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10-year-old child cyclist seriously injured in crash with electric bicycle

By Emily Morris - 12 May 2017 33

Police wrap

A 10-year-old child has been seriously injured in a collision involving an electric bicycle in Fadden yesterday.

At approximately 8.45 am on Thursday (11 May 2017) an electric bicycle ridden by a 46-year-old male collided with a 10-year-old child cyclist on a shared use path adjacent to a primary school.

The child cyclist was taken to hospital in a serious condition before later being transferred to a Sydney hospital.

ACT Policing’s Collision Investigation and Reconstruction Team are continuing investigations.

Police ask that anyone who may have witnessed this incident, or have information that may assist police, to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or via the Crime Stoppers website. Information can be provided anonymously.

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33 Responses to
10-year-old child cyclist seriously injured in crash with electric bicycle
1
Acton 11:33 pm
12 May 17
#

Unfortunately, given the lobbying of Pedal Power for cyclists to travel on shared paths without restriction and the lack of leadership from the Minister responsible for road safety, an accident such as this was bound to happen.

My message of 16 March to Pedal Power on this forum:

“Anne: Would you like to give an opinion on the consequences to a pedestrian (adult or child) if and when a cyclist travelling at 30km/h (or possibly 50 km/h) collides with the pedestrian?

Would you say that a high speed collision between a cyclist and a pedestrian on a shared path, resulting in serious injury or death to the pedestrian, is likely, possible or impossible?

In the interests of public safety, the ACT Minister for Transport should implement a ban on high-speed cyclists from using the shared path around Lake Burley Griffin particularly, as well as the other high usage shared paths. These paths are suitable for a leisurely scenic family cycle around the lake, but not for aspiring Olympians doing 30+ km/h. The safety of pedestrians must take precedence over the convenience and aspirations of hoon cyclists.”

I recall concerns being raised by other contributors particularly about electric bikes on shared paths.

2
bigred 8:05 am
13 May 17
#

There are three broad types of electric bicycle that one can get their hands on. It would have been helpful if the reporting clearly stated which type was involved, and if it was a fully compliant machine. There are a few electric bicycles around town that really move along and I wonder how they can be either compliant or safe.

3
dungfungus 8:26 am
13 May 17
#

Perhaps my critics will now recall numerous posts I have been making regarding someone tearing around Fadden at ridiculously high speed on an electric bike?

Ban these things before serious injuries convert to fatalities.

4
Postalgeek 8:41 am
13 May 17
#

Acton said :

In the interests of public safety, the ACT Minister for Transport should implement a ban on high-speed cyclists from using the shared path around Lake Burley Griffin particularly, as well as the other high usage shared paths. These paths are suitable for a leisurely scenic family cycle around the lake, but not for aspiring Olympians doing 30+ km/h. The safety of pedestrians must take precedence over the convenience and aspirations of hoon cyclists.”

I recall concerns being raised by other contributors particularly about electric bikes on shared paths.

What speed was the bike travelling at in this incident? You seem to know so could you share it with the rest of us.

5
crackerpants 8:52 am
13 May 17
#

Dungfungus – is this the lunatic that tears around your neighbourhood?

Such an awful thing to happen – I hope the child makes a full recovery.

6
wildturkeycanoe 10:44 am
13 May 17
#

My God, this is horrible news and I hope the kid gets better soon.
This accident highlights one good reason for having compulsory insurance for cyclists. The family is now going to have to pay for the medical expense, travel, accommodation and who knows what else. Without ambulance cover, the trip to Sydney will be financially crippling in itself.
Why did this happen? Because obviously one cyclist wasn’t taking enough care around others who are less experienced. Whether or not speed was a factor, an ebike capable of travelling as fast or faster than a car in a school zone will now be the focus of investigation and regulatio. Just because it is electric, it is no less dangerous than petrol powered vehicles. Electric cars are registered just the same as their fuel powered couterparts, so why are two wheeled versions any different? Speed should not be a consideration, when we see tractors and diggers requiring rego even though they can’t even go over 40km/h.
All this aside, the 46 y.o. must be feeling pretty rotten at the moment, so my heartfelt sympathy for them also.

