New Track Classification System

Submitted: Friday, Apr 21, 2006 at 18:55
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Saw this on a forum post and thought you guys may be interested in: -

The Department of sustainability and Parks Victoria in conjunction with the Victorian Four Wheel Drive Association have now signed off on the Victorian FWD Tracks and Trails. Tracks will now be identified by the international code of green, blue and black. A green circle will indicate easiest, a blue square will indicate medium, a black diamond will indicate difficult and a double black diamond will indicate very difficult. This code will now be adopted in relation to all tracks and trails within Victoria and will become first apparent in the reveiws being undertaken at Bunyip and Wombat in the not to distant future and then to be rolled out into the hight country of Victoria.

It is hoped that the track classification will start to appear on maps throught the state in the not to distant future and provide improved information to all.

Enjoy!!

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Reply By: Member - Paul P (Bris) - Friday, Apr 21, 2006 at 19:29

Friday, Apr 21, 2006 at 19:29
Good to see.

Being an optomist I am sure that ALL states will rapidly move to adopt the Victorian initiative as a National standard........

Paul
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Reply By: Lone Wolf - Friday, Apr 21, 2006 at 20:28

Friday, Apr 21, 2006 at 20:28
Well, this means one thing...

My Mitsubishi has got three red diamonds, so that beats two black diamonds, and certainly a blue square and a green circle.

My way of looking at it, is that I have three of a kind, and if I drive on the really really tough track, I have a full house.

You can't but help wonder, who dreamed of the whole coloured square - circle - diamond thing... Sort of like play school, which window will we look through today boys and girls?

What ever happened to ... easy - medium - hard?

Oh, I forgot.... we have to write those down in 56 different languages, so we don't get sued, whereby the shapes ( pictograms ) are universal.

Beats the crap out of me.

Wolfie

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Follow Up By: Sand Man (SA) - Friday, Apr 21, 2006 at 21:03

Friday, Apr 21, 2006 at 21:03
Who dreamt the whole coloured square - circle - diamond thing up?

Probably the politicians, or public servants, from the Department of Sustainability and "Wankability" of course.

How they derive some of these names beats me mate?
Bill


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Follow Up By: Mad Dog (Australia) - Friday, Apr 21, 2006 at 21:42

Friday, Apr 21, 2006 at 21:42
Yeah and what are they going to do when easy tracks change and become hard, reprint the maps and issue a recall. I take tracks how I find them...too hard then turn around try another.
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Follow Up By: Truckster (Vic) - Friday, Apr 21, 2006 at 23:13

Friday, Apr 21, 2006 at 23:13
FFS, you blokes are all missing the point - it means more firewood!

They will put up wooden signs with wooden circles etc and the tossers out there that thing that the track is easy for them, when it would be hard for some pox 4b, will rip them out and start the campfire with them!

Try looking beyond the square..
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Follow Up By: Mad Dog (Australia) - Friday, Apr 21, 2006 at 23:44

Friday, Apr 21, 2006 at 23:44
Last thing I want to see is a bluddy sign in da bush, they'll probably get maccas to sponser them with an advert, more firewood sounds good.....lol
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Follow Up By: Bonz (Vic) - Saturday, Apr 22, 2006 at 10:43

Saturday, Apr 22, 2006 at 10:43
Thats easy Mad Dog , when the tracks get harder they put up signs saying "NO TOYOTA"s ON THIS TRACK - NISSAN's ONLY"
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Follow Up By: Mad Dog (Australia) - Saturday, Apr 22, 2006 at 10:55

Saturday, Apr 22, 2006 at 10:55
Geoff, you're out of bed now so you can stop dreaming.


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Follow Up By: madCrow - Sunday, Apr 23, 2006 at 00:49

Sunday, Apr 23, 2006 at 00:49
Hi guys
"Tracks will now be identified by the international code of green, blue and black. A green circle will indicate easiest, a blue square will indicate medium, a black diamond will indicate difficult and a double black diamond will indicate very difficult."

"Who dreamt the whole coloured square - circle - diamond thing up?"

Simple, it's a carry over by parks vic from the international coding used at Australian & international Ski (snow) resorts.
The visual signage means you don't need to be able to read the language to know the difficulty of the terrain ahead.
"trés simple"

madCrow :) Enjoy today, for you never know what tomorrow brings!

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Follow Up By: Lone Wolf - Sunday, Apr 23, 2006 at 04:16

Sunday, Apr 23, 2006 at 04:16
As I thought...

When you get a drivers license here in Australia, you HAVE to be able to read English.

I have never been up to the ski slopes, so I do not, or never have come across that language before.

Perhaps I'm getting old, and cranky, and set in my ways.

