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Simpson Desert Sand Flags

Discussion in 'General 4x4 Discussion' started by LowLux, Oct 11, 2013.

  1. LowLux

    LowLux Moderator

    An email I received recently. I have deleted names and contacts etc at this stage but food for thought.

    Have a read because it is inevitable that it will happen and BTW! I THINK ITS A GREAT THING TO DO.


    Subject: Proposed safety flags mandatory in the Simpson Desert

    Afternoon all,

    I apologise for the lack of communications regarding this topic however September has seen me out and about more often than not, and I am now getting back to where I need to be work wise.

    I have looked at all of the feedback and there is a unanimous voice for making safety flags mandatory in the Simpson Desert. However, there is a bit of variance on pole heights or height from ground. We have had a look at heights here in the office and 4 metres above ground is massive and the poles would flex a fair bit while travelling. Some people would buy these at Birdsville or Mt Dare before entering the Simpson when they leave things like buying a Desert Parks Pass at the last minute. Flag pole heights purchased from various sources including Mt Dare and Birdsville range from 2.1 to 3 metres, and the size of the flags are usually about 300mm wide by 290mm high.

    What we propose for your contiual feedback is that we make safety flags mandatory with a starting point that -
    • Minimum 3.5 metres from the ground and attached on the bullbar (Peter Young provided some good comparisons with safety flags on different parts of the vehicle while cresting and even a flag pole above the driver would need to be a lot higher than 3.5m to be seen in time)
    • Flag can be hi-vis orange/red, green/yellow
    • Flags are to be a minimum 300mm wide by 290mm high
    • This includes vehicles and motorbikes as motorbikes are more difficult to see than vehicle when cresting

    I know red can blend into dunes to a degree but then the sand is not exactly red and not a uniform colour across the desert. The reddish colour is purchased readily from 4WD shops and other businesses.

    If we set this as a starting point, it can then be monitored and reviewed at a later date if required. The basic thing is to get all visitors to use a sand flag in the first instance or at least at a decent height if they already use one but have them too low.

    I think in the first year while people get use to this that if there is variations of colour or flags are a bit shorter than the requirement that we provide a caution, but if they have no flag then expiation so long as our signs are up at the right locations. We will need posters up at DPP Agents and businesses before the Simpson Desert to give the best chance of letting people know the potential new rule, as well as putting media releases out as well.

    Your thoughts? I would like some pretty quick feedback as I still need to discuss with Queensland Parks and Wildlife, and then get this into terms and conditions for next year, next years DPP and get signs made and installed to make this legal.

    Don Rowlands - who should I now be speaking with in QNPW&S? Can you please pass this on to them and then provide me with their contacts so I can discuss the matter further.

    Don Ransom - can you please pass on to Ken Paget as I have lost his email address when my computer went down.



  2. mac_man_luke

    mac_man_luke Well-Known Member

    Certainly not a bad idea.

    Only problem i see is if you dont have a bull bar then its really hard to mount one.

    Currently i have no way of mounting one but i always travel with a group and make sure someone in front of me has one. Although intend to fix this before the Simpson crossing next year.
  3. cookie64

    cookie64 4x4 Earth Contributer

    Totally agree, but it does need to go further in making radios mandatory, and using them.

    As mentioned before I have heard that the Queensland side are going to ban trailers - I understand Tourism operators are already banned from taking them.

    It makes absolute common sense, but then you have the minority that feel that they dont need to think safe, and we came across several on the last trip that had neither flags nor radios and saw a couple of people with trailers having issues (saw some without trailers having issues too)

  4. Les PK Ranger

    Les PK Ranger 4x4 Earth Contributer

    A pity there has to be legislation where it should be common sense . . . same thing should be done for Beachport - Robe too, but suppose if DEWNR were to consider this, they can only have that authority in Little Dip CP.

    Mine's 2.8m off the ground, but angles forward a bit too, so very quick to be seen over a crest.

    Radios . . . they can legislate for that I suppose, but it's an action rather than an object like a flag.
    It's extremely valid up there, but could be hard to monitor and control compared to flags.

    Marco, there're still 4 names in that email, which you may (or may not) have wanted to remove.
  5. BarKer

    BarKer Active Member

    Safety first, but I think when you start crunching the numbers you might find that the numbers of cars and bikes compared to the amount of accidents makes it an expensive exercise for little gain..

