Wire rope barrier protest ride to run from Bendigo to Melbourne

Wire rope barriers being installed along the Calder Highway at Ravenswood South last month. Picture: ADAM HOLMES
Wire rope barriers being installed along the Calder Highway at Ravenswood South last month. Picture: ADAM HOLMES

A cohort of motorcyclists will converge on the steps of Parliament in May, protesting the rollout of wire rope barriers along the Calder.

The ride, organised by the Independent Riders’ Group, will set out from Bendigo on May 8 and travel along the Calder before arriving at Parliament House in Melbourne.

Spokesman Damien Codognotto OAM said protesters had exhausted every other possibility in getting the rollout to stop.

“This is not about party politics, it is about a public service that is not doing its job,” he said.

“This is a road safety issue. This is about stopping families spending years of grief.”

The barriers have been a bone of contention with motorcyclists fearing the rope acts as a “cheese shredder” and the poles are dangerous during crashes

Some CFA brigades along the Calder have also said they have blocked access to fires and crashes.

Mr Codognotto said the ride was also about protesting rural road neglect, with conditions deteriorating since the end of the Millennium drought.

“We pay taxes for the public service to look after us on our highways,” he said.

“But the public service has let us down in maintaining roads and keeping them safe.”

Victorian roads and road safety minister Luke Donnellan says wire rope barriers installed last year have already been hit more than 300 times, potentially avoiding 300 life-threatening crashes.

Victorian roads and road safety minister Luke Donnellan says wire rope barriers installed last year have already been hit more than 300 times, potentially avoiding 300 life-threatening crashes.

More than $42 million is being spent on the rollout of the wire rope barriers along the Calder between Bendigo and the Western Ring Road.

Victorian roads and road safety minister Luke Donnellan has repeatedly defended the barriers, while Member for Euroa Steph Ryan last week called for a halt in the rollout while an investigation into the cause of a fatal crash on the Calder Freeway was carried out.

Mr Codognotto said the ride was about trying to save lives, not about party politics. 

“It’s a big issue – people who lose someone in these circumstances not only do they have this massive grief but they get angry,” he said.

“We’re committed to this. We believe we can improve VicRoads’ performance and save some lives by running this ride.”

The Independent Riders’ Group protest will leave from Bendigo on May 8, picking up other riders along the way. Speakers at Parliament House will include the families of people who have been killed in crashes involving wire rope barriers.