3 March 2008

Cycle Paths

| zenpuck
Join the conversation

So cycling is good for tourism, health and the environment but the state of the capital’s bikepaths is less than a smooth ride. A ride from Dickson through Lyneham , the City and around the lake to Deakin involves dodging cracks that you can lose skinny tires in and bumps that ensure that the local dentists will be in business for some time yet. This is a common occurance throughout the Territory. The City of Sydney (http://www.sydneymedia.com.au/html/3231-new-bicycle-lanes-to-improve-safety.asp) like London and Paris is introducing dedicated lanes for cyclists seperated by bollards to keep both bike and drivers safe. Car drivers wouldn’t put up with the roads being in such a state. Please let your local politicians know that improvement is needed by resurfacing existing tracks and creating dedicated safe seperated lanes on main arterial roads. The more improvements like this, the more people will cycle and the more benefits for all.

Join the conversation

All Comments
  • All Comments
  • Website Comments

Granny, I don’t expect you to always get out of the way but I do expect you to let me past when its safe. Just the same as when I’m riding on the roads, I have a problem when drivers think common sense doesn’t apply when overtaking a cyclist; yes, its often safe to cross the double line to pass but NOT when you are approaching a crest or blind corner.
I also think its insane that we have the GIVE WAY TO PEDESTRIANS signs at traffic lights – any driver that needs to be told that should not have a licence.

FYI – I don’t have a dog, don’t walk on the right and would walk on a footpath if anyone had put one there. These are things I have honestly experienced and truthfully expressed.

You wouldn’t like it if you couldn’t get past because pedestrians were blocking your path. I don’t like it when I am obstructed by a cyclist.

20-30kmh is a lot less than 60-80kmh which is the likely speed you would travel behind another motor vehicle.

I have no problem with bell ringing per se. The point is that on a cycle path a cyclist has a right to expect that you will try and get out of the way, but when it happens on a road the driver just has to cop it.

I have a good mind to try walking down a busy road (on the left hand side of the lane but far enough over so that cars can’t safely pass me) just to test whether a pedestrian can stop traffic anywhere nearly as effectively as a cyclist can and still live to see another day. Somehow I don’t like my chances.

It seems pedestrians have no rights anywhere. Even on a “footpath” you are expected to get out of the way of the cyclist.

Sorry to have offended so many members of the obviously superior “cyclist caste”.

I will admit that most cyclists do ring their bells to warn you.

Which is a good thing given that I often run on cycle paths and when I’m running I usually stagger all over the place 😉

I thought the bell was not a ‘get out of the way’, but a ‘don’t make any sudden moves sideways’ kind of thing.

Bells. I’m into being legal so I want to have a bell on my race bike when not racing. Very few bells will even fit. The handlebars are too fat, the seat post isn’t round. Luckily I can mount a BBB quick release bell on the spacers under the stem.
Its still a judgement call as to whether using the bell will do more harm than good.

Bell ringing is a courtesy to the pedestrian to let them know a bike is about to pass. Better than just ‘whoooosh’ and scare the crap out of you.

Agree with jas, I ring my bell as a courtesy so I don’t startle walkers (or on the very very infrequent occasion I pass another cyclist) and OYM2 I’m regularly thanked, just as I thank fellow cyclists for advising the same.
The thing that p!sses me off is the dickheads I’ve encountered lately walking on the right. I don’t ring for them if they’re going my way and if you’re walking towards me, then let’s say I’ve won chicken every time.

OpenYourMind210:27 pm 05 Mar 08

Granny, nobody is asking you to get out of their way. Just walk to the left and it’ll all be ok. I do call out to pedestrians as a warning, but that’s all it is unless they are blocking the whole path. Also, have your dog on a lead and walk it to your left. It’s that easy.

The bell does nothing, nobody hears a bell until it’s too late. Bells are simply decoration. About the best reaction you’ll get from even a decent bicycle bell is a pedestrian staggering into your path wondering what that funny ringing sound is that they faintly heard.

