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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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55 Responses to
It’s all your fault! The ultimate cyclist troll?
howeph 1:01 pm 16 Oct 13

Queen_of_the_Bun said :

I really hate the proposal to stop cyclists dismounting before crossing a PEDESTRIAN CROSSING. The reason they are pedestrian crossings is because pedestrians are largely visible and travel at walking speed. My most anxious driving moment is turning left from Captain Cook Crescent onto Canberra Av at Manuka. Left hand turn for drivers if safe. Cyclists who are going straight ahead have their own lane. Yet the number of cyclists who prefer to use the pedestrian crossing and then go straight ahead is appalling. It is very dangerous and one of the things that really annoys drivers

Hi, Queen_of_the_Bun,

I ride this route on my commute, and nine time out of ten I do exactly what you hate. An I do it because it is the safest way to get across this intersection.

Look at the intersection from a cyclists perspective:

Google Street View Link (give it time to load to streetview – it load the satelite view first)

To get from the cycle lane, at the far left, to the go straight ahead cycle lane, next to the bus, the cyclist has to cross your lane. In light traffic that’s not a problem. Earlier on, before this point, I pick a gap, stick my right hand out and move across, temporarily taking control of the “left turn” lane in order to go straight ahead. But in heavy traffic you end up surrounded by cars and are forced to lane split to get to the safety of the straight ahead lane. Performing this maneuver requires me to put my life into the hands of the drivers around me.

The alternative is to pop up onto the footpath at the end of the bike lane. Do a little dog leg turn so that I’m now lined up to cross on the pedestrian crossing. I am now crossing perpendicular to the left turn lane allowing me to eye-ball the drivers directly, ensuring that they have seen me before I cross; or stop if they haven’t. This way the safety of my life stays in my control the whole time. I don’t have to trust it to a stranger of unknown driving ability and traffic awareness.

Queen_of_the_Bun 12:46 pm 16 Oct 13

Grail said :

Going straight ahead there for a cyclist means crossing a lane of cars. As a cyclist, crossing the lane of cars at a marked crossing is more attractive than crossing a lane of traffic in the middle of a busy flow.

There is a gap of about 80m for the bikes to cross that left-hand lane of traffic before the bikes-only lane. That is insufficient time for a cyclist to cope with the usual car drivers.

Sure, the people doing it are being lazy and not bothering to indicate their intention to leave the road for the shared pedestrian path (cyclists are pedestrian traffic too), but the issue still remains that they are damned if they do, damned if they don’t.

There are no dedicated footpaths in Canberra, and the few bicycle crossing lights we have were installed to address the rules about dismounting at pedestrian crossings. So you can save the expense of installing extra sets of lights at every crossing by simply repealing the “dismount when crossing” law and relying on the growing number of dashcams to provide context to any accident review.

Grail said :

Going straight ahead there for a cyclist means crossing a lane of cars. As a cyclist, crossing the lane of cars at a marked crossing is more attractive than crossing a lane of traffic in the middle of a busy flow.

There is a gap of about 80m for the bikes to cross that left-hand lane of traffic before the bikes-only lane. That is insufficient time for a cyclist to cope with the usual car drivers.

Sure, the people doing it are being lazy and not bothering to indicate their intention to leave the road for the shared pedestrian path (cyclists are pedestrian traffic too), but the issue still remains that they are damned if they do, damned if they don’t.

There are no dedicated footpaths in Canberra, and the few bicycle crossing lights we have were installed to address the rules about dismounting at pedestrian crossings. So you can save the expense of installing extra sets of lights at every crossing by simply repealing the “dismount when crossing” law and relying on the growing number of dashcams to provide context to any accident review.

I don’t think that’s correct. There is a dedicated bike lane along Captain Cook Cres, along with a dedicated bike lane at the lights for riders going straight ahead. If riders need to turn right, then okay, it may be safer to use the pedestrian crossing but that doesn’t mean they should be able to just whiz out at cyclist speed where drivers are expecting pedestrians.

