“Roadside Hazards” (AKA trees) to be removed across Victoria in a VicRoads’ war on the environment.

Pootilla roadside treesRoadside trees like these south of Pootilla on the Ballarat -Daylesford road are set to be removed as part of the TAC-funded “Towards Zero” “safety” campaign. (The exact location is unclear).

VicRoads is stepping up its campaign to remove what it euphemistically terms “Roadside Hazards,” in huge numbers around the State. Ordinary people of course value these “roadside trees”as being intrinsically important to the living environment. An article in the Ballarat Courier quotes the TAC’s new CEO as saying “while some fatalities were due to behaviour like speeding or drink driving, it was time to take a “more systemic view”. By which he presumably means the “systematic attempt to remove roadside trees.”

The “Towards Zero” PR campaign argues that no matter how drunk, drugged, fatigued or inexperienced/poorly skilled a driver is, a road run-off should not result in his/her death. VicRoads has already started removing trees under this program. They have lots more planned at least in the Western District over summer, including “full pavement restorations of Daylesford-Ballarat Road, south of Pootilla, and Ballarat-Maryborough Road in Ascot, with the roads dug up and completely rebuilt,” VicRoads spokesperson Ewen Nevett confessed. “Across 17 sites in Ballarat and surrounding districts, $4 million has been contributed as part of the Federal Blackspot Program for measures such as traffic islands, lane widening and roundabouts at dangerous locations.”

Once all the trees are gone – we will then realise, as researchers do in Norway, that good, straight roads are one of several factors which make drivers fall asleep in front of the wheel. “In 1997, eight percent of Norwegian drivers said they had dozed off in front on the wheel in the past 12 months, and that’s the highest percentage we’ve found on this in Norway,” says Ross Owen Phillips, of The Institute of Transport Economics. “In the US, it’s 29 percent. In the US, many roads are long and straight, which he believes accounts for the higher drowsy driver numbers.

Considerations of safety all depend on your priorities, your world view, and who’s funding you!

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8 Responses to “Roadside Hazards” (AKA trees) to be removed across Victoria in a VicRoads’ war on the environment.

  1. Sue Mckinnon says:

    are any of the trees to be saved by placing safety barriers in front of them rather than removing them?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. helentrees says:

    They do use safety barriers, but take trees out first – in general. If people don’t know a roadside well, they could drive along it and not know that half the roadside trees have gone. But the birds, animals and insects know.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Dr Patricia Harrisson says:

    We depend on our trees in our area of Tasmania , to act as wind breaks, and in particular, to shade the roads from the glare of the early morning and late afternoon sun, which makes visability almost impossible. Some places, many people wait until the sun goes down, as it is such a traffic hazard reaching a corner where there is no protection , and where many accidents have happened. A curvy road is much more interesting , as well as reducing speed both for the driver Passengers and other roadside users

    Liked by 1 person

  4. normanm mckinlay says:

    these people
    take the easy way out

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Vicki Boyle says:

    Victorian roadsides are precious habitat refuges – Vicroads, electricity companies and councils managing roadside verges must protect trees in Victoria, the most cleared state in Australia. Trees are not hazards, on the contrary, they support all life. Why do we hate trees so much?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. David says:

    This is just ridiculous we need trees for the involvement bird life ect! It comes down to drivers bring responsible for there own safe driving and us staying on the road in the first place, we need shade and cleaner air from trees we need nature not to keep clearing and cutting out beautiful grand trees 😦 they have removed trees all around the princess hwy to Gippsland and its bear and ugly without the trees and shrubs and nothing to stop headlight glear at night to dull oncoming traffic.
    If Vic roads insist on removing trees they must replant trees in the same local areas, at the same time nothing replaces a beautiful grand old tree that’s lived centuries.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. helentrees says:

    Thanks for all these thoughtful comments. To summarise – roadside trees:
    • act as wind breaks
    • shade the roads from the glare of the early morning and late afternoon sun which otherwise cause accidents
    • a curvy road is much more interesting (contributes to driver alertness?)
    • a curvy road reduces speed
    • it’s “easy” to just remove trees and install barriers (more thought needed to save trees?)
    • are precious habitat refuges
    VicRoads, electricity companies and councils managing roadside verges:
    • must protect trees in Victoria, the most cleared state in Australia.
    • must understand trees are not hazards. On the contrary, they support all life.
    • Why do authorities hate trees so much?


  8. Anton says:

    Oh FFS. Yep, let’s cut down all the roadside trees. Let’s drop all speed limits to mind numbing slow.
    In the end isn’t that what insurance is for? And survival of the fittest? Oh you are a fool and crashed into a tree and died? Well thankfully your dna won’t destroy the next generation.
    Who needs trees anyway?


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