Hey granny, good logic there. I personally don’t have a bell, don’t see the need when I can just call out to people in advance, but people ring them not to tell you to get out of the way, but so they don’t scare the shit out of pedestrians! And as you say, you are pedestrian on a CYCLE path so you are the minority, just like cyclists on the road, you don’t see cyclists whinging for you pesky walkers to get off the paths cos they slowed down our ride for 3 seconds do you?. If anything you should have at least some understanding of what it is being in this situation.

I personally am unable to ride a bike 10km per hour without falling over by the way, most travel between 20-30km per hour at a conservative estimate and I am yet to find a road in canberra that is thin enough that a cyclist and driver can’t share. You should try being a cyclist in Sydney, did it for 3 years. Canberra is like heaven compared to it!

Granny, you say that and still call them cycle paths! They’re shared paths and sharing goes both ways.

“Car drivers wouldn’t put up with the roads being in such a state.”

What are you talking about? Have you taken a look at Canberra roads lately. As a driver I spend a lot of time dodging the pot holes … and the cyclists.

I also love how if I’m a pedestrian on a cycle path they ring the bell and make you get out of their way … or else. You don’t see them trying to pedal along behind me. But if they’re a cyclist on the road they just make all the cars that can’t escape sit behind them at 10km/h.

Minister wants to hear your support for Budget cycling projects
In the past three months, Pedal Power has met Ministers and officials about the projects that will be most effective in getting more Canberrans cycling, more often, for a better community. Our Budget Submission is on the Pedal Power website at http://www.pedalpower.org.au/advocacy/news.asp#1752
The projects are:
* A sealed Jerrabomberra Wetlands cycle path – to make the Lake Burley Griffin ride into one of the best half day cycle rides in Australia
* Directional signage for cycle paths – finally getting decent signage for Canberra’s 350km of cycle paths
* Cotter Rd cycle lanes so you can cycle safely between Civic and the Parliamentary Triangle to Weston Creek and Stromlo Forest Park
Roads ACT has put in budget bids for these projects but your support is essential is get them funded in the 2008-09 ACT Budget. Territory and Municipal Services Minister, John Hargreaves, told us he welcomes your emails as long as they are constructive!
If you have a spare minute or two, please send a couple of sentences to John and Minister Andrew Barr and Chief Minister Jon Stanhope. It doesn’t have to be a work of art, just a sentence or two is enough. Remember, great is good, but done is better! Below is an example. Email addresses are hargreaves@act.gov.au, barr@act.gov.au, stanhope@act.gov.au
You can also ‘cc’ a copy or provide feedback to advocacy@pedalpower.org.au Please forward this to your cycling friends.
Tony Shields
Volunteer Advocacy Director
Pedal Power ACT
Dear Ministers
I am briefly writing to tell you I support Pedal Power’s ACT Budget Submission. I particularly support signing Canberra’s cycle paths. Having such a big network is good but having it signposted is much better!
Your name
Your address

From zenpuck….please add glass cleanup and state of trails to your emails.

From PedalPower
Report that broken glass!
The Pedal Power Advocacy Team considers the increasing amount of broken glass on our paths and roads an important issue. Roads ACT has made the commitment that any requests to remove glass or other hazards in cycle lanes that come via Canberra Connect would be acted on quickly. So please report that broken glass at the Feedback website http://www.contact.act.gov.au/cgi-bin/canberraconnect.cfg/php/enduser/ask.php or phone number 132281. If you could send a cc of the report to advocacy@pedalpower.org.au and also let us know when the problem is fixed, we can check if the system is working!

Maybe they could attach a big brush to those bike racks on the ACTION buses – to really make their money go further? 🙂

Surely it wouldn’t be too much difficulty to send sweepers down the biker paths as well?

They are, as pointed out, often covered in broken glass.

Especially given Stanhope’s rabid pro bike stance.

would it really hurt to run a street sweeper down there every once in a while.

