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Increased safety for bike riders on Commonwealth Ave Bridge

By Anne Treasure - 19 June 2017 16

The National Capital Authority will install a safety barrier on Commonwealth Avenue Bridge following calls from bike riders for better protection from traffic.

The temporary measure will be installed during night works on the bridge from tonight, after years of close calls on the bike path on the western side of the bridge due to high winds and increased path usage.

Advocacy group Pedal Power ACT have continually highlighted the lack of an appropriate barrier on the northbound carriageway over Lake Burley Griffin, most recently in March on the RiotACT, after concerns from members prompted renewed calls for the NCA to urgently address the problem.

The NCA’s response in March was to announce that a temporary measure would be arranged, to be installed within three months.

The temporary measure will be a two-rail system, with handrail and cycling restraint, will be bolted to the path next to the existing vehicle barrier. The new barrier will measure 1.4m tall, doubling the height of the existing barrier, and will be painted grey to meet heritage requirements.

The new higher barrier will protect bike riders from accidental conflict with motor vehicle traffic on the bridge, which is currently most often a risk in high winds. At present, riders can still be blown over the lower barrier on the Western side of the bridge and into traffic during particularly strong gusts.

“We consulted with Pedal Power ACT, Canberra Cycling Club and the ACT Government’s Bicycle Advisory Group regarding the barrier and they have given their support for the final design,” said NCA Chief Executive Malcolm Snow.

The temporary measure is expected to be in use for approximately two years, until work commences on the Kings and Commonwealth Avenue Renewal and a permanent solution is installed.

The proposed Parliamentary Triangle renewal aims to revitalise the area with more trees, speed limit reduction, and widening and enhancing pedestrian and cycle connections along the full length of the avenues. The proposed draft design is currently undergoing community consultation.

One northbound vehicle lane of Commonwealth Avenue Bridge and half of the shared pathway over Lake Burley Griffin will be closed for the night works program, to provide access for workers.

Night works will begin on Monday, 19 June and continue for two weeks.

Anne Treasure is the Communications Manager for Pedal Power ACT. She writes on bike riding in the ACT from the perspective of a Canberran who rides mainly for transport. 

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16 Responses to
Increased safety for bike riders on Commonwealth Ave Bridge
1
Mess 12:10 pm
19 Jun 17
#

Can we get protection for pedestrians from overly aggressive cyclists? Especially on weekends when the 5km bridge to bridge loop is busy with walkers and runners. Too many times myself, friends and family have nearly been taken out by an overly aggressive cyclist riding way too fast.

2
dungfungus 12:52 pm
19 Jun 17
#

A couple of points.

The carriageway is a shared path.
As far as I am aware, there hasn’t been an instance of a vehicle getting over the existing barrier onto the shared path so the statement “following calls from bike riders for better protection from traffic” is invalid.

Also, the artist’s impression refers to the proposed structure as a “proposed temporary PEDESTRIAN barrier”.

As long as cyclists obey the law by not exceeding the speed limit there should be no problems at all and this barrier would be unnecessary. The barrier may be temporary but the expense of putting there is permanent.

3
wildturkeycanoe 5:42 pm
19 Jun 17
#

No such barriers to protect cars from B Doubles and caravans toppling over on those long, tall, windy bridges on freeways in and around Sydney. Instead there are written warnings to drive to suit the conditions. Would not a similar approach be suitable here, because we are talking about a group of responsible road users and not children after all?

4
Anne Treasure 10:59 am
20 Jun 17
#

Considering that it’s a shared path that families often use while cycling near Lake Burley Griffin, some of the path users are children.

Most people on bikes who want to ride fast ride on the road. It’s the families and more hesitant riders who most often choose the paths. Pedal Power ACT works to ensure the safety of all Canberrans who want to ride bikes, and families and children cannot be left out.

5
bringontheevidence 11:12 am
20 Jun 17
#

It appears that many don’t understand basic physics. It isn’t the ‘fast’ cyclists who are at risk at the moment. The higher your speed on a two wheeled vehicle, the easier it is to correct for cross winds. It’s the low speed families ‘doing the right thing’ who are put most at risk by a low barrier.

This move is long overdue.

6
Maya123 11:42 am
20 Jun 17
#

dungfungus said :

A couple of points.

The carriageway is a shared path.
As far as I am aware, there hasn’t been an instance of a vehicle getting over the existing barrier onto the shared path so the statement “following calls from bike riders for better protection from traffic” is invalid.

Also, the artist’s impression refers to the proposed structure as a “proposed temporary PEDESTRIAN barrier”.

As long as cyclists obey the law by not exceeding the speed limit there should be no problems at all and this barrier would be unnecessary. The barrier may be temporary but the expense of putting there is permanent.

The barrier is to stop pedestrians and people on bikes from falling over the barrier into the path of traffic (as happened), not to stop vehicles crashing through it, although it should offer some protection there too, but that is not its main reason.

7
dungfungus 12:11 pm
20 Jun 17
#

Anne Treasure said :

Considering that it’s a shared path that families often use while cycling near Lake Burley Griffin, some of the path users are children.

Most people on bikes who want to ride fast ride on the road. It’s the families and more hesitant riders who most often choose the paths. Pedal Power ACT works to ensure the safety of all Canberrans who want to ride bikes, and families and children cannot be left out.

The speed limit on shared paths is 10kmh, is it not?

8
Anne Treasure 1:16 pm
20 Jun 17
#

dungfungus said :

Anne Treasure said :

Considering that it’s a shared path that families often use while cycling near Lake Burley Griffin, some of the path users are children.

