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How safe are Canberra’s streets for bike riders?

By Anne Treasure 19 September 2016 39

Broken_Bike (2)

“The value of cycling in Sydney has been undermined by hysterical claims that bike riding will cripple the city’s economy, misleading stories that distort data to proclaim that less people are riding, and wilful ignorance of good practice overseas,” said Sydney’s Mayor Clover Moore.

Recent horror stories about Sydney’s ‘War on Cyclists’ might make many Canberrans feel smug about our highly-valued cycling culture…

In Canberra we are fortunate that the ACT Government recognises the value of active travel.

Cycling and walking are promoted as forms of transport, and when evidence that these activities are being threatened comes to light, the Government has taken steps to address this.

And yet Canberra roads continue to be dangerous for cyclists.

Data from the recently-released 2015 ACT Road Crash Report indicates that the only upward trend in casualties were those involving vulnerable road users. This trend was exemplified late last month when a bus struck a bike rider on Northbourne Avenue during morning peak hour.

table vulnerable road users

The report recognises that the ACT has a greater cycling participation rate than the national average, and it is to their credit that the ACT Government has started to introduce reforms aimed at making the roads safer for cyclists and other vulnerable road users.

Recent implementation of recommendations from the Vulnerable Road User Inquiry – which include making it illegal to throw things at bike ridersthe minimum overtaking distance laws and riding across crossingsdiscussion about helmet laws and new driver competency – are encouraging, but there is far more that the Government needs to do in order to show Canberrans that cycling is a safe and valid form of everyday transport.

A recent Transport Canberra survey showed that nearly a third of ACT survey respondents would be very unlikely to encourage their children to walk or cycle to school.

With childhood obesity becoming a massive problem in affluent countries like Australia, this should set off alarm bells.

Not everyone can cycle, but support for programs such as Fitability means that more Canberrans get to experience the joy and freedom of recreational cycling.

So what else could the ACT Government do?

Safe separated bike lanes on Canberra streets would help more people feel confident cycling on the road.

An awareness campaign that illustrates the social, financial and environmental benefits of cycling.

Finally, informing the public about the very safe and extensive cycle paths throughout Canberra, means those that are able are given every opportunity to enjoy the health and economic benefits of cycling while largely removing the need to cycle near cars, trucks and buses at all.

Pedal Power ACT is holding an Election Forum on September 27 for Canberrans to put these questions to politicians and candidates. Everyone is welcome to come along and let our potential new Government know that cycling and active travel is important, and there is more to be done.

Anne Treasure is a communications consultant living in Canberra. She is currently working with Pedal Power ACT and Capital Cycling.

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How safe are Canberra’s streets for bike riders?
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Holden Caulfield 3:00 pm 10 Jan 17

Maya123 said :

…As I keep repeating, there are NO (NOT ONE) dedicated cycle paths in Canberra. Even those designed with bikes in mind are still shared and people are also allowed to walk along them.

Sections of the city cycle loop are intended to be exclusively used by cyclists.

dungfungus 4:24 pm 28 Sep 16

Tenpoints said :

@dungfungus
Yes, there are bike only paths in Canberra. The Majura Parkway Shared Path is not. It is preferable to riding alongside 100km/h traffic.

People might use it more if it didn’t stop at the Federal Highway but continued through to Gungahlin.

I am sure Pedal Power are arranging for that now.

Tenpoints 2:47 pm 28 Sep 16

@dungfungus
Yes, there are bike only paths in Canberra. The Majura Parkway Shared Path is not. It is preferable to riding alongside 100km/h traffic.

