'I'm surprised no one's been hurt': pedestrians claim refuge islands are too narrow

RIDING FOR A FALL: Ken Brown fears for his safety when he crosses at roundabouts, saying narrow refuges created safety risks for people using scooters, strollers or wheelchairs. Photo: DANIELLE CETINSKI                           0611dcken1

RIDING FOR A FALL: Ken Brown fears for his safety when he crosses at roundabouts, saying narrow refuges created safety risks for people using scooters, strollers or wheelchairs. Photo: DANIELLE CETINSKI 0611dcken1

CALLS to widen pedestrian refuges at roundabouts have been renewed with Orange City Council failing to respond to previous requests.

Councillor Glenn Taylor called for a report on refuge standards at  council’s access committee meeting, saying some of the older refuges across the central business district were too narrow and posed a safety risk, particularly for pedestrians using strollers, wheelchairs or scooters.

He said he called for improvements a decade ago and questioned why nothing had been done.

“We were going to roll out a program increasing the size of the islands on the roundabouts and it’s disappointing we haven’t undertaken that program,” he said.

“Cars could misjudge and clip a scooter or, heaven forbid, a pram.

“I’m surprised no one’s been hurt - we need to ensure the refuges are adequate.”

Summer Street resident Ken Brown can be found riding his scooter through Orange three days a week and said the width was a problem.

“I’ve almost been hit three or four times,” he said.

“Courtesy had gone astray - people don’t give way and if you’re not careful, they run over the top of you.”

Mr Brown said his wheels normally fit on the refuge, but the area at ground level was limited and could only fit one scooter, wheelchair or stroller.

He said the lack of room created a safety problem when more than one person tried to cross. 

“People can step onto the raised part, but if they have a stroller, they can’t do that,” he said.

Mr Brown said the refuges’ quality depended on their age and older infrastructure tended to be narrower.

“It would be good to have a little more room - the ones near the Catholic Church are quite good,” he said.

An audit will be conducted on Orange’s refuges including a cost analysis of how much it would cost to bring all of them to current standards.

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