Most people on bikes who want to ride fast ride on the road. It’s the families and more hesitant riders who most often choose the paths. Pedal Power ACT works to ensure the safety of all Canberrans who want to ride bikes, and families and children cannot be left out.

The speed limit on shared paths is 10kmh, is it not?

The speed limit on shared paths corresponds to the default speed limit in suburban areas unless otherwise indicated. Pedal Power ACT advises that bike-riders stick to a speed under 30km/h on most shared paths.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/specials/curious-canberra/2016-05-09/is-there-a-speed-limit-for-bikes-on-footpaths/7391490

9
dungfungus 1:54 pm
20 Jun 17
#

Anne Treasure said :

dungfungus said :

Anne Treasure said :

Considering that it’s a shared path that families often use while cycling near Lake Burley Griffin, some of the path users are children.

Most people on bikes who want to ride fast ride on the road. It’s the families and more hesitant riders who most often choose the paths. Pedal Power ACT works to ensure the safety of all Canberrans who want to ride bikes, and families and children cannot be left out.

The speed limit on shared paths is 10kmh, is it not?

The speed limit on shared paths corresponds to the default speed limit in suburban areas unless otherwise indicated. Pedal Power ACT advises that bike-riders stick to a speed under 30km/h on most shared paths.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/specials/curious-canberra/2016-05-09/is-there-a-speed-limit-for-bikes-on-footpaths/7391490

There is nothing on that link that refers specifically to speed limits on shared paths.

10
Holden Caulfield 3:46 pm
20 Jun 17
#

Anne Treasure said :

…Most people on bikes who want to ride fast ride on the road…

Most. But not all.

Enough Strava Warriors go way too fast around the lake and over the bridges to make it a concern worth discussing. It is surprising how many cyclists (commuters and wannabes) are impatient when overtaking walkers/runners on the paths around the lake, causing near misses or forcing foot traffic off the path.

When I’m on my bike, I wait patiently behind foot traffic and on occasion another cyclist will whiz past me, the foot traffic and the oncoming traffic with margins that are way too close for what should be a recreational path.

Cyclists, motorists, pedestrians, whoever, sometimes we all just need to chill the f out!

11
Leon Arundell 4:29 pm
21 Jun 17
#

I encourage Pedal Power to call for safety improvements at locations like the intersection of Northbourne Avenue with Rudd and Bunda Streets, which have a history of ACTUAL crashes, as shown on the Government’s pedestrian crash map (https://www.data.act.gov.au/Transport/Pedestrian-Crashes-Heat-Map/9pg2-xhki ) and cyclist crashes map (https://www.data.act.gov.au/Transport/Cyclist-Crashes-Map/qf9h-86cj ).

12
wildturkeycanoe 6:30 am
22 Jun 17
#

If I am not mistaken, cyclists have the right to ride over both bridges along the vehicle lanes. That would give them unimpeded access across the lake, the safety of a full lane [plus the one metre that matters] to recover should a gale force, random gust pop out over the waters and they can ride as fast as they desire! Why do they not simply do this like they do on Lady Denman Drive, Cotter Road or any number of other more unsuitable roads in and around Canberra? They obviously don’t have any qualms about holding up traffic on single lane routes with double white lines and we have three lanes here for all to share. Oh, but that won’t give them the media coverage they crave, evoke emotive debate about how they are treated as second class citizens in the community, nor will it deliver any infrastructure spending which seems to be the primary goal of the cycle lobby and its “Gimme, gimme, gimme” attitude.
As has been mentioned on other articles about this path, it has been their since the bridge was built and it wasn’t until 2012 that a cyclist has gone over the railing. That’s a pretty darn good safety record. It also wasn’t a gust of wind that caused it, but another cyclist’s mistake. Alternative safety options were suggested, such as a dismount zone, reduced speed limit or to use the road, but these were dismissed because “No one will adhere to it” or “It’s too dangerous”. Why?

13
wildturkeycanoe 6:31 am
22 Jun 17
#

Why won’t cyclists adhere to a safety policy that may save their lives? Because they are an arrogant, self-centred bunch of narcissists. They expect the world to bend over for them instead of taking personal responsibility to protect themselves. They don’t want anything to get in their way or to slow them up, just like the way drivers feel about cyclists on the roads. So what justification apart from their own ego trip do cyclists have that they are unable to change their habits in order to make their journey safer? None. The more they push their own agenda, the further they alienate themselves from the Canberra community and fuel the feud between cars, bikes and pedestrians.

14
Anne Treasure 8:29 am
22 Jun 17
#

Holden Caulfield said :

Anne Treasure said :

…Most people on bikes who want to ride fast ride on the road…

Most. But not all.

Enough Strava Warriors go way too fast around the lake and over the bridges to make it a concern worth discussing. It is surprising how many cyclists (commuters and wannabes) are impatient when overtaking walkers/runners on the paths around the lake, causing near misses or forcing foot traffic off the path.

When I’m on my bike, I wait patiently behind foot traffic and on occasion another cyclist will whiz past me, the foot traffic and the oncoming traffic with margins that are way too close for what should be a recreational path.

Cyclists, motorists, pedestrians, whoever, sometimes we all just need to chill the f out!

Absolutely – it’s about being a decent human being, which has little bearing on which form of transport you choose.

15
Leon Arundell 11:31 am
24 Jun 17
#

Removal of the 10 km/h shared zone means increased danger for pedestrians.

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