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Do on-road cycling lanes need a rethink?

By Rollersk8r 1 May 2015 67


The last thing I want to do is create another cyclist vs motorist thread on this site. However, as a cyclist and motorist who witnessed another cyclist hit on Northbourne Avenue yesterday morning, I honestly wonder how much longer until they say, “Okay, we tried this – it’s unsafe, so we’re stopping it or trying something else.”

I still regularly use the Northbourne cycling lanes and have been hit by a left-turning car myself. Basically there are two main types of accidents that will keep happening again and again while there are cyclists on a road like Northbourne.

The main one – this morning’s example – is any car making a left turn from a side street on to Northbourne. Driver does a quick check, no cars coming, continues accelerating and doesn’t see the bike right in front of them. The second (which is how I got hit) is when cars suddenly make left turns off Northbourne and leave the cyclist beside them with nowhere to go, especially as traffic backs up in the Braddon area.

Canberra’s cycling infrastructure is absolutely world class – I highly doubt I’d take the risk of riding to work in Sydney or Melbourne. Although, if we’re about to spend $1 billion on a tram, how about a proper separated cycleway along the same route? Or is this somehow included?

What’s Your opinion?

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67 Responses to
Do on-road cycling lanes need a rethink?
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ungruntled 10:47 pm 23 May 15

The cycleways definitely do need rethinking.
Has anyone observed the situation on Barry Dr opposite the ANU?
If you are travelling down Barry towards Civic & want to turn left there, there’s a bus lane, a straight ahead lane and a bike lane to cross.
I see people turning from all of them to go left. If a cyclist hasn’t been wiped out yet it’s a matter of good luck, not good management!

markb 12:29 pm 08 May 15

By their very design, on road cycle lanes inherit a level of risk that is significant. There is also no doubt that they significantly dissuade a number of existing riders at busy times and would-be riders from considering cycling as an acceptable alternative transport method.
The Northbourne Ave lanes are unacceptably narrow and in my opinion should not be recognised as cycle lanes on that basis alone. Additional adverse factors include peak hour traffic volumes, bus stops and a high number of crossings with resultant stop/start and turning traffic.
Not all on road lanes are as narrow but still have high risk. An example is the Yarra Glen/Adelaide Avenue stretch that has high speed traffic and requires the cyclist to stop at times for high speed joining traffic without any physical protection.
Outside of busy traffic times I use and enjoy a number of on road cycle lanes. But at busy times I am highly aware of my vulnerability and have experienced a number of potential collisions and “near death” experiences.
If I had a magic wand, a number of cycle lanes would be de-classified and made into dedicated powered two wheeler lanes, and have physically separated lanes built that take into account commuter requirements such as width (2 way safety), lighting/visibility (crime) and directness (time and distance).
Yes, I drive, ride motorbikes, and ride my wonderful Giant Defy on a regular basis.

Ezy 8:45 am 08 May 15

Holden Caulfield said :

I have a minor philosophical objection to bicycles and cars/trucks etc sharing the same piece of road. Not because I don’t want to share, but because the laws of physics and the inattention of too many road users (that’s everyone, cars, trucks, bikes) provides me with a never ending amount of evidence that shows it’s a bad idea for any cyclist who values their own well being.

I would say that I am a very experienced cyclist both on and off the road and am very comfortable riding in heavy traffic – having said that, I recently moved which has totally changed my commute. Where I am now, it would make perfect sense for me to hop on my roadie and head down past Hume and via Fyshwick on the highway but it is something that I’m not going to do. The sheer volume of cars at that time of day and the section where they are driving 100km/h right next to you makes no sense for me to risk my life.

So I will grab the mountain bike and head over Wanniassa Hills, Isaacs Ridge and Red Hill – for what makes for one of the best commutes I could ask for.

gazket 6:59 pm 07 May 15

Maya123 said :

gazket said :

Weatherman said :

The Netherlands solution to the clash of bicycles and heavy vehicles was to implement a system of bike lanes (Fietspads) that are separated from urban road thoroughfares (Baanvak). As aforementioned by other respondents, nowadays, Canberra bike lanes are mostly separated with the exception of rural and outlying parts of Australian Capital Territory and interstate roads.

It’s still a lottery though. Last year in the Netherlands184 cyclist died on the road. Pedal Power don’t mention those statistics do they.

And I can be pretty sure people driving and walking died on the roads in the Netherlands too. What is your point here, besides showing a prospective towards people who cycle? More meaningful figures would be the percentage of deaths of cyclists as compared to the number who ride in the Netherlands, and then compare that to the percentage here in Canberra.

The point is even with separated bike lanes cycling isn’t as rosey and cheap as it seems.

The Gov have created a name Vulnerable Roads Users . Why are they bending over backwards to increase the numbers of vulnerable road users. The left would call it outsourcing death by stealth .

verdi 5:40 pm 07 May 15

Personally I find them terrifying on the multi lane busy roads and don’t use them. I would rather go the long way and enjoy my ride. On my commute I often ride on the footpath adjacent Northbourne and have been abused by pedestrians unaware that this is perfectly allowable.

bryansworld 4:34 pm 07 May 15

aussie2 said :

Serious riders need a place where they can ride, at speed, in safety. Only an off road, dedicated lane similar to a walking type footpath but a little wider than that. Building on the apron-there is a cost either way. Maybe it is about time our serious cyclists paid a fee for the privilege.

I’m a “serious rider” in that a ride to work and back several times a week, on shared paths, footpaths and roads. As the owner of a registered motor vehicle, and as a home owner, and therefore a rate payer, I already pay plenty for the privilege of our cycling infrastructure. In fact, I think I subsidise
those that
aways drive, because my net impact on the roads and environment (maintenance and congestion costs, air and other forms of pollution) is less than that of many others.

Holden Caulfield 4:15 pm 07 May 15

I’m not a very experienced cyclist on the road, but I do ride on the road a few times a week. The reason I say I’m not very experienced is because I won’t ride on a busy road and unless it’s a quieter feeder street in the suburbs I won’t ride on a road without a dedicated cycle lane.

Where I can I will use a separate cycle path/shared path.

I have a minor philosophical objection to bicycles and cars/trucks etc sharing the same piece of road. Not because I don’t want to share, but because the laws of physics and the inattention of too many road users (that’s everyone, cars, trucks, bikes) provides me with a never ending amount of evidence that shows it’s a bad idea for any cyclist who values their own well being.

There’s no point in being a righteous cyclist when a pissed off or totally unaware motorist clips your wheel or doors you.

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