The attraction of the Grand Pacific Drive and Royal National Park is under threat from car hoons and speeding motorbikes, according to residents and visitors to the Northern Illawarra who are fed up with excessive noise and dangerous driving.
Residents from Otford, Stanwell Tops and Coalcliff met with Heathcote MP Lee Evans on Saturday, August 3, to discuss the issues, which have become increasingly worse in the past two years.
The meeting was attended by representatives from Police, Roads and Maritime Services and the Environment Protection Agency.
“Conservatively estimated, there may be up to 4000 daily motorcycle transits during the summer peak,” she said.
“Even in winter, this disproportionate road use by a single user group is striking. A random snapshot in July on Lawrence Hargrave Drive recorded 196 motorcycle transits in an hour from 9am on a cold Saturday morning. Only two cars used the road during this time.”
While the NSW Government promotes the Grand Pacific Drive as a tourist attraction, Wollongong City Council earmarks funds for an upgrade of Bald Hill and the Royal National Park is being considered for World Heritage listing, high volumes of speeding and excessively loud motorbikes and cars doing burn outs and drag racing expose the area to significant noise pollution and threaten safety of residents and tourists alike.
Residents reported being intimidated by large groups of bikers congregating at Bald Hill and Otford Lookouts and at various other scenic points along the northern Illawarra coast, while dangerous driving, including speeding on narrow, winding roads and overtaking on bends, was deterring tourists.
The meeting was informed that residents can take immediate action by reporting noisy vehicles to the EPA’s hotline on 131 555 or using the new EPA App http://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/pollution/ReportToEPAsupport.htm specifically designed to encourage reporting. Speeding vehicles should be reported to the Police Assistance Line on 131 444. Vehicle registration numbers should be included where possible. Reports from the public provide the evidence required for the Police and EPA to take action.
The EPA representative told the meeting that where a motorbike had been illegally modified to make it louder, a penalty notice would be issued. Repeat offenders would have their vehicle registration suspended.
The residents’ concerns have been substantiated by reports from the wider community. Mr Evans said all agencies would work together to address the problem of road noise and speeding, with police already patrolling the Royal National Park as part of Operation Apache.
[contact]Environment Protection Agency[/contact]