Copy-cat driving has already started on the roads where the Repco Rally is to be run, according to Ian Cohen, Greens MLC.
“I received reports yesterday from residents on Byrrill Creek Road near Uki – part of the route – that young men have been ‘trying out’ the Rally route in the last couple of weeks, driving at speed on Byrrill Creek Road and other dirt roads, both at night and in the day,” he said.
“It was reported that the drivers were covering their registration plates or driving without plates, so they know very well that what they’re doing is illegal – not to mention dangerous.
“The young men have said to residents that they are trying out the rally course. They have also ignored requests from residents to stop what they are doing.
“One couple, who was out walking at night, had a car skid towards them sideways and they had to run out of the way.
“Another resident who lives close to the road and who was disturbed by the activities asked them to stop and they were aggressive and threatening towards her.
“On Tuesday night the Minister for State Development, Ian Macdonald, pushed through the house special legislation that allows the Repco car rally to carve through a world-recognised biodiversity hotspot on the beautiful North Coast.
“This loud, dirty, dangerous and utterly unsuitable event is already reaping a negative return for the residents on the route and the potential for a tragedy will only increase as the rally date draws closer.
“There is a proven link between interest in motor racing and risky driving behaviours of young male drivers. A number of studies directly link motor racing to dangerous copycat driving behaviour in Adelaide and Melbourne after the Grand Prix.
“The RTA’s website says the aim of the ‘Speeding – no one thinks big of you’ campaign is to make speeding socially unacceptable.
“Speeding is a factor in about 40 per cent of road deaths – more than 200 people – in NSW each year. Over 4000 people are injured in speed-related crashes each year. The estimated cost to the community of speed-related crashes is about $780 million a year.
“The Minister for State Development has chosen to ignore the experts and his Government’s own anti-speeding message to allow a commercial event to happen. Let’s just hope that no young people lose their lives because of this glorification of dangerous driving.”