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Cycling Tips for Northbourne

By OpenYourMind - 28 September 2013 48

Here’s a great first person perspective of the trials and challenges of cycling Northbourne Avenue:

A quick video I made with some of my tips for cycling on Northbourne Avenue in Canberra.
Please remember to set to 720p+. These are only my tips, so don’t get carried away

screenshot

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48 Responses to
Cycling Tips for Northbourne
Limestone_Lizzy 1:06 am 30 Sep 13

As a daily rider of Northbourne, I could not agree with this video more. It is an excellent example of assertive riding that will keep you safe as possible.

It would be great to see this video edited for drivers, especially those that may not understand riders actions (eg the cyclist in the roundabout epic on RA a few months ago)

Aeek 12:40 am 30 Sep 13

Rollersk8r said :

Mostly agree, except for the point on speed. …. Personally I think you’re better off coasting around 30kmh and ready with the brakes, rather than trying to maintain 40-odd.

I can manage 30 and-a-bit on Northbourne and still pass many.
The parallels, Cowper St is scary,
The path to the west, its nice but I’m not comfortable doing much more than 20.

I usually have a mirror, but the advantage of headchecks is people can see you doing it.

patrick_keogh 5:46 pm 29 Sep 13

Jono said :

Since the start of 2000, there have indeed been 5 cyclist deaths in the ACT. Of those 5, one was on Fitz’s hill, down near Namadgi, one was just south of Tharwa, and one was the chap playing around on his electric bike last year without a helmet (was that in Flynn?). Of the two that you might consider to be Canberra traffic related, one was in Wanniassa, and I don’t remember the details of the final one.
For the same period in the ACT, there have been 38 people killed on motorbikes; 29 pedestrian deaths and 121 people have died in cars.

Thanks Jono. Of course (and I know you’ll appreciate this) it doesn’t mean that drivers and cyclists don’t need to be vigilant and be ever alert for the risks. Of course there is a risk and all road users must do their best to make it a safe place for others, pedestrians, cyclists, mopeds, cars and even buses and on our behalf government must be trying to make roads safer too.

aussielyn’s message may be based on some unwarranted assumptions. Indeed watching someone safely ride down Northbourne seems to “confirm” the exact opposite for some viewers. It does look dangerous to some eyes and I guess this is consistent with my advice that it isn’t for everyone. I personally find the shared paths and footpaths far more dangerous, especially at speeds over 30kph, but if I was dawdling along at 10kph they might be OK whereas Northbourne might not be. The ability to act as traffic, to think like traffic, to accelerate like traffic makes a difference.

Yes you run a risk whenever you get out of bed, but the real evidence is that the risk of death or serious injury from cycling is less that the balancing risk of diabetes, heart attack etc.

Jono 3:47 pm 29 Sep 13

patrick_keogh said :

Just for you… there has not been a cyclist fatality on Northbourne Avenue in the last eleven years at least. I do not know that there has ever been a cyclist fatality on this road. Over the last decade on ACT roads there have been (I think) five fatalities, compared to more than twice that for pedestrian fatalities and around 40 fatalities for occupants of motor vehicles.

Since the start of 2000, there have indeed been 5 cyclist deaths in the ACT. Of those 5, one was on Fitz’s hill, down near Namadgi, one was just south of Tharwa, and one was the chap playing around on his electric bike last year without a helmet (was that in Flynn?). Of the two that you might consider to be Canberra traffic related, one was in Wanniassa, and I don’t remember the details of the final one.
For the same period in the ACT, there have been 38 people killed on motorbikes; 29 pedestrian deaths and 121 people have died in cars.

patrick_keogh 2:08 pm 29 Sep 13

aussielyn said :

Thanks for posting. I have always thought that cycling on Northbourne was dangerous and this clip confirms it. 150% attention is needed! What happens if you hit an oil slick, you are a casualty? Do you feel comfortable being next to, ½ metre from a B-Double?

Statistics should be published on cycling fatalities and accidents and cycling black spots identified.

Safety,safety,safety!

Just for you… there has not been a cyclist fatality on Northbourne Avenue in the last eleven years at least. I do not know that there has ever been a cyclist fatality on this road. Over the last decade on ACT roads there have been (I think) five fatalities, compared to more than twice that for pedestrian fatalities and around 40 fatalities for occupants of motor vehicles.

