Saturday, 21 July 2018

Accident statistics

On the Carwoola Community Facebook (CCFB)page there is quite a bit of commentary about drivers' behaviour and road conditions.  I put up a post a couple of days ago alerting people to the closure of the Monaro Highway due to a particularly bad accident. One of the comments on this was:
"Lots of advertising about staying safe on the Kings Hwy but the Monaro seems just as dangerous yet nothing gets done."
This led me to ask whether there was anything published that compared the accident rates on these two roads.

They are both mainly 2 lane roads (plus some overtaking lanes) and have quite heavy traffic at times.  These days I drive to Cooma (Monaro Highway) more often than to Bateman's Bay (Kings Highway) but I would suggest that traffic is, on average, heavier on the Kings Highway but the Monaro Highway is generally wider and better alignment.

In my initial Googling I came up with a site that covered major National Highways (which included neither of those roads) but nothing else.  Eventually another member of the CCFB page gave me a link to an NRMA Report which referred to the NSW Centre for Road Safety which publishes statistics.  Their site contains two useful approaches to data:
  1. a set of interactive crash statistics; and 
  2. annual reports in .pdf format containing detailed tables on a wider range of variables.
The interactive statistics are very general but are worth checking.  For example over the period 2013 -2017, in all crashes leading to a fatality:
  1. on country roads alcohol is a factor in 13.5 - 20.2% of crashes.  For metropolitan areas the equivalent range is 6.3 - 14.2%.
  2. on country roads speeding  is a factor in 43 - 47.1%% of crashes.  For metropolitan areas the equivalent range is 31.5 - 43%
.While the report doesn't have a table of statistics comparing the two highways in question it does have a very good map (under the location tab) showing the location of serious crashes x LGA.  Here is a clip for QPRC, again for the 5 year period.
While all accidents are important to those involved those involving fatalities are the most serious.  So restricting the map to fatal accidents:
This shows some on the Kings Hwy and perhaps 1 on the Monaro.  It does show a surprising number on what appears to be the Tarago Rd but that is not what this post is about.

An immediate issue is that the maps above are restricted to QPRC.  To get a more complete picture of the Monaro Highway the map must be reset to cover Snowy-Monaro Regional Council.
 Several more accidents appear to be on the Monaro Highway (and again a surprising number to the West of Cooma).

Similarly the Kings Highway extends into Eurobodalla.  I have zoomed into the map and focussed on the area including the Kings Highway.  This brings up several fatal accidents on the Clyde and between Nelligen and Batemans Bay.
My overall conclusion based on these maps is that the two roads are about the same with possibly a slightly worse situation on the Kings Highway.  Possibly we hear more about the Kings Higway as our local media (and police) are more focused on the more local road.

The detailed report from the Safety Centre is interesting although voluminous (2.7Mb and 123 pages).

Looking initially at statistics for roads, it identifies data for the Monaro Highway but not for the Kings Highway: it seems not to have the status of State Highway.

It is interesting that it has a lot of information about the factors involved in accidents.  I had come up with a list of factors and emails suggested a few more.  The list is shown below together with the percentage of accidents in 2016 (latest year available) in which there is information on the factor being a cause.  The stats are for the State as a whole.
  1. The number of people involved in serious accidents whose licenses have been suspended or cancelled);
  2. Amphetamines (the number of cases where the person is charged with dangerous driving etc and possession - often with point 1 getting a mention also);
  3. Prescription drugs
  4. Alcohol - possibly with points 1 and 2; (6,6% serious injury accidents)
  5. Basic inability to drive a nail in a plank of wood in a law abiding manner;
  6. Speed (22.8serious injury accidents)
  7. Falling asleep (given as fatigue (11.3% serious injury accidents))
  8. Road design (drive according to the road design not how it happens to suit your "feelings")  There is lots of info about road features at the site of the accident but I haven't tried to summarise it;
  9. Weather (ibid) (14.5% serious injury accidents)
  10. Hitting animals (wildlife or stock) (1.1% serious injury accidents)
  11. Poor maintenance of vehicle. (1.1% serious injury accidents)
  12. Distraction inside vehicle (mobile phones? ) (2.9serious injury accidents)
  13. The report has a somewhat larger category "Distraction outside the vehicle" (10.9% serious injury accidents).  From reading  another paper by the Centre " This category includes situations such as view obscured by parked vehicle / congested traffic and vision reduced due to rising / setting sun."
 It is important to note that there could be several factors in an accident.  The tables presented only show 1 or 2 factors (fair enough in terms of volume of material, but it does limit understanding the situations involved).  Also the data does not rank these according to most important cause.  I suggest that because "speed" is easy to assess from skidmarks it is often included when it is not the main factor.
 Eg drunk, on a mobile phone, license suspended, going through a chicane in rain and hits a kangaroo while the car is doing 10kph over the speed limit - add 1 to speed.
I have a few questions that I will follow up with the Road Safety people but basically the existence of these data should be a great help in assessing road safety in our area.

