Stop line blamed for cyclist’s death

Slippery stop line material was still across the road a month after a cyclist’s death; a retired engineer is convinced it contributed to the accident.

A RETIRED engineer is convinced a fatal cycling accident on Canning Highway attributed to a “medical episode” was instead the result of a faulty road surface.

On June 30, a 43-year-old cyclist collided with a yellow traffic light pole at the intersection of Canning Highway and North Lake Road. He was rushed to Royal Perth Hospital but later died from his injuries, with police determining he’d experienced a medical episode which caused him to veer off the road.

But retired engineer Max Fitzgibbon believes a faulty stop-line was to blame. 

“Being passionate about road safety, I took a look at the scene of the accident,” he told the Herald. 

“The marked stop line in the immediate vicinity of the accident was delaminating, and glass beaded pieces of the stop line were littering the road.” 

Stop lines are made out of a slippery, reflective material, about 3 to 4mm thick. When he visited the site, Mr Fitzgibbon picked up several loose pieces of the material by hand. He photographed a large piece which had been pushed into the centre of the intersection, while some smaller pieces lay on the verge near the pole the cyclist hit.

Mr Fitzgibbon contacted Main Roads on July 8, and was told the line would be fixed. However, when he returned to the scene a month later, nothing had been done.

Whilst there, he ran into a man examining the site. 

“I asked him who he was with and he said Main Roads,” Mr Fitzgibbon said. 

“He said the old line should have been removed before applying a new one.”

Main Roads media manager Dean Roberts told the Herald the line has now been fixed. When asked whether the flaking might have been caused by applying a stop-line atop an older one, he said that this type of double application is standard practise. 

“On most occasions new pavement markings are installed over existing ones however, sometimes the old pavement markings may be flaking or be too thick in sections for that to occur,” Mr Roberts said. 

“In these cases some areas of the old markings are removed (ground off) prior to the new treatment being applied.”

They conceded that the existing markings were not removed by a Main roads contractor when the stop-line was redone in May 2020.

by LOTTIE ELTON

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