People might use it more if it didn’t stop at the Federal Highway but continued through to Gungahlin.

dungfungus 11:37 am 28 Sep 16

dungfungus said :

Maya123 said :

dungfungus said :

Maya123 said :

dungfungus said :

Maya123 said :

dungfungus said :

Maya123 said :

Rustygear said :

I commute ride as my fitness method because I get bored by fitness-freak dedicated exercise. I don’t wear lycra. I ride slow. Actually I have diabetes and cycle to stay on minimal medication and so the condition doesn’t progress – absolutely I am no hero or fitness fascist. Just trying to be positive and take care of myself a bit. But I am really fearful of an accident (or road rage) – I worry that it is almost inevitable. The worst places are those ‘green lanes’ which in my mind are quite simply kill zones. Going off the bridge on Commonwealth Ave toward the city – there’s no practical alternative without lengthy detours – you go through three terrible high-speed kill zones before reaching the safety of Vernon Circle. I’m so, so vulnerable, just an old guy on a bike in the middle of cars racing high-speed, veering around changing lanes on both sides of me. All it takes is a luckless idiot or a hater, and I’m a smashed vegetable. How I wish that the planners and the govt would have a little care about people like me who are just trying to avoid health problems with a little physical activity. The only safe option is physically separated cycle lanes in places where there are high-speed cars, narrow main roads (like Flemington Rd past Epic) or complex intersections. I really don’t see why not.

I ride across the path on Commonwealth Bridge, take the shared/bike path through Commonwealth Park, the bridge over Parkes Way and arrive in Civic near the swimming pool. Try that route. There’s no way I would want to ride towards Civic along Commonwealth Avenue.

I was unaware there was a dedicated bike path over Commonwealth Bridge.

Where is it exactly?

There are no dedicated bike paths in the ACT. All paths are shared, even those built with bikes in mind. There is a path on either side of the bridge.

But you said you “ride the path across Commonwealth Bridge and then take the shared / bike path…………….”

They are two different things, no?

No, they are the same thing technically. All paths in the ACT are shared paths.

The one to the west of the new Majura Parkway isn’t shared – it’s bikes only and it cost heaps.

It is shared. People are allowed to walk along it and do. I have walked along sections of it. As I keep repeating, there are NO (NOT ONE) dedicated cycle paths in Canberra. Even those designed with bikes in mind are still shared and people are also allowed to walk along them.

OK, I was wrong, sorry everyone.

As there have been recent posts on this thread confirming there are indeed “bike only paths” in Canberra I withdraw my apology that I was wrong.

Tenpoints 10:30 am 28 Sep 16

Maya123 said :

Tenpoints said :

@Maya123
I’m pretty sure the Civic Cycle Loop is bike only for the grade-separated bits on Marcus Clarke, Rudd, and Allara Streets. Not that that actually means anything to the people who stand in the middle of the lane while waiting to cross the roads.

I hadn’t thought about that one. Perhaps you are correct and if so I admit to being wrong. Does anyone know for certain? Are there signs saying bikes only? I have seen separated walking and cycling paths in other cities and they are well marked to indicate the separation. Are the Civic ones well marked like this?

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B7v0QnNP2ejScldsNElVdV9KaE0/view?usp=sharing
The Civic Cycle Loop is indeed signposted as bike-only.

Here is the news about the Belconnen Cycling Infrastructure:
http://www.pedalpower.org.au/news/2016-act-election-forum-make-canberra-the-cycling-capital/

dungfungus 7:37 am 28 Sep 16

Maya123 said :

Tenpoints said :

@Maya123
I’m pretty sure the Civic Cycle Loop is bike only for the grade-separated bits on Marcus Clarke, Rudd, and Allara Streets. Not that that actually means anything to the people who stand in the middle of the lane while waiting to cross the roads.

I hadn’t thought about that one. Perhaps you are correct and if so I admit to being wrong. Does anyone know for certain? Are there signs saying bikes only? I have seen separated walking and cycling paths in other cities and they are well marked to indicate the separation. Are the Civic ones well marked like this?[/quote

Well, if you are not wrong now you soon will be as it is reported in today’s Canberra Times that the mother of all bike highways will be built in Belconnen:

“It comes as both Labor and the Greens promised major spends on cycle infrastructure. Labor promised green binds (sic) for every home and to build a $4.7 million Belconnen bikeway, while the Greens pledged studies into setting up a bike share scheme and building cycle hubs across Canberra.
The bike infrastructure announcements were made at an election forum hosted by cycle advocates Pedal Power in Civic on Tuesday night.”

When is Pedal Power going to register as a political party?

