A mother whose son died in a horrific traffic accident nearly four years ago says roadside memorials are an important place for families to mourn and remember their loved ones.
Maria Thomson’s son Joe died when he was struck by cars at a Wagga underpass in 2011.
His distraught family and friends spray painted messages of love on the underpasses wall –an expression of grief that they initially had to fight for.
Ms Thomson said a VicRoads push for tributes in the southern state to be removed after 13 months was disrespectful.
She said her family continue to visit the underpass every year, writing new messages to their son and brother.
“It’s just a way of expressing ourselves and reminding ourselves of Joe,” Ms Thomson said.
VicRoads have released proposed changes to roadside tribute restrictions for the first time in 15 years.
If the new restrictions are imposed in Victoria, crosses will have to be neutral in colour, made of non-reflective material, while cellophane will be banned from flowers.
Ms Thomson agreed with most of these changes saying reflective materials should be banned but that tributes should be allowed to stay up for an unlimited time period.
“I think they serve of a reminder of what can happen,” Ms Thomson said.
“When I see tributes, they don’t upset me but they make me think ‘maybe this is a bad stretch of road, maybe I should slow down’.”
Ms Thomson said the Roads and Maritime Service (RMS) had been very understanding when a friend was concerned tributes to her late parents would be lost in a road re-development.
“She saw them taking the tributes down and they said they would mark where they were and put them back up, which they did,” Ms Thomson said.
NRMA Western NSW manager Fiona Simson said while it was important to ensure that roadside tributes were safe there had been no data or statistics that suggested they caused accidents.
“In fact in some cases people have said that they serve a timely reminded of what could happen,” Ms Simson said.
She said extensive research and consultation from the RMS with other groups should be undertaken prior to any changes being made.
“We see the way people behave on the road and the conditions of the road as the biggest contributors to accidents,” she said.
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