Sighted – 0730 Northbound Gunghalin Drive.

Those tuff liners are great, I have them inside both tyres, I also got 26×2 semi slick tyres that have a kevlar net built in. Apparently this helps stop punctures. Been flawless so far on 80PSI.

Lets not forget the awesome on-road bicycle path from Queanbeyan to Canberra Airport built by Stanhope and Hargreaves – still working out how to use it as a Canberran. People at work who ride to Brindabella Park do a lot of bushbashing on their bikes from the Dairy Road / Morsehead Road roundabout to the airport

My most scarey moment of the last six months was on the shared paths.The spiral under Cotter Road by North Curtin Oval. He came screaming downhill, wrong side, totally out of shape, nearly lost it. I had the railing to my left, nowhere to go. Now we have the diversion from the Weston bridgeworks right by there. Two inattentive clowns T-boning will be ugly.
Headons aren’t such an issue on the road. It would be nice if drivers could be bothered to signal left when there’s a cyclist coming up fast. Sometimes its good for the drivers! If I figure I can get past the left signallers (the road rules say AND turning) and go through the intersection with the non signaller I may just do that. If not, I’ll wait.
Note: cyclists are only supposed to signal right, if I signal left its to let the driver know that they can pull out of the side street, or overtake me turning left. I’m not blameless, I don’t always signal right but on a bicycle that means taking my hand of the controls, sacrificing control and real braking. OK, sometimes it just slackness – which it always when driving.

I use those Tuffies – they’re pretty good. Though got a puncture on Gungahlin Dr off-road path once. Still, what bothers me a lot is a lack of street/path lights. Just look at the path following Sullivan’s Creek through Inner North. Or Gungahlin Drive one. It is a little bit scary and dangerous. Despite riding like a Xmas tree almost
hit a roo there a couple of times. Lucky I was crawling slow up the hill – a fit guy in front of me wasn’t. Not looking forward to clocks

Holden Caulfield12:17 am 05 Mar 08

@justbands: “…broken glass EVERYWHERE…”

People pissing on the stairs, you know they just don’t care
I can’t take the smell, I can’t take the noise no more
Got no money to move out, I guess I got no choice
Rats in the front room, roaches in the back
Junkie’s in the alley with a baseball bat
I tried to get away, but I couldn’t get far
‘Cause a man with a tow-truck repossessed my car

SomethingSomethingRubenstein12:11 am 05 Mar 08

I ride about 15 km each way most work days, almost exclusively on paths, and the amount of glass at various parts of the route is indeed scary.

In the spirit of protecting oneself at all times, I installed one (well … two, really) of those Tuff Strips or whatever they’re called. You place them between tyre and tube, and mine have worked superbly – no punctures in well over 6 months. Costs about $10 or so per tyre.

As for roads, I prefer not to ride on them at all. Most Canberra drivers appear to be either hypnotised or very, very late for something really, really important. I’m often reminded of a cycling (or may have been motorcycling?) club in the UK called SMIDSY (Sorry Mate, I Didn’t See You).

Me riding a bike means more space for cars, my car takes more space.

Yes that is what I meant by enviromentally friendly, as in much more friendly than say a 5.7 litre V8 HSV for instance, was just in a rush to type thats all.
I work in Hume and live in Belconnen and work long hours meaning riding to work is not viable for me for this and I also need to use my car throughout the day and travel a fair amount for work. I did ride to work a few years ago for a while and it’s just way too dangerous, it’s not worth being good for the environment if your dead.
I’m also in total agreeance about the state of the bike lanes, the amount of glass is just ridiculous and rarely gets swept. I still try to stick to them when on the road though, it’s just a pain in the ass brushing your tyres with your gloves every 2 minutes to get the glass off.

OpenYourMind27:08 pm 04 Mar 08

Despite the negatives, overall we are very lucky to be living in Canberra. It’s a pretty darn good city to cycle around in. Things could be better in some areas, but overall the ease of cycling around Canberra is a big positive for this city.

