. Many RACT members who are also cyclists have commented in the past that the access arrangements on the bridge present barriers to cycling. We hope that improvement works announced recently will address some of these issues. The projects include: • Construction of a cycle-friendly ramp to replace 24 steps on the city side of the bridge on the western shore • Extending the downstream eastern footway approach to connect with council footpaths • Modification of fire hydrants along the upstream and downstream footpaths to reduce the risk of accidents April / May 09 6 According to RACT Group Chief Executive Greg Goodman, more and more Tasmanians are using bicycles for commuting, family leisure and exercise. “We want to support members in their transport choices, especially given the health and environmental benefits associated with cycling,” Mr Goodman says. “Remember that if you upgrade to Roadside Ultimate, you’ll get the extra peace of mind provided by RACT Bike Assist, our breakdown service for cyclists.” For more information on Roadside Ultimate or Bike Assist call 6232 6300 or email email@example.com. constructively with Asciano to ensure the best possible outcome for rail customers and Tasmania. The RACT hosted an all-parties forum on the future of rail as long ago as October 2005. “We’ve now reached the stage where we must have certainty,” RACT Group Chief Executive Greg Goodman says. “Business and industry need reassurance that rail has a solid future in Tasmania, otherwise an already over-burdened road system will come under further strain.” Mr Goodman says that the Club remains in regular dialogue with the Government about issues such as the future of rail and we will continue to advocate for our members’ interests. The use of the private car is vitally important to older people for mobility and independence. For many, particularly those living in regional and rural areas of Tasmania, the car is the only available form of transport. The RACT believes that public policy settings should encourage and enable drivers to drive their vehicles for as long as is safely and reasonably possible. Around seventy people filled the meeting room at Hobart’s 50 and Better Centre, with local media present. Penny Nicholls from DIER gave a presentation about current regulations in Tasmania and other jurisdictions. The current regulatory framework in Tasmania requires annual medical tests from age 75 and an additional annual on-road assessment from age 85. A majority of attendees thought that the current regulations are onerous. Concerns were also expressed with the terminology currently used in regards to the annual ‘testing’, suggesting it should be referred to as an ‘assessment’. The test is seen to cause undue stress, with drivers being expected to drive on unfamiliar roads or with unfamiliar people in the car. A number of attendees felt it was important that some younger drivers should not mistake older drivers driving with caution for incapacity or inability to handle conditions. They said that older drivers are already generally more cautious – they tend to self-regulate their driving, restrict themselves to places or times when they feel comfortable; they seldom drink-drive or drug-drive; and they are far less likely to engage in high speed or other risky driving behaviours than most other age-groups. Further details and developments regarding the RACT’s policy will be published in Motor News Journeys. Information about licensing and a copy of the Tasmanian Older Driver’s Handbook can be found on the Department’s website http://www.transport.tas.gov.au/licence_ information or by contacting the RACT’s public policy department on 6232 6578 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org n February the RACT hosted an Older Drivers Roundtable, bringing together
June July 2009
June July 2008