Thursday, 19 July 2018

Do you know the Muffin Girl?

Unlike the old song this one doesn't live down Drury Lane.

She came to visit us this afternoon and having heard how popular muffin making was with some other small people the makings had been acquired.  The early stages of the process were all action, so no photographs were taken.

Here are the muffins in the oven, looking very like chocolate muffins.
 After a period of muffin cooling - I think SP and I went for a walk during that stage of the process - it was time to decorate the output.
 Of course a small amount of testing was needed.
Considerable experimentation was needed to get a good range of colours and employ Pollockian techniques in decorating the muffins.
Apart from being good fun they tasted nice at the end!

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

COG goes low on Mount Ainslie

18 Members and guests gathered at the end of Phillip Avenue in quite mild weather with nice clear skies
We walked up to the major powerlines and followed them for a while before dropping down through the woodland.
Shortly after starting an alert member of the group spotted a Brush-tailed Possum's patootie in a hollow.
 I was incited by the group to go and do an impression of a climbing goanna. Which got a reaction from the possum.
The answer to Lindell's question is "No, I scratched!"   By the time I had ceased scratching and got my camera out the marsupial was again stacking zeds.

We were hoping to meet a mixed feeding flock. Unfortunately the closest we got to a mixed flock was when we tried a small side trip towards the summit of Mt Ainslie.  Approximately 6 Weebills were feeding, in traditional helicopter flight mode, low down in a eucalypt while we were surprised to see 4 Superb Fairywrens on top of the canopy.  A Scarlet Robin was also at the base of this tree and some Striated Pardalotes were nearby.  It was hypothesised that the large number of Noisy Miners were one cause of the low diversity of smaller bush birds seen. The current drought would be another factor.

Along the powerlines were good numbers of terrestrial marsupials including one Swampie ...
... and several Eastern Grey Kanagaroos.
 Also the first of several bunnies.
There were many parrots and relatives seen.  The first sighted was a female Australian King Parrot  trying, with some success to hide within a clump of mistletoe.
There was small discussion as to whether a flight of 6 Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoos contained or were additional to the group of 4 seen earlier.  Conservatism ruled.  The most interesting observations were of the other  parrot/cockatoo species interacting with nest hollows.  Galahs and a Hybrid Crimson x Eastern Rosella ...
seemed to be investigating real estate.. Here is a wider shot showing the hybrid and its possible partner.  (Thanks to Matthew Larkin for these photos.)
I recall Dick Schodde mentioning in a COG tour of the wildlife collection that he had recorded the hybrids breeding - which went against conventional wisdom that the hybrid would be sterile.

Sulphur-crested Cockatoos were deep within a nest hollow (below this sentry bird) ..
.. and this author is still embarrassed at trampling another member of the group after trying to take a photo into the hollow and scoring  a face-full of cockie.

A Crimson Rosella was also deep within the nest hollow being inspected by this one.
Both these last two cases were rated as occupying a nest rather than visiting possible nest site.

Other breeding activity was a Weebill carrying nesting material and an Australian Magpie was seen building a nest within a clump of Ameyema sp (aka mistletoe).

In total we recorded 24 species (plus the hybrid): this is about the lowest diversity ever recorded on a Wednesday Walk.

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Preliminary weather July 2018

This first chart shows how the mean daily temperature has increased over July since 2014.
As there are only 4 observations per value it is going to be a bit rubbery where there is a warm (or very cold) day, but the value of r2 is pretty strong.

Monday, 16 July 2018

The Big Chill

This is of course a relative statement. 

Really chilly is exemplified by Churchill Manitoba which on my visit in October 1991 got down to about -30oC wind chill with blowing snow.  I commented on this to the doorman at the pub we were staying at and he responded that in January the windchill is often -100oC.  On Scott's expedition to the Antarctic some temperatures of -70oF (~-57oC) were recorded - and I think that was without adjusting for wind.

That being said -5.9oC actual temperature at 0719 on 16 July was cool enough for us to defer the dog walk for a while.  Indeed at 0800 it was still -4oC so we had another cup of coffee.

The timing of the minimum was quite normal occurring just before the sun pops over the ridge to the East of us. For this month the time of the daily minima at our house is illustrated below.
The very late minimum on the 6th follows a very warm overnight between the 5th and the 6th.  In a significant majority of cases the minimum occurs between 0600 and 0800 mostly between 0700 and 0800.