Give us say... 3 generations, and our great grand-kids will be able to read the hieroglyphs on the Egyptian Pyramids, but won't be able to read Tom Sayer....

... circles... diamonds... squares... sheesh!

Wolfie
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Follow Up By: Lone Wolf - Sunday, Apr 23, 2006 at 04:18

Sunday, Apr 23, 2006 at 04:18
Oh my god!!

It's started!!!

It SHOULD read....

Tom Sawyer.

See, the diamonds have got to me...

Wolfie
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Follow Up By: robak (QLD) - Monday, Apr 24, 2006 at 10:39

Monday, Apr 24, 2006 at 10:39
You blokes really should get out more and relieve all that stress.

I'm guessing that shapes and colours are more easliy recognised rather then words and therefore you don't have to slow down to read them. eg traffic lights.

The shapes of the signs would be for those of us who are colour blind.
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Follow Up By: Mad Dog (Australia) - Monday, Apr 24, 2006 at 13:13

Monday, Apr 24, 2006 at 13:13
>It SHOULD read....

>Tom Sawyer

That's exactly how I read it, the mistake didn't register until you pointed it out. Funy how the brain works.
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Follow Up By: Bonz (Vic) - Monday, Apr 24, 2006 at 17:29

Monday, Apr 24, 2006 at 17:29
I thought he meant Leo's brother, who CAN DANCE.
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Reply By: Crackles - Sunday, Apr 23, 2006 at 16:48

Sunday, Apr 23, 2006 at 16:48
Although great in theory the track classification system fails to take into account one key element...........Rain! As an example the track into Mitchell's Station in Victoria is of an easy standard, why I've even seen several 2 wheel drive cars in there but given 20mm of rain the red clay is as slippery as Christopher Skase needing mud tyres & lockers to get out. Same with river crossings. The 23 on the Crooked river are dead easy (most of the time) but given 50mm of rain the water can be spashing onto the windscreen. Over time tracks deteriorate & so the grading would become more difficult or on the other side the track becomes easier following a run over by the bulldozer. How could this detail ever be updated on the trails let alone on the maps?
Although the international code used for skiing is a great idea it doesn't quite transfer over for use on 4x4 tracks with far too many variables coming into play.
The upside is if it stops novices going down difficult tracks & thereby avoiding an accident well it's done it's job, I just don't want to hear of cars heading down into Caledonia in the rain because the sign says its easy.....
Cheers Craig.........
Vic

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Follow Up By: Member - John (Vic) - Monday, Apr 24, 2006 at 11:03

Monday, Apr 24, 2006 at 11:03
From the Victorian 4wd Association we site.

"This system is being planned to enable drivers to evaluate the difficulty of a track before driving it."

This would obviously mean that the level of difficulty would change given changes in the weather etc.
IE If a track was rated as Double Black in the dry then it would be rated off the scale if it was wet.

It is mainly designed for guidance for non 4wd club members as club member normally get track updates from their respective clubs.
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Follow Up By: Truckster (Vic) - Monday, Apr 24, 2006 at 13:03

Monday, Apr 24, 2006 at 13:03
I honestly think it will be a failure - due to what Cackles says.

Some tracks in the wet are not much different. Some tracks when you sneeze on them change dramatically.

I can also see it being an insurance nightmare - What were you doing on that 'easy' track in the wet which would have made it impossible for you to pass. etc
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Follow Up By: Member - John (Vic) - Monday, Apr 24, 2006 at 13:15

Monday, Apr 24, 2006 at 13:15
Well maybe??? From a possible insurance perspective its no different to any other warning sign, such as "Road Slippery When wet" or "Tight Turn" they are all Warning signs and if people don't heed the warning offered and use their commonsense and drive to the prevailing conditions then, well... theres not much more you can do I guess?

I did have the actual description for each classification and now I can't find it, From memory the lowest applied to basically a dirt road the double black was a recommendation for experienced drivers with suitably equipped vehicles such as lockers and lift etc.
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Follow Up By: Truckster (Vic) - Monday, Apr 24, 2006 at 13:27

Monday, Apr 24, 2006 at 13:27
>>> and use their commonsense
Exactly. How often do you see a dude with family out in the bush "do you have a map mate, Im lost" or out with no other cars, and stuck, or out in the bush with no radio etc etc.. People have none now.

>> was a recommendation for experienced drivers with suitably equipped vehicles such as lockers and lift etc.

Sadly people will take "experienced" at different levels too.
"Ive been driving on the road for 20 yrs, you cant teach me anything"

Suitably equipped trucks - does that include dudes from Toorak, Brighton that just drop off their truck to ABR get every possible mod done, and that have no idea what most of the mods are..

