Cairns CBD revealed as most dangerous

Things need to change

12 December 2018

Article heading image for Cairns CBD revealed as most dangerous

SPEED limits are set to drop after a new study revealed Cairns had the most dangerous CBD in Queensland for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists.


New Department of Transport and Main Roads analysis found there were 171 crashes causing death, injury or requiring medical attention in the inner city over the five years to 2018.


Cairns dwarfed even Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley (107 casualties), and the Gold Coast’s Surfers Paradise (89 casualties) despite their significantly greater traffic numbers.


Cairns Regional Council will decide today whether to accept a DTMR recommendation to cut the speed limit from 50km/h to 40km/h on roads bound by the Esplanade and Spence, McLeod and Florence streets.


A report before the council reveals just how perilous it can be to cross a road or ride a bike in the middle of town.


About 34 per cent of casualties involved pedestrians and cyclists compared with the state average of 9 per cent.


Abbott and Aplin streets were exposed as Queensland’s two worst 50km/h streets for fatal and serious crashes, while Spence and Abbott streets were the respective second and third most dangerous CBD streets for pedestrians and cyclists.


The Cairns City centre is also home to eight of regional Queensland’s 20 worst 50km/h roads for crashes involving bike riders and people on foot.


The report found the crashes cost the community about $60 million over five years.


The city’s two streets with 30km/h limits - Lake St and the Esplanade - did not record a single fatal or serious crash over the five-year period.


“Interestingly, McLeod St only had three (fatal or serious) incidents occurring during the time period,” the report says.


“This could be due to the changes made just prior to the period where the road was reduced to a single lane in each direction.”


If the changes go ahead, the 30km/h and 20km/h sections on Lake St and the 30km/h stretch of the Esplanade would be retained.


Community consultation will be held early next year.




■ 171 casualties from 2013-2017


■ 66 per cent occurred during daylight hours with the highest number from 2pm-4pm


■ Only two casualties happened between midnight and 2am


■ Fridays were the worst for crashes (20%) with Wednesdays the safest (11 per cent)


■ Only 3.2 per cent of crashes involved drunk pedestrians


■ The vast majority (more than 92%) were during fine weather


■ Most drivers had Queensland licences with only nine driving on foreign licences


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