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It’s all your fault! The ultimate cyclist troll?

By Holden Caulfield 16 October 2013 55

On Ride2Work day it’s probably worth having a chat about a proposal from Pedal Power, who would like the national road rules changed to:

“place the responsibility for a crash involving a bicycle and another vehicle on the driver of the other vehicle, unless the driver can prove that the person on the bicycle was clearly at fault – so that the person in the most dangerous vehicle has the most responsibility”

That claim forms a small part of their submission to the Vulnerable Road Users Inquiry. You can read Pedal Power’s full 36 page document here.

Despite a bit of “steel cocoon” rhetoric there’s some decent points being made. The Riot Act even gets a mention!

Of course, most motorist v cyclist problems could be solved if more road users, regardless of their mode of transport, were prepared to chill a little and act with a greater sense of calm and cooperation.

What’s Your opinion?


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It’s all your fault! The ultimate cyclist troll?
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KB1971 9:42 am 18 Oct 13

wildturkeycanoe said :

Northbourne lanes are so tight, that is a truck or bus was in the middle lane, you’d have to be driving in the bike lane to go passed them in the left anyway. What happens to cyclists when a bus is stopped in the bike lane? Do they sit there and wait for the bus, or hit the footpath and go around? Really, I want to know, because as a car driver I find a constantly stopping vehicle requires overtaking, which on a busy Northbourne Ave. is almost impossible.

I dont ride Northbourne much but when I have I have either slowed down and waited because there has been enough distance or picked my time and passed the bus. This is relatievely easy if you give everybody around you plenty of time to find out what your intentions are (with signals & such). As a pushbike, you can do the passing manouver without even leaing the left lane.

Mind you, if I was plodding long at 15km/h, that would piss people off. I am normally doing between 30 -35 which, when its busy, isnt much slower than the traffic flow.

The few times I have done it I have generally managed to keep with the same group of vehicles, especially down the
City end where the traffic lights are closer together.

wildturkeycanoe 7:12 am 18 Oct 13

MrBigEars said :

wildturkeycanoe said :

No, I am not in the middle lane, I am in the left lane, looking to turn left into say – Barry Drive. Because I am in the left lane and doing say 50km/h as I approach the left hand turn slip lane, I am probably looking first to see if a pedestrian is crossing to the island, then looking right to see if any traffic is coming through the intersection. Because there wasn’t any cyclist to my left in the 100 meters or so before getting to the intersection, I have no need to check to the left. Yet, in the time it has taken me to slow down, check crossing and intersection, the cyclist I passed half way back down the block has caught up and comes up to meet my left front fender with a lot of yelling and cursing.

Unless you’ve just passed a cyclist, you’re allowed to drive 50m in a bicycle lane before turning left, which in your scenario is a bit under half way down the block from Bunda Street. As long as you are giving everyone time and space to react and indicating appropriately, I think this removes a lot of the ambiguity and is the safest option for all.

Northbourne lanes are so tight, that is a truck or bus was in the middle lane, you’d have to be driving in the bike lane to go passed them in the left anyway. What happens to cyclists when a bus is stopped in the bike lane? Do they sit there and wait for the bus, or hit the footpath and go around? Really, I want to know, because as a car driver I find a constantly stopping vehicle requires overtaking, which on a busy Northbourne Ave. is almost impossible.

MrBigEars 1:36 pm 17 Oct 13

wildturkeycanoe said :

No, I am not in the middle lane, I am in the left lane, looking to turn left into say – Barry Drive. Because I am in the left lane and doing say 50km/h as I approach the left hand turn slip lane, I am probably looking first to see if a pedestrian is crossing to the island, then looking right to see if any traffic is coming through the intersection. Because there wasn’t any cyclist to my left in the 100 meters or so before getting to the intersection, I have no need to check to the left. Yet, in the time it has taken me to slow down, check crossing and intersection, the cyclist I passed half way back down the block has caught up and comes up to meet my left front fender with a lot of yelling and cursing.

Unless you’ve just passed a cyclist, you’re allowed to drive 50m in a bicycle lane before turning left, which in your scenario is a bit under half way down the block from Bunda Street. As long as you are giving everyone time and space to react and indicating appropriately, I think this removes a lot of the ambiguity and is the safest option for all.