After posting a comment on Facebook a few of the other folk around the area have reported their observations.  They are shown (positions approximate) on the attached snip from Google Earth.
Our place is at 780m AMSL.  The Flat is about 850m AMSL and in a valley so cold air will tend to pool there giving very cold temperatures.  The second  coldest reading is a property on the 'lip' of the Hoskinstown Plain: again frost hollow where cold air pools.

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

A view of the Thai Cave rescue

I have copied this from the ABC Website.  I reckon its charming and clever rather than cute!  I have tried to get the original from the Thai Navy Seal page but it doesn't travel well 

A charming representation of the rescue

Here's something that's a bit cute: Thai Navy SEAL has posted this image on its Facebook pagerepresenting the rescue operation.
Each animal is representative of those involved in the operation. They are as follows:
  • Wild Boars: The children and coach
  • White Elephant: Governor Narongsak 
  • White horse: "All heroes … involved in the mission. You are the knight in shining armour riding the white horse to help us!"
  • Seal: "Of course … Thai NavySEAL Hooyah!"
  • Frog: The divers 
  • Naga (Dragon): water pumping and drilling teams
The rescuers from around the world are represented by:
  • Lion: England
  • Kangaroo: Australia
  • Panda: China 
  • Crane: Japan
  • Moose: Sweden
  • Tiger: Myanmar
  • Brown Elephant: Loas
  • Dog: K9 unit
  • Martin: birds nest collecting climbers from Libong Thailand ( Note by MB: these guys were exploring the mountain looking for other ways into the cave)
  • Eagle: United States
And others:
  • Iron man: Elon Musk
  • Birds: the media 
  • Crow: "just some bad comments/people/obstacle. No-need to pay much attention."

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Seasonal Weather Report: Autumn 2018

For reasons explained in this post I think it is more helpful, for my interests, to depart from the standard astronomical definition of seasons.  Under my theory Autumn comprises the four months of March -June, so we have just finished the 2018 edition of that season, and this is a review of the total period.

Hopefully what I have to say will be able to be explained in terms of comments I made about the component months!

The story is very consistent across the season with the only exception being the relatively extremely high maximum temperatures in April.  Otherwise it it close to average maxima, above average minima and dry - both as regards rainfall and relative humidity.


All months refer to low levels of rainfall, and part of my commentary for June explains this has been a feature to at least 18 months, and possibly as much as 7 years.  NSW Local Land Services describe it as "a dry stretch" which is probably understatement!

For this Autumn we have recorded 80.2mm of rain to be contrasted with an average Autumnal fall (or possibly a Fall fall, if we feel like sucking up to the Land of The Donald) of 193.4mm.  The only drier Autumn, since our records began in 1985 was 2004 with 34.3mm.  2011 was also pretty arid with 85.8mm.  Here is a graph.
 This shows a frequency distribution with 'round' class boundaries.  Its probably good that the average falls in the largest group/


In compiling this post I gave some serious thought to the data for minimum temperatures and how they compared with the BoM data for Canberra (using Canberra Airport for values since 2010, and Canberra Airport Comparison site for previous years).  The conclusion I reached was that the strong trend upwards in the Carwoola data was not sustainable.  I have previously become doubtful about some of the Summer maximum temperatures recorded in the mid noughties. 

As a consequence I have decided that all my analysis from henceforth will be restricted to the years since 2010.  I shall retain a copy of the old data in case it becomes useful

Maximum temperatures

The average daily maximum temperature for the season was 18.8oC, well above the average value. since 2010, of 18.0oC.  It is also towards the upper end of the range from 16.8oC (in 2011) to 19.2oC (2013).

The long range chart shows a rather variable set of maximums with no significant trend.

Minimum Temperatures

In each month - for most of the last two years I have commented on the most obvious feature of the weather being the relatively high minimum temperatures.  However as a result of the investigations referred to in the preamble to the Temperature section I have concluded that the values for the earlier years are not comparable with those for later years.  Thus I resile from those comments.

I won't use your bandwidth by showing the dodgy data but do offer this chart comparing the Carwoola and BoM Airport data to support my belief that the data since 2010 is of good quality.

While not the highest seasonal minimum (5.88oC, in 2016) this year's  5.77 is the second highest.  There is no significant trend in either series.


I only have 5 years of humidity data so it's difficult to make any large calls.  Basically every month was below average humidity at 1500Hrs so it is not surprising that the season in total was also below average.

I have just started to look at rH for 0900 hrs and have plotted below the seasonal averages for both times.
I was astonished at the similarity of shape of the 2 charts.  Not surprisingly the correlation coefficient between the two series was 0.995!