A DISASTER WAITING TO HAPPEN
By MEL MARTIN
AS she held the hand of the cyclist hurt in an accident at Moonee Beach on Friday, Michelle Vidler thought 'it's started, this is what we were worried about'.
As far as she is concerned, returning to 100km/h at the intersection of Moonee Beach Road and the Pacific Highway would be a disaster, and what is needed is an overpass or a roundabout.
"Had the truck been doing 100km/h, that man would have been dead," the co-owner of Moonee Beach Tavern said.
According to police, the truck was travelling at 70km/h when the accident occurred, which was probably lucky for both the truck driver, who escaped injury despite his truck rolling, and the 58-year-old rider who is in a stable condition at the Coffs Harbour Health Campus with head and back injuries.
Everyone locally seems to agree that while the new intersection is a huge improvement, a 100km/h speed limit will spill blood on the road.
But the Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) plans to remove the 80km/h sign when the roadworks are completed this month.
"The intersection itself is fine, it's well signed, and I've never had a problem with it, but I don't think it should go up to 100km/h," co-owner of Moonee Beach Newsagency, Linda Hosking, said.
And that's an opinion echoed by Kerry Millsom from A Little Pekkish.
In fact, many think the speed limit should be reduced further to 60km/h, including NSW Nationals member for Coffs Harbour, Andrew Fraser, who said this latest accident and another last month highlighted the dangers of the intersection.
"These accidents both occurred in an existing 80km/h zone, which clearly indicates that the complexity of this intersection warrants a 60km/h speed zone," he said.
Councillor David Featherstone couldn't agree more, but also wants warning signs indicating an intersection ahead, because a major concern is that visitors may not be aware the intersection is even there.
"Council doesn't have a say, the RTA determines it, but they don't take any notice of us," he said.
"They'll only make it a blackspot after someone gets killed there. We're trying to pre-empt that."
And Moonee Action Group member Sandy Van Veluwen says the combination of confusion from people unfamiliar with the intersection and the increased traffic since the opening of the shopping centre is a recipe for disaster.
"I think 60km/h would be a good option, but 80km/h is at least a safer bet than 100km/h," she said.
The Coffs Coast Advocate contacted the RTA for comment, but they did not respond by time of going to print.
What do you think? Should the speed limit at the intersection of Moonee Beach Road and the Pacific Highway remain at 80km/h, be reduced to 60km/h or should it go back to 100km/h? Email firstname.lastname@example.org or write to 53 Moonee Street, Coffs Harbour.