No More Accidents in the Bell Street Risk Zone: Urgently Meet Pedestrian Safety Standards

No More Accidents in the Bell Street Risk Zone: Urgently Meet Pedestrian Safety Standards

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Deborah W started this petition to The Honorable Melissa Horne (Minister for Roads and Road Safety)

Pedestrians – including a large and growing number of Coburg High School kids – are at risk every day on and around the Bell Street bridge. The area is a risk zone: notorious for traffic collisions and recently the site of a serious collision involving a Coburg High School student.  

Despite repeated ongoing community complaints, no action has been taken to improve safety in the risk zone. While we welcome past meetings with VicRoads, we note that there is still no timeline for expert review or action. We urgently request a review of the cluster of identified risk areas around the intersections of Bell, Elizabeth and Nicholson Streets. 
Please take action to stop more accidents: we need to prevent injury and fatality. 


- Failure to Meet Safety Standards 

Shockingly, the Bell Street bridge over Merri Creek does not meet Australian safety Standards (AS 1428.1:2009). The Victoria State Government’s own guidelines on pathways specify a minimum preferred path width of 1.8m. AustRoad’s 2021 Guide to Road Design also specifies a 1.8m path width for any footpath requiring wheelchair and pram access.  

Glaring safety issues with the Bell Street bridge: 

  • footpath is perilously narrow (1.07—1.2m southside; 0.9—1.55m northside) 
  • no setback or separation between the bridge footpath and traffic lanes
  • guttering is sloped, making the curb easy for cars to mount 
  • path is uneven and hazardous. 

Pedestrian access on the Bell Street bridge is significantly narrower than the equivalent bridges in the area and yet receives higher levels of traffic. 

This poses an unacceptable risk to safety and accessibility in our community. 
- Growing Numbers of Pedestrians, Heavy Traffic 

We have large and growing volumes of people walking and cycling around the Bell Bridge risk zone every day. Coburg High School is proud of its 75% sustainable travel rate, with many children zoned for Coburg High School walking and cycling through the area daily.  

Notably, the Coburg High School student population has grown from 250 students in 2015 to 1,130 in 2021 and will likely grow beyond 1,230 in 2022. Families at local primary schools who are zoned for Coburg High School – such as Bell, Preston West, Brunswick East and St Fidelis – are rightly concerned about the safety of children travelling through the risk zone. 

The road traffic volume in the area is extremely high: the average two-way traffic volume for the Bell Street bridge is 47,000 vehicles per day, including 2,200 trucks and multiple bus routes. Elizabeth Street to the north, and Nicholson Street to the south carry double lanes of traffic in each direction, with average two-way traffic volumes at 11,000 and 27,000 vehicles per day, respectively.  
- Motor Collisions and Pedestrian Safety  

This year, at least one Coburg High School student has been hit by a car in this risk zone.  

Many more have witnessed first-hand vehicle collisions, near-misses and road rage as they wait at intersections strewn with shattered glass and metal.  

Pedestrians feel unsafe crossing Bell, Elizabeth and Nicholson Street intersections and walking on the bridge footpath. Vehicles travelling at speed regularly mount the curb and collide into traffic light poles and through railings. Motorists frequently fail to give way, speed and verbally harass pedestrians waiting to cross. 

We need a comprehensive and holistic review of the risk zone and immediate action to avoid further risk to health and safety in our community. Help us to promote safe active travel, particularly to and from Coburg High School!


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1,820 have signed. Let’s get to 2,500!
At 2,500 signatures, this petition is more likely to get picked up by local news!