7
Acton 11:02 am
13 May 17
#

Postalgeek said :

Acton said :

In the interests of public safety, the ACT Minister for Transport should implement a ban on high-speed cyclists from using the shared path around Lake Burley Griffin particularly, as well as the other high usage shared paths. These paths are suitable for a leisurely scenic family cycle around the lake, but not for aspiring Olympians doing 30+ km/h. The safety of pedestrians must take precedence over the convenience and aspirations of hoon cyclists.”

I recall concerns being raised by other contributors particularly about electric bikes on shared paths.

What speed was the bike travelling at in this incident? You seem to know so could you share it with the rest of us.

Obviously the speed of the cyclist in this case is for the police to determine, not me. The point being missed, or deliberately avoided, is that high-speed cycling of 30+ km/h, which is quite possible and apparently (from previous discussion on this forum) currently allowable on shared paths is incompatible with pedestrian safety. However, for some in the cycling community the safety of pedestrians on shared paths is a secondary consideration to the ‘rights’ of cyclists to use the same paths at whatever speed they choose to ride at. Hence, the inevitability of a serious accident involving a high-speed cyclist colliding with a pedestrian. This should not be a difficult concept to comprehend.

8
Leon Arundell 11:09 am
13 May 17
#

Thanks to the ACT Government, children using Canberra’s footpaths will soon be subject to the risk of being hit by unpredictable Segways weighing 45 kg or more, that need longer stopping distances than bicycles, piloted without speed restrictions, by unlicensed people of any age.
Usain Bolt was hit by one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NSo8sfJnLgU . More examples of what can happen are at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpEcI1Ak4MI

9
crackerpants 2:12 pm
13 May 17
#

dungfungus said :

Perhaps my critics will now recall numerous posts I have been making regarding someone tearing around Fadden at ridiculously high speed on an electric bike?

Ban these things before serious injuries convert to fatalities.

Ah, snap.

Lets hope this incident prompts some positive change.

10
Nomer 3:12 pm
13 May 17
#

I would have expected electric bikes to have the samenspeed limit as a mobility scooter which is 10 km/hr?

11
dungfungus 8:51 pm
13 May 17
#

crackerpants said :

Dungfungus – is this the lunatic that tears around your neighbourhood?

Such an awful thing to happen – I hope the child makes a full recovery.

I don’t know if it is the same person, but the person I referred to was the only one around Fadden I have seen on an electric bike so it probably was.

12
wildturkeycanoe 9:01 am
14 May 17
#

Acton said :

The point being missed, or deliberately avoided, is that high-speed cycling of 30+ km/h, which is quite possible and apparently (from previous discussion on this forum) currently allowable on shared paths is incompatible with pedestrian safety.

Nomer said :

I would have expected electric bikes to have the samenspeed limit as a mobility scooter which is 10 km/hr?

I am surprised nobody has brought up some clarification on this, but it appears the limit for e-bikes is actually 25km/h under power assistance and a maximum wattage of 250 watts.
Of course the rules [European standards adopted by the Aus state governments] say that these limits are for road usage, but the definition of a road is blurred when it comes to shared paths and footpaths. Also, an electric motor is not allowed to be engaged to provide any power above 25km/h, so these 250watt motors must have pedal assist sensing technology, not throttle control, plus only provide motor drive alone up to 6km/h without any pedal input from the operator.
So in layman’s terms, it operates as a motorcycle up to 6km/h, then is assisted by the rider up to 25km/h, but beyond that you are pedaling on your own steam. I wonder how many cycles conform to this standard and how many have been inspected by some kind of authority on the matter?

