Roadside memorials to be banned
Quensland Motorways will remove all roadside memorials on the Logan and Gateway Motorways from October 21st because they are a "potential safety hazard".PT1M23S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2ub3u 620 349 September 24, 2013
Five roadside crash memorials will be removed from two Queensland motorways next month, despite mourning families describing the decision as insensitive.
Queensland Motorways placed advertisements in newspapers last week advising drivers that crosses and flowers left on the side of the road to mark the scene of a fatal crash would be removed.
"It's a very sensitive issue. We've tried to locate the families that are related to these memorials, but we haven't been able to make contact," Queensland Motorways chief executive Brendan Bourke told 612 ABC Brisbane.
Pic shows a roadside memorial for a victim of the Pacific Highway. Photo: Dallas Kilponen DAK
"We understand that it's a difficult issue and we're just trying to be considered in the way we go about it."
But Citizens Against Road Slaughter secretary Bobby Henry, whose daughter was killed in a car crash in Logan in 1998, said the proposal was insensitive.
"It's very sad, because at the end of the day for people like myself who have lost someone to a road crash, [we] need to be able to return to the spot where their loved one took their last breath, had their last thought and lived their last moments," she said.
There have been two fatalities on the Gateway and Logan motorways in the past 12 months, and nine over the past five years.
Mr Bourke said safety concerns for people visiting crash sites were behind the removal of the memorials, although Ms Henry said families were well aware of the risks.
"Parking and walking along the motorway to maintain, establish or visit a memorial is an extremely unsafe activity, particularly with traffic moving at speeds of 100km/h," he said.
"Roadside memorials also present a visual distraction to drivers and create the potential for physical objects to harm road users by shifting onto the road surface."
Ms Henry said she believed the roadside memorials did more to combat the road toll than expensive government campaigns or flashing billboards.
"They make everyone out on the roads think and slow down, because they represent a real loss. It makes more of an impact," she said.
Mr Bourke said Queensland Motorways would not tolerate roadside memorials after October.
"But what we will do is sit down on a case-by-case basis ... to see how we can accommodate families at a difficult time," he said.
Mr Bourke said governments and councils should allow families to place small plaques at crash sites, in lieu of larger roadside memorials.
"Families need that," Ms Henry said.
Within the Logan City Council area, roadside memorials must be removed within two years of a fatal crash under restrictions introduced in 2011.
Mr Bourke said Queensland Motorways would store the roadside memorials indefinitely, or until they were claimed by family members or friends.