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  6. dochol

    dochol Banned

    Hi you have got my vote
  7. patrolgu4

    patrolgu4 Active Member

    While I'm not going to argue.....
    and I agree with that the use of sand flags is fully recommended, to make them mandatory is a step in wrong direction and bloody typical in this nanny country of ours.

    I'm absolutely sick and tired with of this mandatory hi-vis shyte! I'm bombarded with it everywhere I go be it for work or now it seems in private as well and it makes not one "iota" chit of the difference. I don't wanna have beaches and sand dunes turned in to mining,construction or transport sites. I have developed now absolute contempt for these hi-vis bull chit as it makes no fecking difference to anything except using them on the highway maintenance crew high speed scenarios perhaps or mining pits.
    I'm actually becoming hi-vis blind because I'm so exposed to it on daily basis I no longer can see it/notice it!

    I went through Simmo in Jun this year and have not for once registered/noted/paid attention to any sand flags mounted on vehicles but always noted the vehicles/people. The communication is far more essential than this hi-vis mandatory excuse for common sense. What fecking difference is 3.5 m flag pole with orange cloth gonna make at 35 m high sand dune when neither party is aware of each other racing to the top at 35 km/ totally oblivious to others. Especially in Simpson where every dune has red/orange tinge. Indeed putting pirate flag is gonna make it more visible!
    Forcing them on to bike riders is just plain idiotic IMHO.

    What is next? Hi-vis clothing for the drivers and every passenger, hi-vis marking on every vehicle, flashing/rotating lights, mandatory GPS tracking, mandatory in vehicle cameras, mandatory collision avoidance systems, mandatory traffic controllers, mandatory check points..... , mandatory safety speed limits, safety marshals/observers, hard hats, safety glasses, steel cap boots, fire extinguishers, rollover protections, engine and fuel shut off valves/stranglers.........have I missed anything?

    How about installing traffic lights at the base of each sand dune morons?
    Might as well get strapped/tied to a sofa, drip fed and wrapped in the bubble wrap just in case I twist an ankle.....

    As you can see I'm allergic to word "mandatory". I can see this as just another revenue raising bull chit which has no effect on anything except giving a few pen pushers/office knobs a justification for their daily jobs of annoying the rest of the population with common sense.

    Obviously, Queensland based safety flags manufacturer is struggling to move stock so why not giving it a leg up and make it mandatory on all vehicles crossing a sand dune or two.

    End of rant!

    Last edited: Oct 11, 2013
  8. LowLux

    LowLux Moderator

    Thanks Lez, I did see the names before I posted but the names weren't directly linked to a business, gov body or group so I'm happy with that.

    Cheers for lrtting me know though because I thought I missed something.

    You guys might want to think about this for the Easter trip and make sure everyone going knows, just incase.

  9. Les PK Ranger

    Les PK Ranger 4x4 Earth Contributer

    Saved me once from a head on down in the dunes of Beachport / Robe.
    Otherwise the unflagged Jeep would have got me on a crest.
    They saw my flag, and as I came over, they'd stopped and proceeding to reverse back down the dune to allow me through.
  10. Les PK Ranger

    Les PK Ranger 4x4 Earth Contributer

    No worries . . .

    Yep, I'll run what I have in the Simmo for sure (might renew the flag, getting a bit tatty now).
  11. patrolgu4

    patrolgu4 Active Member

    What saved me on quite a few occasions was not the sand flag but the communication. I had a few close calls with vehicles where sand flag was used in all occasions at Robe/Beachport so now I call on UHF everytime I'm heading up the dune.
    At Simmo we came across French tourists in rental 4WDs ( no flags no biggie we saw them ahead) but no radios so we had to wait for them instead as we couldn't talk to them.

    Sand flags could lure people to false sense of security which can be just as deadly.

    Radios, I agree fully.

  12. Les PK Ranger

    Les PK Ranger 4x4 Earth Contributer

    Gotta say having and using both is a much better idea . . .

    When in the dunes and rounding dune crests etc, and especially the high vegetation of SE Coast, you see vehicles with flags approaching through those areas very well.
    You are a lot harder pressed to see those without flags.

    When fitted correctly up front of the vehicle, at least 2.5m high say, it would take a full speed dune run from both sides of the dune with the timing so two vehicles are meeting at the crest, for flags not to help avoid a collision.

    In my case, I would have almost crested and they saw my flag, while they were still half way up the dune on the other side.
    If they'd been 4 or 5 seconds earlier, I don't think we would have missed each other.
    If they hadn't seen my flag, I'm SURE we would have had a collision.