The last point is interesting. Beyond 25km/h, what difference does it make whether or not you are pedaling or the motor is pushing you along? Your stopping distance isn’t going to be any different. Your inertia [mass x velocity] cannot be legally restricted by the weight of the apparatus or you will be discriminating against people who are a few stone heavier on the scales [the ones who benefit most from exercise].
As for speed limits, what is the point of putting a speed limit on a bicycle when there are no systems in place to monitor, measure or enforce the limits? Do you know how fast 25km/h is when you are riding if you don’t have a speedo or set up your phone with a speed app? The government would have to mandate speedometers on bicycles and then begin patrolling cycle and shared paths. They’d need to implement mobile speed camera equipment on little bike trailers, mandate some sort of identification system for offenders [registration again], licensing to ensure competence of riders and change the laws to introduce penalties for offenses. It opens up a whole other ball of string that will entwine the community in a pitiful mess that destroys the whole concept of fun and exercise.
So what is the solution?
Further to the legalities, there then emerges issues with insurance. What insurance can you get for these situations? There are policies that cover cyclists for personal injury to third parties for under $100. However, the PDS’s certainly contain clauses that will prevent a claim being successful, one of which is the legality of the bicycle. So if the vehicle is defective and not compliant to the European standards or Australian standards, this cover may be pointless. Say you don’t have the correct reflectors or your motor is over the allowable limit. What if you are accused of going over the speed limit on a shared path? There are so many things that can backfire with an insurance policy, but some protection is better than none.
At least we can see the debate has well and truly begun and perhaps more people will start to think about the consequences of their actions.

13
dungfungus 11:09 am
14 May 17
#

wildturkeycanoe said :

Acton said :

The point being missed, or deliberately avoided, is that high-speed cycling of 30+ km/h, which is quite possible and apparently (from previous discussion on this forum) currently allowable on shared paths is incompatible with pedestrian safety.

Nomer said :

I would have expected electric bikes to have the samenspeed limit as a mobility scooter which is 10 km/hr?

I am surprised nobody has brought up some clarification on this, but it appears the limit for e-bikes is actually 25km/h under power assistance and a maximum wattage of 250 watts.
Of course the rules [European standards adopted by the Aus state governments] say that these limits are for road usage, but the definition of a road is blurred when it comes to shared paths and footpaths. Also, an electric motor is not allowed to be engaged to provide any power above 25km/h, so these 250watt motors must have pedal assist sensing technology, not throttle control, plus only provide motor drive alone up to 6km/h without any pedal input from the operator.
So in layman’s terms, it operates as a motorcycle up to 6km/h, then is assisted by the rider up to 25km/h, but beyond that you are pedaling on your own steam. I wonder how many cycles conform to this standard and how many have been inspected by some kind of authority on the matter?

The last point is interesting. Beyond 25km/h, what difference does it make whether or not you are pedaling or the motor is pushing you along? Your stopping distance isn’t going to be any different. Your inertia [mass x velocity] cannot be legally restricted by the weight of the apparatus or you will be discriminating against people who are a few stone heavier on the scales [the ones who benefit most from exercise].
As for speed limits, what is the point of putting a speed limit on a bicycle when there are no systems in place to monitor, measure or enforce the limits? Do you know how fast 25km/h is when you are riding if you don’t have a speedo or set up your phone with a speed app? The government would have to mandate speedometers on bicycles and then begin patrolling cycle and shared paths. They’d need to implement mobile speed camera equipment on little bike trailers, mandate some sort of identification system for offenders [registration again], licensing to ensure competence of riders and change the laws to introduce penalties for offenses. It opens up a whole other ball of string that will entwine the community in a pitiful mess that destroys the whole concept of fun and exercise.
So what is the solution?
Further to the legalities, there then emerges issues with insurance. What insurance can you get for these situations? There are policies that cover cyclists for personal injury to third parties for under $100. However, the PDS’s certainly contain clauses that will prevent a claim being successful, one of which is the legality of the bicycle. So if the vehicle is defective and not compliant to the European standards or Australian standards, this cover may be pointless. Say you don’t have the correct reflectors or your motor is over the allowable limit. What if you are accused of going over the speed limit on a shared path? There are so many things that can backfire with an insurance policy, but some protection is better than none.
At least we can see the debate has well and truly begun and perhaps more people will start to think about the consequences of their actions.

Excellent points.

Our ACT government needs to “take the bike by the handlebars” and sort this mess out,
immediately.

ACT policing can’t be held accountable either because there are no guidelines etc. to go by.