Holden Caulfield 11:18 am 17 Oct 13

KB1971 said :

Here is a question for people, bear with me and put the legal argument aside, just use the safey aregument:

What is worse, a partially loaded semi trailer accellerating to get a light and ends up runing a red or a cyclist stopping waiting for the traffic to clear & then running the red light, or using the pedestrian corssing to cheat a red?

Disclaimer: the truck was an overlength float designed to carry bulldozers & such, wone of two vehicles I saw run red lights this morning.

It’s an interesting point. Raising the safety issue like that when we’re talking about an ~80kg rider/bike combination on the same piece of road as a 30 tonne* truck.

*How much does a big truck weigh?

A while back an electrician said to me he couldn’t remove his shoes to help protect my newly laid and sealed timber floor because it was against OH&S regs for him to climb a ladder without footwear. But bikes, cars, trucks on the same road separated by a strip of paint, sure, no problems! You’d be mad if you didn’t.

By any sane measure a cyclist preaching about safety would never ride on the road.

Come to think of it, motorists should probably steer clear as well, haha. Which brings us to acceptable risk and what each individual is prepared to take.

Humans can be really stupid sometimes.

thebrownstreak69 11:03 am 17 Oct 13

KB1971 said :

Normally if a cyclist ‘appears out of nowhere’ the driver would have passed them at some point in the last minute. If the fact that the cyclist is there and the car driver has forgotten within a minute that is crux of the issue and why PP think this is a good idea.

The only times I have a cyclist ‘appear out of nowhere’ has been where they have shot out onto the road from a bike path, foot path, driveway or similar.

Normally when bikes and cars are going the same direction there aren’t any problems. The cyclist moves over and the car passes if it’s safe, or waits until it is.

howeph 10:19 am 17 Oct 13

blueterrestra said :

OpenYourMind said :

Funnily enough what usually happens at the pedestrian crossings is 1. bike slows down and makes eye contact with driver 2. Driver waves bike through.

For the most part this works for all concerned.

Spot on – this is what happens at least nine times out of ten.

I know I don’t have right of way at a pedestrian crossing – most cyclists understand this. When I approach one I’ll slow down until I can clearly see if there are cars coming; if not, I ride through, otherwise I’ll stop. Most of the time an approaching car will give a wave through and I’ll return the wave (thanks!) and we’re all happy. If on the other hand driver wants to proceed through and not wait for me because I’m still on the bike, then that’s their right and I’ll respect that.

I think most drivers understand that if I get off the bike and walk I’ll take longer. Waving me through saves everyone time. Win-win.

The bottom line is that riding across a pedestrian crossing is akin to jay-walking – we shouldn’t do it but everyone does, and most of the time it’s pain free, but if you get hit by a car on your bike on a pedestrian crossing you’ve got no one to blame but yourself.

Correct.

This is how it should, and for the most part does work.

harvyk1 10:06 am 17 Oct 13

drfelonious said :

How’s your Jim’s Mowing franchise going harvyk1?

It’s going quite nicely, thanks for asking 🙂

KB1971 10:03 am 17 Oct 13

Here is a question for people, bear with me and put the legal argument aside, just use the safey aregument:

What is worse, a partially loaded semi trailer accellerating to get a light and ends up runing a red or a cyclist stopping waiting for the traffic to clear & then running the red light, or using the pedestrian corssing to cheat a red?

Disclaimer: the truck was an overlength float designed to carry bulldozers & such, wone of two vehicles I saw run red lights this morning.

