Cyclists to monitor Canberra motorists proximity in $58,000 four week project

Tim Benson 7 May 2018 111
Cyclists in Canberra are participating in a new road safety research project to evaluate driver compliance with the minimum passing rule.

Cyclists in Canberra are participating in a new road safety research project to evaluate driver compliance with the minimum passing rule.

Cyclists in Canberra are participating in a new road safety research project to evaluate driver compliance with the minimum passing rule.

The report for this project is expected to be finalised in December 2018. The research, funded by a $58,000 ACT Road Safety Fund grant, will also consider how traffic environments and the road network changes a motorist’s compliance.

Passing distance measuring devices fitted to bicycles will collect data over the next four weeks as part of the Centre for Automotive Safety Research (CASR) study.

The ACT Minister for Road Safety Shane Rattenbury said that “The device is designed to be attached to a cyclist’s personal bicycle and collect data while they ride their usual routes.”

“We know that many motorists are conscious about passing safely around cyclists; however, there are still those that don’t leave enough room. We need to have more information to help change driver behaviour and consideration for cyclists and this study will help.

“On busy roads and narrow roads, cyclists can also help motorists out by riding to the left of the road or bicycle lane, and riding single file.

“It is important that we continue to make it easier, safer and more convenient for people to choose cycling as their preferred method of transport.”

In the ACT, drivers are required to keep a minimum passing distance of 1 metre when overtaking a cyclist at under 60km/h, with a distance of 1.5 metres required if a driver is overtaking at more than 60km/h.

“To enable drivers to provide the minimum overtaking distances on narrow roads or roads with narrow lanes, drivers are allowed to cross centre lines, straddle lane-lines and drive on painted islands, provided the driver has a clear view of any approaching traffic and that it is safe to do so,” Mr Rattenbury said.

Dr Jamie Mackenzie from the Centre for Automotive Safety Research (CASR) said minimum passing distance was an important safety rule for cyclists.

“The implementation of a metre passing rule acknowledges that cyclists are vulnerable road users and require a minimum amount of ‘safe space’ when being passed by motor vehicles,” Dr Mackenzie said.

“This is particularly important for cyclists, as they have no protective structure surrounding them or any safety technologies to assist them, unlike cars that contain a suite of safety features for their occupants.

“The purpose of this project is to evaluate motorist compliance with the ACT’s metre passing rule and to determine whether it is possible to identify particular features or infrastructure in the road network that have an effect on compliance.”

Considering the danger of combining cyclists and cars on our Canberra roads, do you think we should continue this practice?

What's Your Opinion?

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111 Responses to Cyclists to monitor Canberra motorists proximity in $58,000 four week project
mark boast mark boast 10:33 am 16 Jul 18

I’m not sure that the “us v them” tone of this study will go down well with a lot of people, especially motorists. A similar study in the UK produced some rather scary videos but was any of it new knowledge? More space in both the road infrastructure and people’s attitudes is the answer so let’s all get on and do what it takes.

CLooey CLooey 1:29 pm 04 Jun 18

I think they need to monitor the cyclists as well. As a pedestrian I’ve nearly been run over by inconsiderate cyclists and I’ve seen them go through red lights and nearly run over other pedestrians that had the right of way. I recently came across a traffic jam on an exit road that I thought was due to a stalled car, but no, cars were braking and then swerving into the next lane to avoid a bike rider weaving all over the place. They sometimes ride in pairs abreast each other so that cars are forced into oncoming lanes to get around them, and so on. I think its great that people ride bikes but there needs to be accountability and respect by ALL road users, not just cars.

Jon Ratcliffe Jon Ratcliffe 5:49 am 12 May 18

NK dont spend much on the homeless though. Not sure if Peter would like that 😉

Capital Retro Capital Retro 5:41 pm 11 May 18

“tell me where the bike path is provided that goes over the hill on Hindmarsh Avenue? ……..” asks Julie Macklin.

It’s the lane next to the two vehicle lanes on each side. Has been for years but like so many other lanes like it the bicyclists in Canberra don’t use it.

    Maya123 Maya123 8:10 am 12 May 18

    Yes lane, but this was about paths, which are separate. People cycling were told to use the path, so where is that? Besides, that lane is very narrow in sections (way below width a lane safely should be) and I don’t think it exists at the top. Sections going up and down, but not complete last time I took notice. I have only ever ridden/walked once over Hindmarsh Drive and found the down Woden side of the side lane being very rough and no where as smooth, comfortable and as safe a surface as the main road.