They have the mods, and "experienced' to them "Ive been driving on the road for 20 yrs, you cant teach me anything" and off they go. It happens now, so it will happen in future.

Don't get me wrong, I think its a great idea that they are doing SOMETHING - they have to do something. But I just dont think this is it. I have no answers, but its a start I suppose.
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Follow Up By: Mad Dog (Australia) - Monday, Apr 24, 2006 at 13:28

Monday, Apr 24, 2006 at 13:28
It will have to be a huge effort to make it work in an effective manner long term. Consistency of grading could also lead to confusion, one mans medium is another mans difficult because of vehicle capability and driver experience. If a track becomes very difficult that one needs to be double locked with 35's then mark it, leave the others alone.
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Follow Up By: Member - John (Vic) - Monday, Apr 24, 2006 at 14:30

Monday, Apr 24, 2006 at 14:30
I have a feeling that part of the reasoning behind this is to provide a better stock take of track conditions for fire access purposes, meaning that those track's that rate at the difficult end of the scale may come under closer scrutiny for grading and upgrade or even eventual closure.

But when it comes to getting your 5 plus tonne fire truck up a track to gain access to the fire it will possibly allow for better pre access planning and escape for fire crews during an actual fire???

After all it has to be remembered that all tracks are not in place for us, but for fire access purposes, we just reap a side benefit.
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Follow Up By: Truckster (Vic) - Monday, Apr 24, 2006 at 15:03

Monday, Apr 24, 2006 at 15:03
They are actually 9-10ton ;) 3300ltrs of water to start with (thats what we had)
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Follow Up By: Crackles - Monday, Apr 24, 2006 at 21:13

Monday, Apr 24, 2006 at 21:13
The other big down side to the classification markers is that following a couple of people being killed on a black diamond track, Parks & DSE will have a fully itemised list of all the tracks they will need to close due to "Safety concerns"............or is it that I just have trust issues? :-)
Cheers Craig
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Follow Up By: Mike Harding - Monday, Apr 24, 2006 at 21:20

Monday, Apr 24, 2006 at 21:20
And I thought I was the major cynic on this forum :) Good call Crackles.

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Reply By: Mike Harding - Monday, Apr 24, 2006 at 13:38

Monday, Apr 24, 2006 at 13:38
I really cannot see this working; for all the reasons given above.

Additionally it may encourage inexperienced people to attempt tracks which they would otherwise not. The psychological factor should not be underrated - newbies may be far more reluctant to give up on a track which has been rated "Easy" or "Medium" than if the track had no rating at all. Also the testosterone factor may encourage some to try and impress their girlfriends by attempting the double black tracks totally inappropriately. So instead of preventing problem situations it may encourage more.

btw are these ratings for a lifted Land Cruiser with lockers or a RAV 4 with sagging suspension and poor brakes?

Mike Harding
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Follow Up By: Truckster (Vic) - Monday, Apr 24, 2006 at 14:07

Monday, Apr 24, 2006 at 14:07
All correct dude.

I also agree with the dudes on Bald AT's in saggy suspension stock 40 series that wont ever give up with their mates watching will be an issue - but it already is.
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Follow Up By: Bonz (Vic) - Monday, Apr 24, 2006 at 17:33

Monday, Apr 24, 2006 at 17:33
My experience on rated tracks in books etc is that the rating is always over the top, I have been along tracks rated black (under the new suggestion) and found them to be piece of wee so it may do the opposite and get the newbies onto tracks they CAN learn on
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Follow Up By: Mad Dog (Australia) - Monday, Apr 24, 2006 at 18:32

Monday, Apr 24, 2006 at 18:32
me too Bonz, been along tracks rated medium and never get into 4x4 or any ruts. I think they're scared of comeback from someone getting in too deep.
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Follow Up By: Mike Harding - Monday, Apr 24, 2006 at 19:26

Monday, Apr 24, 2006 at 19:26
Even if that is the case (and I agree with you both) I don't think it will help.

Mr Newbie comes along and does a medium track - "No problem Bruce - piece of cake" and the next weekend decides to tackle the hard stuff on the double blacks.

I dunno - maybe it'll all be OK although I cannot help but think that: track conditions: vehicle capability: driver capability: weather: whether there is a female in the passenger seat: etc will turn it all into something which tempts people into those areas they would not, otherwise, have ventured into?

I guess, really, I'm saying I think High Country tracks are too hard and variable to classify into a "one size fits all".

Mike Harding
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Follow Up By: Member - John (Vic) - Tuesday, Apr 25, 2006 at 00:09

Tuesday, Apr 25, 2006 at 00:09
If they do undertake a track that is beyond their capabilities then they can't say they weren't warned.
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