Nup, I ride a 24″ upright (the biggest you can get – I’m a giant), and I assume that drivers want to kill me these days. Thus, I try to stick to bike paths and back roads.

As for the on-road paths, they ARE always covered by glass so I avoid them. Riding around you see how much crap people just toss out their windows… what is wrong with people? Weren’t they taught to use bins and recycling?

another good reason to put deposits on bottles like SA does

I’m sure most cyclists use them. Mind you…the bike lanes are at the edge of the road…what else ends up all over the edge of the road? Glass. I have a newfound hatred of beer bottles since taking up cycling. F&*&ing broken glass EVERYWHERE.

I was driving home in peak hour the other day (well, the Canberra version of peak hour) and had a cyclist riding on the road ie in the car lane not in the bike lane when there was a bike lane right there! All cars in the left lane were travelling slowly because there wasn’t enough room to overtake him. I can only assume this was becasue the bike lane was in suce a crappy condition he preferred to ride on the road.

Bike lanes and bike paths improve safety for cyclists and congestion for motorists, but they’re no good if no-one wants to use them.

Holden Caulfield3:29 pm 04 Mar 08

@RuffnReady: You don’t ride a recumbant do you? 😛

James-T-Kirk1:36 pm 04 Mar 08

RuffnReady-“Still, I have had two cars try to run me off the road for no reason in the last six months.”

Sounds like the kind of behaviour we were warned of when I learnT to ride a motorbike – The long and the short of it is to assume that all cars are expresely there to kill you, and to ride accordingly.

Whoops, I meant to put a smiley at the end of that post


No, I’m serious.

FFS, of course I was joking…

Maybe I’m driving (& riding) around with my head in the clouds, but I’ve not had any problems either as a car driver or a bike rider. In fact, if it weren’t for RiotACT I’d have no idea there was an issue at all between cyclists & motorists.

There’s idiots in cars/on motorbikes, there’s idiots on bicycles. Gee.

Thumper – you were joking, right?

As for goodwill between cyclists and motorists, there is none and it’s very sad.

I stay off the road wherever possible, but when on the road I obey all the rules and give clear, early signals as to what I’m doing. Still, I have had two cars try to run me off the road for no reason in the last six months. But then I also see cyclists who behave like wankers, break the rules etc., which no doubt antagonizes drivers. Unfortunately, from both sides it has become a case of “us v them”, and the situation is getting worse. 🙁


@Thumper: I memorised a bit from Spike Milligan’s Q8 once that seems appropriate here:

And now the news. Uganda: President Idi Amin announced today that, as from tomorrow, all vehicles will, like England, drive on the left side of the road. To quote him, he said, “We am goin’ to do it gradually, startin’ wid buses and lorries…”

And I can get to places much quicker if I simply take a bike path or footpath whenever it is convenient!

Agreed Thumper! If motorbikes travelled at an acceptable speed on bike paths, e.g. no more than 60km/h, there likely wouldn’t be any more injuries to cyclists and pedestrians than there already are.

In the spirit of bipartisan cooperation and good will between cyclists and motorists, bike paths should be opened up to motor scooters and motorbikes.

the quality of bike paths is pretty shoddy for the most – and the secondary aspect is the paucity of gardening to maintain access… round by the western side of c’wealth bridge the path has been repaved a while back but you still get whipped by willows and then have to navigate a hedge bursting across a third of the path. and the path down from the north end of kings ave bridge has that bloody shrub taking up almost half of the path on the most critical part of the route – would it really be so hard to have the gardeners get their clippers out and maintain a bit of access to the path?

and i agree with malvern starr: jas wrote For the record, my car is a smallish 4 cyclinder which uses between 6-8 litres per 100km so is very good for our enviroment.

i wish people would give up this fallacy – your car is bad for the environment, it is simply less bad than the majority of other vehicles on the road. deal with it, folks.