    Capital Retro Capital Retro 12:31 pm 13 May 18

    I recall the “lycra lobby” demanded a separate bike path be created along the route of the Airport to Federal Highway road extension and it was, at great cost, yet very few cyclists are using it. It would be the same outcome if a separate path was built adjacent to Hindmarsh Drive. The existing bike lanes along Hindmarsh Drive (and the Monaro Highway) were allocated to cyclists so use them and stop complaining.

Frank Salafia Frank Salafia 10:18 am 11 May 18

Half don’t even have a car license,they don’t even know the road rules.

    Melissa Croaker Melissa Croaker 10:27 am 11 May 18

    So well informed 😂

    Karl Brown Karl Brown 12:52 pm 11 May 18

    The only bike riders that I know that dont have licences and cars is my kids and everyone elses kids......

    John Andriunas John Andriunas 10:35 pm 11 May 18

    My car doesnt have a licence but i have a drivers licence and all the cyclists i know have a drivers licence. 😊

BlowMeDown BlowMeDown 8:11 am 11 May 18

I recall when I was still small enough to share a very small bedroom and a double bunk with my brother in the 1950s a poster on the bedroom wall educating kids how to ride bicycles safely on the road. It had the words in large text “ride Indian file” which today would read “ride single file”.

BlowMeDown BlowMeDown 7:59 am 11 May 18

All of the arguments as to why cyclists need the passing separation are precisely the arguments they should not be on the road in the first place. Trying to fit square pegs into round holes.

So car drivers have to be aware of cyclists up ahead while also keeping an eye out for motor cyclists riding up the lane divide from behind. Please, someone educate the government about the effects of attentional overload. Someone is going to get killed and the government absolves itself by passing laws that cannot reasonably be complied with at all times.

Kylz Maree Kylz Maree 2:59 pm 09 May 18

I think this is ridiculous.

Use the BIKE PATHS that are provided

    Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 5:10 pm 09 May 18

    As you claim to be the expert on this ("Use the BIKE PATHS that are provided"), please tell me where the bike path is provided that goes over the hill on Hindmarsh Avenue? What, there is none. WELL, fancy that, there aren't paths everywhere where people want to go!! Who would have known?

    Karl Brown Karl Brown 12:58 pm 11 May 18

    No bike path for the first 500m of my ride to work, where am I supposed to ride?

    John Andriunas John Andriunas 10:36 pm 11 May 18

    Yes, they are called roads. Read the road rules!

Rollersk8r Rollersk8r 1:42 pm 09 May 18

Putting the cost of the trial in the headline certainly has had the desired effect – what a waste of money, who cares about cyclist safety… All money is better spent on schools and hospitals blah, blah.

Margaret Freemantle Margaret Freemantle 12:22 pm 09 May 18

So wrong! Bikes need bells, rego plates and neon bibs they need to use bike paths where possible and adhere to the rules at pedestrian crossings. Give the $58000 to the poor people who suffer forever from hitting someone on a bike

Trevor Watson Trevor Watson 9:02 pm 08 May 18

So what happens when the data gathered shows up as cyclists not keeping to the left or not riding single file and causing vehicles including busses to be held up behind them? Is the data going to me moderated to ensure that it shows drivers not keeping 1 metre clear?

I guess we have to wait for the results. Cyclists riding along the verge of high speed roads scare me especially if they fall off in front of you...

    Karl Brown Karl Brown 12:58 pm 11 May 18

    Riders dont have to keep single file and keeping left includes the whole lane. IE: We drive to the left in Australia.

    Trevor Watson Trevor Watson 2:30 pm 11 May 18

    Yes... So you feel its safe for cyclists to ride anywhere in the lane as long as they are in the left hand lane? And if its a multi lane its legal to ride in any lane as long as you are on the left hand side of the road? Yet if I am on my Chinese knock off Segway I can't even go onto the road except to cross it.... Weird rules...

    Karl Brown Karl Brown 6:18 am 12 May 18

    So, on a two lane road with no shoulder, a rider wants to turn right into another road, where should he be? Turn right from the left hand side or signal their intention and move over to the right hand side of the lane in preparation to turn?

    Trevor Watson Trevor Watson 9:16 am 12 May 18

    Well what about if its a multi lane road? It would be very wise to signal the turn look behind to make sure you are not going to be run over by a car traveling at the speed limit before making the turn.... Remember it takes longer for a car or truck to stop.

David Brown David Brown 6:25 pm 08 May 18

I can see the cyclists clinging to the right hand side of the bike lane already.

justin heywood justin heywood 3:06 pm 08 May 18

Can someone tell me why many cyclists feel that it is OK to ride two abreast on the road, making it extremely difficult to pass safely? It may well be legal, but so is driving a horse and cart in heavy traffic – which no-one does because it would mean that they were just being a dick.

Courtesy and respect goes both ways.