KB1971 9:59 am 17 Oct 13

wildturkeycanoe said :

No, I am not in the middle lane, I am in the left lane, looking to turn left into say – Barry Drive. Because I am in the left lane and doing say 50km/h as I approach the left hand turn slip lane, I am probably looking first to see if a pedestrian is crossing to the island, then looking right to see if any traffic is coming through the intersection. Because there wasn’t any cyclist to my left in the 100 meters or so before getting to the intersection, I have no need to check to the left. Yet, in the time it has taken me to slow down, check crossing and intersection, the cyclist I passed half way back down the block has caught up and comes up to meet my left front fender with a lot of yelling and cursing. If I had to wait for a pedestrian at the crossing, I’d be blocking the bike lane and said cyclist would then whiz through the crossing as well, instead of politely waiting for me to move on.
It’s just a me, me, me attitude with cyclists, wanting right of way no matter which way they want to go. One second they are a vehicle, then they are a bike, then they are a pedestrian traveling at 20km/h atop two wheels.
As for your scenario, okay, I am in the middle lane turning left. I put on my indicator, wait for the vehicle in the left lane to ease back and merge into that lane. If the vehicle in the left lane doesn’t heed the indicator and charges up from behind, running into my car which is at least a vehicle’s length ahead, it is the fault of the vehicle behind who did not stop in time. Like ACTION buses, if they are indicating and you are well behind them, you must give way. This philosophy should go down the order to cyclists, who in this case should give way to a vehicle ahead that is indicating and turning into their lane. It’s called common courtesy. Do you, when seeing someone changing into your lane up ahead, maintain your speed and run into that vehicle because you think you have right of way?
The bike lane right of way rule highlights the ridiculousness of two different rules for two different types of vehicles but occurring in the same circumstance.

So you pass a clyclist, get 100m ahead and then slow down to turn and dont expect them to back up beside you while riding along their lane that you are about to cross?

Would you do that with a car? (hence the point of my question which you missed)

Legally they are both the same thing. Also, you say its too hard to watch for them ect…do you not do a head check and use you mirrors when changing lanes & turning? Especially if you know the rider is there?

All basic road sense.

On the right of way, it is my understanding that cyclists only have absolute right of way in the green lanes. No a vehicle is not allowed to travel in a cycle lane but if a cyclist is faced with a turning car and there is enough room/time (catual, not your percieved time) then the rider has to give way (they are not allowed to follow too close or run into the rear of a vehicle). I thing the whole right of way in a bike lane thing is misunderstood.

So what I am saying is riders have to behave like they are driving a car except for a couple of minor alterations to the road rules.

Should they know this stuff and obey it? Hell yes.

In anwer to your question, if a car is entering the road and I have a green lane? I expect them to give way to me (reality says I obviously have to judge this action pretty well before I take it).

If a car has its indicator on to turn left and has given me plenty of time to acknowldegde the act, then yes I will yeild and let the car do its manouver. Obviously it Raffertys rules if there is an impulsive act by a party and you do what you have to do to avoid an accident.

Anywyay, I had two cars not give way to me yesterday on the green lane that turns left onto London Cct from Northbourne. They were going fast enoigh to avoid hitting me but it would have been no skin off their noses to wait the 3 seconds it took me to negotiate it.

KB1971 9:43 am 17 Oct 13

chilli said :

KB 1971, that is a really, really good point. What speed should be permitted in a bike lane? Frankly, I think it must be pretty scary for the gentle, steady-as-she-goes kind of cyclists (ahem, yes, guilty) in the cycle lanes of major roads to have superspeed Lycra chaps whizzing past them, with no warning and in heavy traffic.

I’m aware that some cyclists who want cycling to double as their extreme sport exercise want to be able to pelt along at the maximum speed they can attain, but they pose a danger to other cyclists as well. I’m also aware of the argument that to encourage cycling as a viable transport option, people should be able to go fast to get from A to B in a reasonable time.

But what happens when your cycling priorities conflict with my cycling priorities (which is yes, get there in the end, but as sweat free as possible)? Who has right of way in the cyclist vs cyclist arena? Cycle lanes on roads are pretty narrow and there are already alot of unsympathetic cars around. And now, even with the dedicated, separate (pricey) cycle lanes around Civic, loads of cyclists go on the footpath or go the wrong way up the cycle paths.

It seems many cyclists are natural anarchists, which is all well and good until bones are broken. Some agreed and enforceable rules around bike speed and overtaking, and how to behave in traffic (for everyone) would be welcome by many road users.

I commute almost exclusively on bike lanes , in my lycra and at an average of 25-30km. I rarely have issues with pedestians and most riders. I encounter fast & slow. I like the bike paths because they are quiet and away from the main traffic flow.