More than 2500 pre-poll votes were cast on Tuesday, far more than the first day of the 2012 campaign.
More than 2500 pre-poll votes were cast on Tuesday, far more than the first day of the 2012 campaign. Photo: Andrew Meares
Labor’s dedicated bike-only path would connect the Belconnen town centre to the University of Canberra and Canberra Institute of Technology in Bruce.

The bikeway, Labor says, would be three to four metres wide, and would connect Page and Florey to the commercial town centre.

Maya123 6:59 pm 27 Sep 16

Tenpoints said :

@Maya123
I’m pretty sure the Civic Cycle Loop is bike only for the grade-separated bits on Marcus Clarke, Rudd, and Allara Streets. Not that that actually means anything to the people who stand in the middle of the lane while waiting to cross the roads.

I hadn’t thought about that one. Perhaps you are correct and if so I admit to being wrong. Does anyone know for certain? Are there signs saying bikes only? I have seen separated walking and cycling paths in other cities and they are well marked to indicate the separation. Are the Civic ones well marked like this?

AlbertHall 5:46 pm 27 Sep 16

Give and take required…I can’t believe the amount of cyclists I see riding on the road when there is a good quality cycle path close by (sometimes beside them). Canberra Ave in from Q-Town to Fyshwick is a prime spot for this. Drivers aren’t angels either…beside the Fyshwick Bunnings there is clearly no cycle path (or any path) so what is the point of honking and abusing the poor old cyclists there. And cyclists…the LBG ring circuit isn’t actually a velodrome…I’s like to see the stats on people cleaned up or just missed by speeding cyclists (especially on weekends). Courtesy people…remember that???

Tenpoints 3:59 pm 27 Sep 16

@Maya123
I’m pretty sure the Civic Cycle Loop is bike only for the grade-separated bits on Marcus Clarke, Rudd, and Allara Streets. Not that that actually means anything to the people who stand in the middle of the lane while waiting to cross the roads.

One of the best bits of safe and effective cycling infrastructure in the ACT is the shared path that goes through Lyneham/O’Connor/Turner. Right of way or signalised crossings over all roads combined with minimal traffic signals make for a safe yet efficient ride.

On the other hand, places like the Athlon x Sulwood roundabout are particularly hairy, as you have to cross two lanes of accelerating traffic on an uphill grade, not a fun time.

I think that Canberra does well in terms of safe cycling infrastructure, but it is far from utopic. I don’t think we need separated cycle infrastructure on every suburban street however there are a number of missing links in the shared path network plus some particular black spots that discourage people from riding.

JimCharles 7:46 am 27 Sep 16

Semantics.

1. Compulsory proficiency training for cyclists, even if it’s half a day.
2. No headphones allowed for riders or drivers.
3. Better skills and awareness for drivers, which culminates in tougher driving tests.
4. Annual road checks on cars, including brakes and getting rid of bald tyres !

dungfungus 10:09 pm 24 Sep 16

Maya123 said :

dungfungus said :

Maya123 said :

dungfungus said :

Maya123 said :

dungfungus said :

Maya123 said :

Rustygear said :

I commute ride as my fitness method because I get bored by fitness-freak dedicated exercise. I don’t wear lycra. I ride slow. Actually I have diabetes and cycle to stay on minimal medication and so the condition doesn’t progress – absolutely I am no hero or fitness fascist. Just trying to be positive and take care of myself a bit. But I am really fearful of an accident (or road rage) – I worry that it is almost inevitable. The worst places are those ‘green lanes’ which in my mind are quite simply kill zones. Going off the bridge on Commonwealth Ave toward the city – there’s no practical alternative without lengthy detours – you go through three terrible high-speed kill zones before reaching the safety of Vernon Circle. I’m so, so vulnerable, just an old guy on a bike in the middle of cars racing high-speed, veering around changing lanes on both sides of me. All it takes is a luckless idiot or a hater, and I’m a smashed vegetable. How I wish that the planners and the govt would have a little care about people like me who are just trying to avoid health problems with a little physical activity. The only safe option is physically separated cycle lanes in places where there are high-speed cars, narrow main roads (like Flemington Rd past Epic) or complex intersections. I really don’t see why not.