And why should drivers have to install cameras just to prove who was in the wrong? How is that going to help anyone who is in a coma after riding out in front of a car?

thebrownstreak69 12:33 pm 16 Oct 13

Dilandach said :

Queen_of_the_Bun said :

For all those cyclists who say drivers should have to get out and push their cars across pedestrian crossings.

Are there really people that stupid enough to try on that dumbass argument?

There are enough stupid cyclists who nearly get cleaned up for it to be an entirely legitimate argument.

As far as putting the onus on the driver to prove it was the cyclist’s fault, probably not much of an issue. It can be kinda hard to say ‘hey you’re lying’ when you’ve been turned into raspberry jam on the road.

Postalgeek 12:33 pm 16 Oct 13

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.

True, but unlikely.

Postalgeek 12:31 pm 16 Oct 13

Queen_of_the_Bun said :

I really hate the proposal to stop cyclists dismounting before crossing a PEDESTRIAN CROSSING. The reason they are pedestrian crossings is because pedestrians are largely visible and travel at walking speed. My most anxious driving moment is turning left from Captain Cook Crescent onto Canberra Av at Manuka. Left hand turn for drivers if safe. Cyclists who are going straight ahead have their own lane. Yet the number of cyclists who prefer to use the pedestrian crossing and then go straight ahead is appalling. It is very dangerous and one of the things that really annoys drivers.

Cyclists don’t have their own lane to go straight ahead. They need to cross the left-turning lane with traffic behind in order to continue onto Manuka Circle. The Captain Cook left-hand bicycle lane ends at the pedestrian crossing. A simple look at GoogleMap satellite would confirm this.

Why is it an anxious driving moment for you? It’s a clearly marked intersection, and the crossing has clear lines of vision and pedestrian approaches. It’s not that hard, unless you’re wholly focussed on beating the traffic when turning onto Canberra Avenue.

Innovation 12:31 pm 16 Oct 13

Haven’t read the report but I think this would be a good thing. I think some countries overseas operate on this principle without any problem. Most drivers instinctively slow down when there are cyclists and pedestrians about, minimising the risk of accident or injury anyway and, probably, it would adversely affect only those drivers who insist on doing the speed limit no matter what. It might encourage an uptake of cameras too – which could only be a good thing.

As for pedestrian crossings, cyclists should be allowed to ride across provided they stop first. They shouldn’t have to dismount but they certainly shouldn’t cross at speed or without eyeballing the driver.

pink little birdie 12:25 pm 16 Oct 13

Today there was pathworks on Ginninderra Drive, edge of Lawson. They are moving the path out, making it gravel, towards the road and the fence to where the path is. There is no path on the other side of Gininderra drive. This seems Jerky to me.

TAMS could we please have a path running along Ginninderra drive all the way where Ginninderra drive bounds UC. Particuarly as construction will make that side of the road inconvient
to cycle along. (Anybody else know where I talk to TAMS to get this path)

Mysteryman 12:17 pm 16 Oct 13

“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”

I think this is a terrible idea considering the “pick-and-choose” approach to road rules that a great number of cyclists adopt.

Aeek 12:05 pm 16 Oct 13

I wonder about one legged cyclists and people riding hand cycles because their legs don’t work.

KB1971 11:50 am 16 Oct 13

Hang on, hang on, hang on…….cherry picking a couple of bits to promote your story eh?

What about this then (take from the same document):

Education and cultural change measures:
? highlight in road safety campaigns: cycling as a norm, ie a healthy, convenient and legitimate use of our roads with benefits for all road users and the community in general the accepted road user hierarchy the action or behaviour that causes crashes and injuries, rather than blaming the victim the mutual obligations of all road users to take care to avoid inuring themselves and others
and weight the allocation of campaign resources in accordance with that hierarchy;
? revise the handbooks for drivers who are new, older or of heavy vehicles
? to introduce the concept of the road user hierarchy
? to provide guidance on interacting with vulnerable road users
? the to better emphasise the road rules drivers must observe when encountering people when they are walking or riding on roads;
? assess this knowledge in practical and theoretical licence tests;
? continue with free distribution in winter of visibility aids such as bike lights
? promote among driving instructors and bus, taxi, delivery and truck delivery drivers an awareness of vulnerable road users and how best to interact with them;
? promote an awareness of road rules, responsibilities and courtesies that apply to people when they ride bicycles, through targeted programs such as those aimed at children riding to school and commuters cycling to work and those that cycling clubs conduct for new riders
? give greater priority to the safety of cyclists and pedestrians