Essentially I dont see an issue for the most of it but I do take into account for the busy areas such as Lake Tuggeranong which have children, groups of walkers and a lot of dogs off lead.

With your/my question of what is an appropriate speed? One that you are comfortable with and you can control the situation if it goes bad. That is what I go by.

However, I do see on road bike lanes as better for the faster riders (especially in the faster areas) and bike paths for the slower riders. Despit what is poported here and elsewhere, Canberras paths are excellent, yep there are gaps but for the whole they are excellent and cater for most riders (sports atheletes aside).

I commute for fitness, I leave my extreme cycling for Mt Stromlo…… 🙂

KB1971 9:34 am 17 Oct 13

Sandman said :

KB1971 said :

So, you are driving up the middle lane on Northbourne & need to turn left onto Barry Drive. Would you just turn across the path of another vehicle and expect them not hit you when they dont have time to react?

How is this any different to a bicycle in a bike lane.

Also, what speed should a bike be doing in this bike lane?

No, if you wish to turn left onto Barry Dr you’d be in the far left lane, not the middle one. The cycle lane presents a situation that shouldn’t be there and doesn’t exist in regular traffic situations , the need to check behind you to the left in order to turn left from the leftmost possible position you can be in. It’s just plain stupid and makes it impossible for a motorist to plan ahead and be in the correct lane.

Correct answer except the bit about the cycle lane shouldnt be there, they are, this is a fact. When you do a lane change you do a head check to see what is either side and to the rear of you. Its no different when turning left over a cycle lane.

Normally if a cyclist ‘appears out of nowhere’ the driver would have passed them at some point in the last minute. If the fact that the cyclist is there and the car driver has forgotten within a minute that is crux of the issue and why PP think this is a good idea.

Along with driver innattention, ignorance and arrogance to all other road users but that is another thread.

blueterrestra 8:58 am 17 Oct 13

OpenYourMind said :

Funnily enough what usually happens at the pedestrian crossings is 1. bike slows down and makes eye contact with driver 2. Driver waves bike through.

For the most part this works for all concerned.

Spot on – this is what happens at least nine times out of ten.

I know I don’t have right of way at a pedestrian crossing – most cyclists understand this. When I approach one I’ll slow down until I can clearly see if there are cars coming; if not, I ride through, otherwise I’ll stop. Most of the time an approaching car will give a wave through and I’ll return the wave (thanks!) and we’re all happy. If on the other hand driver wants to proceed through and not wait for me because I’m still on the bike, then that’s their right and I’ll respect that.

I think most drivers understand that if I get off the bike and walk I’ll take longer. Waving me through saves everyone time. Win-win.

The bottom line is that riding across a pedestrian crossing is akin to jay-walking – we shouldn’t do it but everyone does, and most of the time it’s pain free, but if you get hit by a car on your bike on a pedestrian crossing you’ve got no one to blame but yourself.

thebrownstreak69 8:50 am 17 Oct 13

OpenYourMind said :

Funnily enough what usually happens at the pedestrian crossings is 1. bike slows down and makes eye contact with driver 2. Driver waves bike through.

For the most part this works for all concerned.

It certainly does. But occasionally it doesn’t, and that’s the problem.

OpenYourMind 10:55 pm 16 Oct 13

While I’m all for getting rid of the dismount at pedestrian crossing rule, a good start would be to remove pedestrian crossing markings from areas that are primarily just bike paths anyway. It’s a crazy situation where a cyclist crosses 10 roads using the look for traffic and give way approach, then hits a crossing that happens to be a pedestrian crossing on a cyclepath (call them recreation path if you will).

Funnily enough what usually happens at the pedestrian crossings is 1. bike slows down and makes eye contact with driver 2. Driver waves bike through. For the most part this works for all concerned.

Thumper 8:24 pm 16 Oct 13

The other bit from PP to strike a chord was the suggestion motorists may need to go back to school to learn the road rules in regards to the rights of cyclists. I agree that is probably a fair and reasonable position to hold. It’s just that, well, it’s kind of cute to hold that position when no qualification or demonstrated knowledge of the road rules is a prerequisite to riding a bike on the road.

Game, set, and match to Mr Caulfield.

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