    When in groups there is usually plenty of radio chatter, which is picked up when in range of others (usually monitor and use 10 in parks, and scan others in the 80 band on the handheld) and once you're aware of others presence and can give them a shout etc.

    There's no hard / fast certainty that flags or radios will help in every scenario . . . quite a few have commented in the past that their calls are ignored by other drivers (!), just have to be sure you do all you can to be seen / heard.
  13. cookie64

    cookie64 4x4 Earth Contributer

    I have the flag as a hi visibility so others know that we are in the area but always put a call out every now & then on the right channel on top of a dune looking & listening for other traffic and sit on top and watch for other traffic, we also have a handheld for those not on the right channel for the area.

    I guess we are just very cautious but out there an accident can be life or death and recovery very expensive.

    If we are in an area that is a little difficult I put up the flag as well just to be safer.

    I do agree that some may think that it WILL save them, but vigilance, driving to the conditions and caution is the only way to keep safe.

    It is a sad indictment on us that they have to legislate for the invincibles that go out there.

  14. nao

    nao New Member

    i have no problem with compulsory flags..

    question though.. if your coming up to a dune and on the radio..what do u say that lets other drivers know your coming up the same dune as my experience in remote travel suggests my cb range goes a long way beyond the dune im heading up..
  15. cookie64

    cookie64 4x4 Earth Contributer

    I put out a call when I am at the top of the dune looking out for other traffic, I then call out White Cruiser with party of x on French line heading west out of Poepple Corner, if they are close by it should be reasonably obvious as the strength and clarity would be rather good but most importantly it lets everyone know that there is another vehicle(s) so that all can proceed with caution.

  16. Bushwanderer

    Bushwanderer New Member

    Hi All,
    I have a sand flag and so you won't be surprised that I have no problem with them being made compulsory for the Simpson. In fact, I encourage it.

    The unit I have is the 3.2m telescopic fibreglas unit supplied by 4x4Equip. As it mounts to the bullbar, it would meet the 3.5m overall height requirement.

    I haven't checked the flag size yet, but it is the "red" unit with the reflective "X".

    Best Wishes,
  17. Les PK Ranger

    Les PK Ranger 4x4 Earth Contributer

    Just thought I'd resurrect this thread rather than another new one . . .

    So they're findable from here, there're also 2 other fairly good sand flag threads on the forum . . .

    It's been mentioned numerous times before about where you should place a flag for best results.
    High on the front, near to centre as possible.

    I saw a pic on a forum earlier today, and thought I'd use it as an example of why.
    It shows the flag on a roof basket, about centre of vehicle.
    Although quite high, on dunes the line of sight in my modded diagram shows the difference.

    If just one of these vehicles in the top scenario had the flag as in the second diagram below, the other would see it, but in time to avoid a collision ?
    If both have it high and central, I feel a collision is avoidable because both should see it in time and both would brake sooner before cresting.

    And note in my mock up, the drivers view would still be obscured some more by the bonnet of the vehicle.

    Attached Files:

  18. rogerazz

    rogerazz 4x4 Earth Contributer

    My Winch bar has a spare holder on right hand front of winch bar.. My uhf airel is mounted on left hand front of winch bar. Should it be ok to mount flag on right hand side(driver's side of winch bar) as I reckon vehicle coming the other way should assume that the flag is on outside not near side?
    Is that a good idea to make it a compulsory mounting area?
  19. Les PK Ranger

    Les PK Ranger 4x4 Earth Contributer

    Really, I feel anywhere at the front in ok Roger . . . near side (left in Aus) or offside, no matter because dune tracks are pretty much one lane in most places we go . . .

    In that example, I just mocked up the squarer flag up top of the UHF aerial, because it was high and usable for such a flag, rather than the small triangle one on the roof.

    I suppose central is something I've seen recommended in case going up at an angle, maybe viewed sooner in a case where the angles keep a flag on the low corner.
    Or, to avoid low branches / scrub to either side, but really, it's pretty easy to avoid these with careful wheel placement.
    This is more of an issue on tracks on some parts of the Limestone Coast, Border Track, Wyperfeld, etc.

    Mainly just wanted to display the reasons for up front in that example, have also seen people mount flags at the rear of a vehicle on a wheel carrier for example, where it is fine if reversing up dunes !! :D
  20. 80lover96gxl

    80lover96gxl Moderator

    The problem is not everyone will use s sand flag.

    Sent from my GT-I9505 using Tapatalk

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