I ride across the path on Commonwealth Bridge, take the shared/bike path through Commonwealth Park, the bridge over Parkes Way and arrive in Civic near the swimming pool. Try that route. There’s no way I would want to ride towards Civic along Commonwealth Avenue.

I was unaware there was a dedicated bike path over Commonwealth Bridge.

Where is it exactly?

There are no dedicated bike paths in the ACT. All paths are shared, even those built with bikes in mind. There is a path on either side of the bridge.

But you said you “ride the path across Commonwealth Bridge and then take the shared / bike path…………….”

They are two different things, no?

No, they are the same thing technically. All paths in the ACT are shared paths.

The one to the west of the new Majura Parkway isn’t shared – it’s bikes only and it cost heaps.

It is shared. People are allowed to walk along it and do. I have walked along sections of it. As I keep repeating, there are NO (NOT ONE) dedicated cycle paths in Canberra. Even those designed with bikes in mind are still shared and people are also allowed to walk along them.

OK, I was wrong, sorry everyone.

Maya123 1:06 pm 24 Sep 16

dungfungus said :

Maya123 said :

dungfungus said :

Maya123 said :

dungfungus said :

Maya123 said :

Rustygear said :

I commute ride as my fitness method because I get bored by fitness-freak dedicated exercise. I don’t wear lycra. I ride slow. Actually I have diabetes and cycle to stay on minimal medication and so the condition doesn’t progress – absolutely I am no hero or fitness fascist. Just trying to be positive and take care of myself a bit. But I am really fearful of an accident (or road rage) – I worry that it is almost inevitable. The worst places are those ‘green lanes’ which in my mind are quite simply kill zones. Going off the bridge on Commonwealth Ave toward the city – there’s no practical alternative without lengthy detours – you go through three terrible high-speed kill zones before reaching the safety of Vernon Circle. I’m so, so vulnerable, just an old guy on a bike in the middle of cars racing high-speed, veering around changing lanes on both sides of me. All it takes is a luckless idiot or a hater, and I’m a smashed vegetable. How I wish that the planners and the govt would have a little care about people like me who are just trying to avoid health problems with a little physical activity. The only safe option is physically separated cycle lanes in places where there are high-speed cars, narrow main roads (like Flemington Rd past Epic) or complex intersections. I really don’t see why not.

I ride across the path on Commonwealth Bridge, take the shared/bike path through Commonwealth Park, the bridge over Parkes Way and arrive in Civic near the swimming pool. Try that route. There’s no way I would want to ride towards Civic along Commonwealth Avenue.

I was unaware there was a dedicated bike path over Commonwealth Bridge.

Where is it exactly?

There are no dedicated bike paths in the ACT. All paths are shared, even those built with bikes in mind. There is a path on either side of the bridge.

But you said you “ride the path across Commonwealth Bridge and then take the shared / bike path…………….”

They are two different things, no?

No, they are the same thing technically. All paths in the ACT are shared paths.

The one to the west of the new Majura Parkway isn’t shared – it’s bikes only and it cost heaps.

It is shared. People are allowed to walk along it and do. I have walked along sections of it. As I keep repeating, there are NO (NOT ONE) dedicated cycle paths in Canberra. Even those designed with bikes in mind are still shared and people are also allowed to walk along them.

dungfungus 10:29 am 24 Sep 16

Maya123 said :

dungfungus said :

Maya123 said :

dungfungus said :

Maya123 said :

Rustygear said :

I commute ride as my fitness method because I get bored by fitness-freak dedicated exercise. I don’t wear lycra. I ride slow. Actually I have diabetes and cycle to stay on minimal medication and so the condition doesn’t progress – absolutely I am no hero or fitness fascist. Just trying to be positive and take care of myself a bit. But I am really fearful of an accident (or road rage) – I worry that it is almost inevitable. The worst places are those ‘green lanes’ which in my mind are quite simply kill zones. Going off the bridge on Commonwealth Ave toward the city – there’s no practical alternative without lengthy detours – you go through three terrible high-speed kill zones before reaching the safety of Vernon Circle. I’m so, so vulnerable, just an old guy on a bike in the middle of cars racing high-speed, veering around changing lanes on both sides of me. All it takes is a luckless idiot or a hater, and I’m a smashed vegetable. How I wish that the planners and the govt would have a little care about people like me who are just trying to avoid health problems with a little physical activity. The only safe option is physically separated cycle lanes in places where there are high-speed cars, narrow main roads (like Flemington Rd past Epic) or complex intersections. I really don’t see why not.