In general (yes I know this is a generalisation) cyclists are fairly good judges of the relative safety of different routes and good at matching routes to their riding skill level and style. If I look at the number of cyclist accidents (not just fatalities) for the past three years there is a very strong correlation with the number of cyclists that use a route. In other words, just because a route has a larger number of crashes does not mean it is less safe: the number of crashes per cyclist may be lower than average but it will still appear to be a “black spot” in terms of numbers of accidents. The four of five locations with the largest number of cyclist crashes are on the two or three routes with the largest volume of cycling traffic. Conversely if only one cyclist a year uses a road then it is likely to have a low number of crashes even if it is unsafe.

Having said that, ACT cycling black spots are indeed published, Google would be your friend if only you asked 🙂

http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/bike-black-spots-named-20130504-2j0m2.html

Rollersk8r 10:19 am 29 Sep 13

Mostly agree, except for the point on speed. Sure, go crazy on the longer unbroken stretches, however my tip is generally to slow down coming in to the Braddon area. I’ve been hit by a car turning in to a driveway, and had several other close calls, especially with people turning in to James Court without warning. Personally I think you’re better off coasting around 30kmh and ready with the brakes, rather than trying to maintain 40-odd.

OpenYourMind 10:37 pm 28 Sep 13

Nice to see the positive comments.
Just to clarify, this isn’t my video, it’s a friend of mine’s.

Oh, and I like that remix of Tom’s Diner!

ausbradr 5:42 pm 28 Sep 13

Good video. As someone who both drives cars and rides pushbikes, I can see why cyclists / motorists can be at each other’s throats, especially coming from good old aggressive Sydney! It’s great to see it from a cyclist’s perspective and to see some good tips for the cyclists too, especially regarding the lights (The cyclists running reds issue infuriates me, and I’ve nearly killed a courier cyclist in Sydney’s CBD because he didn’t feel the need to stop at the lights. Just missed him though).

Another thing you should probably add to the video is notes about lighting and high visibility clothing. I did hit one cyclist who came out in front of me shooting out of an intersection. He got away with a few scabs, he could get up and walk. However the worst thing was that he had made no attempt to light up his bike or invest in brighter coloured clothing. Fortunately, Canberrans have been pretty good with their lighting arrangements, even adding lights to their helmets.

gasman 5:15 pm 28 Sep 13

+1 on mirror.

I use a Take-a-Look rear-view mirror that clips to my riding glass. Small, adjustable, rock-solid, cheap.

Being 150% aware means knowing what is behind you at all times.

Once you have ridden with one of these in traffic for a few weeks, you will feel naked without it.

troll-sniffer 4:23 pm 28 Sep 13

Tip:

Get a rear view mirror. Will make you twice as safe as that quaint head-check routine you suggest.

M0les 2:51 pm 28 Sep 13

Good tips!

I look forward to reading the troll comments when they’ve been approved!

fernandof 2:20 pm 28 Sep 13

Great hands-on demo. Thanks.

Absolutely agree to all your tips + wanted to add some of my own:
1. Use a mirror. Allows you to be more attentive to what’s happening on the road so you’re less likely to encounter unfortunate surprises, not only from traffic, but also from other, stronger cyclists.
2. Most bus drivers I encountered are very nice, and if you’re nearing a bus stop, they will usually slow down to let you overtake. Go faster and wave when you past the bus stop to encourage that behavior.

PS, today was a bit of a challenge riding on Northbourne, not only there was a lot of traffic, but the wind, boy, the wind blew extremely strong. We don’t seem to have much luck with Floriade weather. Something in the flowers, me think.

aussielyn 12:02 pm 28 Sep 13

Thanks for posting. I have always thought that cycling on Northbourne was dangerous and this clip confirms it. 150% attention is needed! What happens if you hit an oil slick, you are a casualty? Do you feel comfortable being next to, ½ metre from a B-Double?

Statistics should be published on cycling fatalities and accidents and cycling black spots identified.

Safety,safety,safety!

Deref 11:50 am 28 Sep 13

Watchable if you turn the sound off.

Dingoman25 11:21 am 28 Sep 13

Thanks OYM, a great tutorial.

As a driver I appreciate your final tip when I’m doing the right thing.

PS That 0-40 in a matter of seconds off the lights was pretty impressive.

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