And then there is this:

http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/whos-at-fault-when-cyclists-and-cars-collide-20131015-2vjsp.html

In submissions to an ACT Assembly inquiry into vulnerable road users, law firm Maurice Blackburn and the Motorcycle Riders Association of the ACT have both called for a feasibility study on the impact of introducing “strict liability”.

This paragraph take from the CT report.

Here is the real story: http://www.parliament.act.gov.au/in-committees/standing_committees/Planning,-Environment-and-Territory-and-Municipal-Services/inquiry-into-vulnerable-road-users

So, while Pedal Power have put in a submission, it WASNT only them that called for strict liability. Pedal Power also want to promote better behavior from riders (always have done).

Please report the facts, not the bias.

HiddenDragon 11:48 am 16 Oct 13

“Ultimate cyclist troll” – that’s a contradiction in terms – it would be like the big bang (of the universe…) in reverse, and probably a breach of bloggers’ human rights (and blog proprietors rights under competition law).

Has a RiotAct thread ever made it to four figures? – could this be the one?

laraeddy 11:38 am 16 Oct 13

Stand back, folks, this one should go off !!

For what it’s worth, as both regular cyclist and driver – nah, disagree. Presumption of guilt is a rotten principle wherever it is applied.

But as you say, Holden Caulfield, there are some good points in the rest of the submission, such as around infrastructure design, awareness raising, etc.

Guess it is the role of an advocacy organisation to overgild the lily sometimes, so that you might get a result somewhere in the reasonable middle. Though it does mean opponents will seize on the more ‘out there’ stuff to rubbish you – but they were always gonna be opponents anyway !

Grail 11:32 am 16 Oct 13

Going straight ahead there for a cyclist means crossing a lane of cars. As a cyclist, crossing the lane of cars at a marked crossing is more attractive than crossing a lane of traffic in the middle of a busy flow.

There is a gap of about 80m for the bikes to cross that left-hand lane of traffic before the bikes-only lane. That is insufficient time for a cyclist to cope with the usual car drivers.

Sure, the people doing it are being lazy and not bothering to indicate their intention to leave the road for the shared pedestrian path (cyclists are pedestrian traffic too), but the issue still remains that they are damned if they do, damned if they don’t.

There are no dedicated footpaths in Canberra, and the few bicycle crossing lights we have were installed to address the rules about dismounting at pedestrian crossings. So you can save the expense of installing extra sets of lights at every crossing by simply repealing the “dismount when crossing” law and relying on the growing number of dashcams to provide context to any accident review.

Dilandach 11:25 am 16 Oct 13

Queen_of_the_Bun said :

For all those cyclists who say drivers should have to get out and push their cars across pedestrian crossings.

Are there really people that stupid enough to try on that dumbass argument?

Queen_of_the_Bun 11:17 am 16 Oct 13

I really hate the proposal to stop cyclists dismounting before crossing a PEDESTRIAN CROSSING. The reason they are pedestrian crossings is because pedestrians are largely visible and travel at walking speed. My most anxious driving moment is turning left from Captain Cook Crescent onto Canberra Av at Manuka. Left hand turn for drivers if safe. Cyclists who are going straight ahead have their own lane. Yet the number of cyclists who prefer to use the pedestrian crossing and then go straight ahead is appalling. It is very dangerous and one of the things that really annoys drivers.

For all those cyclists who say drivers should have to get out and push their cars across pedestrian crossings, I just say, we are only allowed to drive on the road. We don’t have the luxury of riding in bike lanes or the footpath or on the road. If we drove on the footpath, we would very rightly be punished.

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