For starters, all bicycles in the ACT need to registered (fee applicable) and inspected to ensure they are road/path-worthy. Any electric bikes that are not pedal assisted only need to be banned, full-stop.

All bike riders must have a licence and CTP insurance.

14
Acton 11:26 am
14 May 17
#

According to this article on the Pedal Power website, the legal speed limit for a bike on a footpath in Canberra is 50 km/h.

http://www.pedalpower.org.au/news/is-there-a-speed-limit-for-bikes-on-a-footpath/

An ABC report on the legal speedlimit on ACT footpaths seems to confirm, or does not dispute, 50km/h. Crazy.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/specials/curious-canberra/2016-05-09/is-there-a-speed-limit-for-bikes-on-footpaths/7391490

While electric bikes are not specifically mentioned, hitting a pedestrian with a bike (pedal or electric) is likely to cause injury and the higher the speed of the cyclist the greater the injury to the pedestrian.

However, the rule is that “The use of shared paths is restricted to non-motorised transport (with the exception of motorised wheelchairs and power assisted pedal cycles).” This is why trail bikes are not allowed on shared paths and neither should electric bikes.

So what is the solution to speeding cyclists on shared paths? Cycling and pedestrian advocacy groups agree that greater segregation of walking and cycling paths would improve safety for all. Here is another solution:

“Cyclists in the ACT are permitted to ride on footpaths. In NSW however, only cyclists under the age of 12 are permitted to ride on footpaths, as well as supervising cyclists of all ages.”

http://www.tccs.act.gov.au/roads-paths/cycling/cycling_information/road_rules

So to mitigate further cyclist-pedestrian accidents the ACT should follow the example of NSW: – only cyclists under the age of 12 are permitted to ride on footpaths.

Such a rule could be implemented faster and at less cost than duplicating or segregating all footpaths.

15
Postalgeek 3:51 pm
14 May 17
#

Acton said :

Obviously the speed of the cyclist in this case is for the police to determine, not me. The point being missed, or deliberately avoided, is that high-speed cycling of 30+ km/h, which is quite possible and apparently (from previous discussion on this forum) currently allowable on shared paths is incompatible with pedestrian safety. However, for some in the cycling community the safety of pedestrians on shared paths is a secondary consideration to the ‘rights’ of cyclists to use the same paths at whatever speed they choose to ride at. Hence, the inevitability of a serious accident involving a high-speed cyclist colliding with a pedestrian. This should not be a difficult concept to comprehend.

No, I didn’t miss your point.

I’m cynical about the sincerity of some posters here when it comes to pedestrian safety.

They are vocal about bikes on shared paths and the horror of a legal ebike (that provides assistance up to 25kmph). ‘Think of the pedestrians’ they say. At 25kmph these bikes, that weigh around 20kgs plus rider are travelling 15 kmph less than a two ton vehicle (plus driver) in a 40 km school zone. But when it comes to pedestrians being hit and killed by cars, well, we don’t blame cars, we blame drivers, or the pedestrian. Case in point:

https://the-riotact.com/another-pedestrian-injured-on-northbourne/184768/comment-page-2#comments

And we know why: because to restrict cars would be to impact on the critics personally and disrupt their convenience. I’m not anti-car. I’m not going to be a hypocrite and target one and not the other. Personally I want to see more bikes, and more ebikes, because basic physics indicates that they are safer for pedestrians than cars. Statistics, no matter how you angle them, will show that the overwhelming majority of pedestrians (and drivers) are killed or maimed by cars. I prefer my kid to share a path with a bicycle than have to cross a road in a school zone during pick-ups/drop-offs. If my kid is going to be hit by something, I choose a bicycle. You’re free to choose a car.

And that doesn’t dismiss the need for regulation of ebikes (I don’t even know if the ebike in this incident is legal. If not, it may as well be a trail bike, or car, or tank. None of them are allowed on shared paths). But if you are serious about pedestrian safety, then I think a lot of bicycle critics concerned about pedestrian safety don’t seem to be focussing on the Big Picture:

http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/national/pedestrians-are-being-killed-on-australias-roads-at-higher-rates-than-ever-before/news-story/a40cf3133f2a93a2a4281ccd1e726e63

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