I ride across the path on Commonwealth Bridge, take the shared/bike path through Commonwealth Park, the bridge over Parkes Way and arrive in Civic near the swimming pool. Try that route. There’s no way I would want to ride towards Civic along Commonwealth Avenue.

I was unaware there was a dedicated bike path over Commonwealth Bridge.

Where is it exactly?

There are no dedicated bike paths in the ACT. All paths are shared, even those built with bikes in mind. There is a path on either side of the bridge.

But you said you “ride the path across Commonwealth Bridge and then take the shared / bike path…………….”

They are two different things, no?

No, they are the same thing technically. All paths in the ACT are shared paths.

The one to the west of the new Majura Parkway isn’t shared – it’s bikes only and it cost heaps.

ChrisinTurner 7:59 am 24 Sep 16

I have just had a week in Amsterdam where parking stations for bikes are up to 4 storeys high. They don’t ride on the roads but on the footpaths where two thirds of the available space is marked for bikes. Bikes seem to have right-of-way everywhere.

Bonkers 11:13 pm 23 Sep 16

buzz819 said :

Ridiculous. Should someone riding on a roadway need a helmet? Yes, someone who wants cross road ways while riding, yes.

Should someone who is taking a scenic ride around LBG, the City, ANU etc, who does not ride on the roads, definitely not.

Plus 1 (any advice on how to add a plus symbol appreciated…).

I wouldn’t think about riding down Northbourne at any time without a helmet. But a ride around Lake Gin or LBG? I’m happy to take my chances.

And if I get injured? It’s due to personal choice. If I choose to ride down Northbourne, wanting to feel the wind through my hair, and then get hit by a car that didn’t see me and suffer major head injuries as a result, well, my bad.

I can’t help but think that helmet laws are only in place to avoid entries in the Darwin Awards. Individuals should be able to assess the risk associated with their activity and take appropriate measures to reduce those risks.

Maya123 6:27 pm 23 Sep 16

dungfungus said :

Maya123 said :

dungfungus said :

Maya123 said :

Rustygear said :

I commute ride as my fitness method because I get bored by fitness-freak dedicated exercise. I don’t wear lycra. I ride slow. Actually I have diabetes and cycle to stay on minimal medication and so the condition doesn’t progress – absolutely I am no hero or fitness fascist. Just trying to be positive and take care of myself a bit. But I am really fearful of an accident (or road rage) – I worry that it is almost inevitable. The worst places are those ‘green lanes’ which in my mind are quite simply kill zones. Going off the bridge on Commonwealth Ave toward the city – there’s no practical alternative without lengthy detours – you go through three terrible high-speed kill zones before reaching the safety of Vernon Circle. I’m so, so vulnerable, just an old guy on a bike in the middle of cars racing high-speed, veering around changing lanes on both sides of me. All it takes is a luckless idiot or a hater, and I’m a smashed vegetable. How I wish that the planners and the govt would have a little care about people like me who are just trying to avoid health problems with a little physical activity. The only safe option is physically separated cycle lanes in places where there are high-speed cars, narrow main roads (like Flemington Rd past Epic) or complex intersections. I really don’t see why not.

I ride across the path on Commonwealth Bridge, take the shared/bike path through Commonwealth Park, the bridge over Parkes Way and arrive in Civic near the swimming pool. Try that route. There’s no way I would want to ride towards Civic along Commonwealth Avenue.

I was unaware there was a dedicated bike path over Commonwealth Bridge.

Where is it exactly?

There are no dedicated bike paths in the ACT. All paths are shared, even those built with bikes in mind. There is a path on either side of the bridge.