I recently started riding – mostly for a bit of exercise, and what has really surprised me is the amount of glass on the side of the road heading south from the city – mainly around parliament house tunnel – I have got a flat there and seen another person get a flat there. With such fantastic bike paths already laid out (compare to say Sydney), would it really hurt to run a street sweeper down there every once in a while. A small gesture like that might actually increase number of people riding reducing congestion for all including the anti-bike brigade.

Holden Caulfield10:10 pm 03 Mar 08

@EtFb, yeah, call me what you like. I just wanted to be the first to start the ball rolling.

I applaud the Jas’ attitude, although I’m not sure how he can come to the conclusion that any car, regardless of fuel consumption, is “very good for our enviroment”, or environment, even … but given I haven’t ridden a bike for more years than I care to admit I should probably quit while I’m behind!

All the complaining.. the bike paths are just as bad as the roads, you’re just as likely to find an obsticle riding on the road as you are on the path. Then you’re the extra obsticle riding on the road, I’d dare say some cracked pavement would hurt less than the vehicles, so try slowing down? Then ring the nice people at TAMS and complain when you get home.

I can ride my bike from Ngunnawal to Duffy and stay off the vehicles road at all times.
In saying so, teh stretch of road between Lyneha and Acton needs major repairs. There is roots bulging under the bikepath so much that by the time I get to the lake I have essentially turned my bike into the Chafemaster 2000

I use the bike paths every day and have noticed that bike traffic has increased noticeably in the last 3 years. The bike is a method of transport preferred by a growing sector of the community (more new bikes than new cars were purchased last year), and it provides a number of benefits – zero greenhouse gas emissions (except the negligible embodied energy in the bikes and paths), better personal and public health, improved mental outlook. It is also an activity that can bring people together and forge stronger communities.

I totally agree that many paths in the inner north are in dire need of maintenance, and the small cost of a bit of maintenance is far outweighed by the benefits outlined above and that of keeping cyclists off roads.

Riding bikes should be encouraged in cities, as opposed to the ridiculous situation we currently have on the roads where 90%+ of drivers commute with one person in the car (what a waste of oil, a NON-RENEWABLE resource!). More and better paths encourage bike use.

John Tuttle, bike registration is zero if you forgot and should remain that way. I for one already pay for my car rego on the car I drive 25,000 km per year (work related). Bicycles provide almost 0% of the wear and tear on roads compared to trucks, cars and buses and the majority of riders like me own cars already. As I have stated in the past, I’d be happy to pay for rego for my bike, as long as it went to maintaining bike lanes/paths and providing infrastructure to make our lives easier. Only problem is it wouldn’t. So remind me why we should pay rego on a 7kg bike, compared to a 1000-2000kg car?

For the record, my car is a smallish 4 cyclinder which uses between 6-8 litres per 100km so is very good for our enviroment.

I am finding that I am using the paths more and more. I’ve done my fair share of riding in the past (around 12-15,000km per year) in the Canberra region and have had enough close calls to realise that eventually I will probably get hit by a car so to minimise that use the paths more and more. I’m not racing this year due to work so a Saturday ride involves a trip from my place in Florey to Civic, a few coffees and toast and home again, mostly on bike paths. I do agree that they are a shocking state, but compared to being mowed down by average canberra joe bogan or having an empty beer bottle thrown at me, I can dodge the divots and be home all the happier.

You’re right about car drivers not being happy with poor road surfaces, especially when they pay registration…can you remind me how much bike rego is? 😉

@Holden (can I call you Malvern Star for the duration of this thread?) Yes, we do, occasionally, although only when they’re a better bet than the roads. When I were a young’un, they were a lot better. Nowadays, like any other legitimate vehicle owner, I generally prefer to use the roads. Since only retards object to sharing the road with cyclists, it doesn’t seem to be an issue.

Holden Caulfield7:58 pm 03 Mar 08

Oh, so cyclists actually use those paths do they. 😛

Daily Digest

Want the best Canberra news delivered daily? Every day we package the most popular Riotact stories and send them straight to your inbox. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.