    Rollersk8r Rollersk8r 3:55 pm 10 May 18

    Well you’ve answered your own question. It’s legal. Not sure where you’re going with your horse and cart argument, seeing I’ve never even seen one on the road, yet I see cyclists on the road every day.

    imhotep imhotep 10:32 am 11 May 18

    No, not at all, Roller, and thanks for answering the question.

    …so riding two or more abreast IS just an entitlement mentality; a case of ‘this is what I feel like doing, so bugger everyone else. But be sure to show ME consideration and respect’. Good to know.

    Morgo Morgo 9:26 am 12 May 18

    I agree. I’m a cyclist and am all for riding to the law including 2 up, but use your freakin’ brain. When I’m legally doing 100k’s an hour in my car out near Tidbinbilla, come round a bend to find a bunch of cyclists legally 2 abreast on my side of the road and an oncoming vehicle legally doing 100k’s an hour on the other, someone’s going to die or someone’s going to hate you. Don’t be a what’s legal but adjust for the situation, be safe and make friends.

Stevie William Stevie William 2:18 pm 08 May 18

Wow. Some of these comments show the reason why we need these laws.

    Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 5:36 pm 08 May 18

    So true. All these people outing themselves as selfish, self centred road users, who we would be better without on our roads.

    Melissa Helmers Melissa Helmers 5:51 pm 08 May 18

    If this is the attitude to cyclists, I hate to see them in traffic in general.

    Karl Brown Karl Brown 1:00 pm 11 May 18

    It doesn't matter about their education either. I look at some of the profiles and thing "Jeepers, you should be smarter than that......".

Braedan Kidd Braedan Kidd 2:08 pm 08 May 18

I’ve never been upset slowing down and waiting until it is safe to pass a cyclist.... courtesy and respect for all road users is free.

Grimm Grimm 12:07 pm 08 May 18

As usual, all we see is lycra warriors making excuses for why they can’t ride in cycle lanes, or on bike paths and not be inconsiderate traffic hazards. “Oh there are sticks in the bike lane! I can’t use that! Better I be an inconsiderate tool, expect everybody else to be patient, and indulge my lack of consideration”.

    Rollersk8r Rollersk8r 1:40 pm 09 May 18

    As usual we like to make a false distinction between cyclists (i.e. all those people trying so hard to ruin the lives of motorists) and normal people just riding a bike…

Alex Jarman Alex Jarman 10:30 am 08 May 18

How about avoiding riding on the road if there is a cycling path nearby?

They have the right to use the road but I feel it’s usually unnecessarily risky because of the prevalence of Canberra’s cycling paths. You can get almost anywhere in Canberra by using bike paths.

    Bek Clark Bek Clark 6:41 am 10 May 18

    A lot of them are pretty bad - the section from stromlo dam to Civic is badly impacted by tree roots and cracking, as is the section from Antil St to ANU

    It’s often a choice between riding standing up or taking your chances with ppl who hate you because you get to work faster, are fitter, and don’t pay a fortune for parking

    Karl Brown Karl Brown 12:53 pm 11 May 18

    Almost......the key word.

Nathan Jones Nathan Jones 9:34 am 08 May 18

Put a motor on it and pay rego

rfc rfc 10:20 pm 07 May 18

I feel it would be too easy to skew the results. Here is a scenario, traffic on Northbourne Ave in peak hour. Lane one is at a stand still. Cyclist rides past stopped cars under the distance limit. The device will then record numerous and incorrect non-compliance events.

I feel the money ($58,000) could be better spent on cyclist behaviour education. I’m going to send in all the instances of cyclist not obeying the rules captured on my dash cam and send that in for free.

    octagonalman octagonalman 6:14 pm 12 May 18

    I’ve been informed that there’s at least a front and back sensor to distinguish between the bike passing a car, and car passing the bike.

    CLooey CLooey 1:45 pm 04 Jun 18

    I agree rfc, I’ve seen bike riders flout the road rules way too many times. Plus they’re very vocal about their own safety but disregard the hazards they cause pedestrians. Aside from nearly being run over by bikes myself, I’ve witnessed cyclists riding abreast on shared bike/walk paths and forcing pedestrians off the path. In Kingston a group of cyclists on the road illegally turned left through a red light arrow and nearly hit a family of pedestrians who had the right of way, and then the cyclists yelled abuse at the pedestrians they almost hit! Unbelievably rude, entitled behavior.

Keran Niquet Keran Niquet 10:19 pm 07 May 18

Easy. Get the cyclists off the road. Problem solved!

    John Andriunas John Andriunas 10:41 pm 11 May 18

    Easy get the motor vehicles off the road. Problem solved! ☺

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