But you said you “ride the path across Commonwealth Bridge and then take the shared / bike path…………….”

They are two different things, no?

No, they are the same thing technically. All paths in the ACT are shared paths.

buzz819 2:18 pm 23 Sep 16

Anne Treasure said :

rommeldog56 said :

What is PedalPowers position on compulsory wearing of helmets by cyclists ? There was considerable debate on here a while back about a proposal that the wearing of helmets be non compulsory in specified areas. Will this be raised at the PedalPower election forum on 27 September ?

If so, here is some breaking news on that issue. The largest review yet of bike helmet use by 64,000 injured cyclists worldwide has found helmets reduce the chances of a serious head injury by nearly 70 per cent.

See this article here :

http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/bike-helmet-review-throws-cold-water-on-sceptics-theyll-likely-save-your-life-20160914-grg5mo.html

If an objective is to keep cyclists ‘safe” on streets and on bike paths, keeping the mandatory wearing of helmets by all cyclists everywhere is a good start.

Pedal Power ACT absolutely supports the wearing of helmets by bike riders, and is totally committed to keeping laws requiring helmets in place. No arguments here.

Ridiculous. Should someone riding on a roadway need a helmet? Yes, someone who wants cross road ways while riding, yes.

Should someone who is taking a scenic ride around LBG, the City, ANU etc, who does not ride on the roads, definitely not.

Compulsory until the age of 16, then only on roads, or if you want to cross road while riding.

Then there are the numerous studies that show drivers are more likely to drive CLOSER to riders with helmets, but that is another story.

You want to make road users safer, abolish international driver licences and ensure drivers over the age of 75 have mandatory health screenings to ensure they are still able to drive.

dungfungus 1:30 pm 23 Sep 16

Maya123 said :

dungfungus said :

Maya123 said :

Rustygear said :

I commute ride as my fitness method because I get bored by fitness-freak dedicated exercise. I don’t wear lycra. I ride slow. Actually I have diabetes and cycle to stay on minimal medication and so the condition doesn’t progress – absolutely I am no hero or fitness fascist. Just trying to be positive and take care of myself a bit. But I am really fearful of an accident (or road rage) – I worry that it is almost inevitable. The worst places are those ‘green lanes’ which in my mind are quite simply kill zones. Going off the bridge on Commonwealth Ave toward the city – there’s no practical alternative without lengthy detours – you go through three terrible high-speed kill zones before reaching the safety of Vernon Circle. I’m so, so vulnerable, just an old guy on a bike in the middle of cars racing high-speed, veering around changing lanes on both sides of me. All it takes is a luckless idiot or a hater, and I’m a smashed vegetable. How I wish that the planners and the govt would have a little care about people like me who are just trying to avoid health problems with a little physical activity. The only safe option is physically separated cycle lanes in places where there are high-speed cars, narrow main roads (like Flemington Rd past Epic) or complex intersections. I really don’t see why not.

I ride across the path on Commonwealth Bridge, take the shared/bike path through Commonwealth Park, the bridge over Parkes Way and arrive in Civic near the swimming pool. Try that route. There’s no way I would want to ride towards Civic along Commonwealth Avenue.

I was unaware there was a dedicated bike path over Commonwealth Bridge.

Where is it exactly?

There are no dedicated bike paths in the ACT. All paths are shared, even those built with bikes in mind. There is a path on either side of the bridge.

But you said you “ride the path across Commonwealth Bridge and then take the shared / bike path…………….”

They are two different things, no?

Anne Treasure 12:46 pm 23 Sep 16

TimboinOz said :

I’d like to add that I used to ride to work from the top of Kambah to Barton, IOEngineer’s building. And I used cycle paths, Kent St. and back roads through Deakin, and then down National Circuit in Forrest. I was occasionally forced off the road, but had deliberately chosen a low-traffic route. I was more frequently attacked by dogs!

I saw someone cycling with a dog on a leash the other day, which I think takes cycling to the next difficulty level – particularly when encountering other dogs!

But yes I think you have the right idea, we just need to the politicians in power who will address the issue of bike paths that just end abruptly and force bikes onto the road.

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