Lower rub rails on safety barriers that are important for the safety of riders have proliferated in recent years, but now the Queensland Government is removing some where they trap wildlife on the road.
You could be forgiven for thinking that riders’ lives are considered less important than the lives of snakes, wallabies, possums, echidnas and bandicoots.
However, many lower rub rails have been installed on benign straight stretches and the inside of curves, rather than the outside where riders are far more likely to crash.
Lower rub rails are about to be removed on a stretch of Gold Coast hinterland road to protect wildlife that is being trapped on the road and run over.
The rails are considered important in the event of a motorcycle crash as they prevent the rider hitting the lethal upright posts.
But a lot of money has been wasted over the years installing rub rails on sections where riders are highly unlikely to crash.
The money would be better spent installing the rails on more dangerous sections.
The Queensland Government’s Transport and Main Roads department is now believed to be rewriting its rules on rub rails.
Their first move will be to remove the rub rails from an eight-kilometre stretch of Beaudesert-Nerang Road at Witheren and Clagiraba on a popular motorcycle route to Beechmont and the Numinbah Valley.
This is an area where many wildlife have been killed because they are trapped on the road by the rub rails which are too close to the ground to squeeze through.
The rails are also so close to the ground that the grass and general debris has now blocked the natural drainage and water is retained on the road, increasing the risk to all vehicles of aquaplaning.
Transport and Main Roads south coast regional director Paul Noonan said in a statement that they have “worked extensively with engineering and road safety professionals to balance the need for guardrail to protect motorists and providing safe access for wildlife in the area”.
“A lot of analysis has been done to solve this problem, and I’m pleased to say we have a solution,” he says.
Work to remove the rails begins this month before the koala breeding season starts.
Let’s hope the rails are put to better use elsewhere.