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Kudos to ACT politician for admitting his mistake

By Anne Treasure - 16 March 2017 12

strava parton

After suggesting that Strava data could be used to track and penalise people riding bikes too fast around Canberra, Liberal Mark Parton has called the idea “the silliest thing I’ve said publicly since being elected”.

“It didn’t take much examination for me to realize that the suggestion was ludicrous.”

Mr Parton rides regularly around Canberra, and commutes from his home in Tuggeranong to the Legislative Assembly. He tracks his activity with Strava, clocking 62.6 km/h an hour on one segment recently.

The speed limit for shared paths is 50km/h.

Mr Parton made the suggestion about tracking cycling speeds during a discussion with Minister for Transport Meegan Fitzharris at an ACT parliamentary hearing on Thursday. When Ms Fitzharris expressed concern about people on bikes speeding on shared paths, Mr Parton said she should look at Strava data.

“Every hard-core cyclist is on Strava. They have a digital record that’s public as to how fast they’re traveling and specifically where they’ve done it.”

Mr Parton isn’t the first to suggest that Strava could be used as a tool for governing bodies to improve conditions for active travel. But he may be the first politician to have his Strava-habit on the public record.

Strava data is notoriously inaccurate for measuring speed, as commenters on Mr Parton’s Facebook post were quick to point out. And of course, not everyone who rides a bike is on Strava, and nor would they be if it was used as a tool to punish riders.

There is certainly room for improvement when it comes to educating certain members of the cycling community about sharing public spaces safely. No matter if you’re riding a bike, walking or driving a car, it is the responsibility of every member of society to obey the law and be respectful of other people.

Bikes are the top of the Canberra shared-path hierarchy, so bike riders should act accordingly: assess the situation, give warnings or slow down if necessary, and be safe around vulnerable path users.

Most Canberra bike riders do this willingly. Calls to police and punish a whole segment of society for the actions of a couple of cycling hoons are, to use Mark Parton’s word, ‘ludicrous’.

Anne Treasure is the Communications Manager for Pedal Power ACT. She writes on bike riding in the ACT from the perspective of a lapsed bicycle rider who should be cycling more. 

 

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12 Responses to
Kudos to ACT politician for admitting his mistake
1
rommeldog56 7:50 am
16 Mar 17
#

The speed limit on “shared” paths is 50 kph ? Seriously ? Thats incredibly fast on often poorly maintained, narrow paths that are “shared” with vulnerable path users such as pedestrians and puppy dogs.

2
Holden Caulfield 8:50 am
16 Mar 17
#

“Bikes are the top of the Canberra shared-path hierarchy…”

I understand your point, but strictly speaking aren’t cyclists required to give way to pedestrians?

3
Anne Treasure 9:01 am
16 Mar 17
#

rommeldog56 said :

The speed limit on “shared” paths is 50 kph ? Seriously ? Thats incredibly fast on often poorly maintained, narrow paths that are “shared” with vulnerable path users such as pedestrians and puppy dogs.

Yep, agreed – and most bike riders who want to go that fast usually ride on the road so they don’t have to worry about vulnerable path users.

The 50km/h limit is strange because that’s what the limit is for vehicles in suburban areas, not just for bikes. Have a look at this Curious Canberra segment, we actually advise that paths around Canberra are more suited to a limit of around 30km/h.

http://www.pedalpower.org.au/news/is-there-a-speed-limit-for-bikes-on-a-footpath/

4
Rollersk8r 10:16 am
16 Mar 17
#

Well it wasn’t really a mistake – it was just poorly thought out – and extremely impractical. But that didn’t stop a whole bunch of people jumping in and agreeing it’s a police issue; that the police have got no higher priority than being out there on the bike path pulling up people on bikes…

5
Anne Treasure 1:17 pm
16 Mar 17
#

Holden Caulfield said :

“Bikes are the top of the Canberra shared-path hierarchy…”

I understand your point, but strictly speaking aren’t cyclists required to give way to pedestrians?

Well, they’re the top of the hierarchy in the same way elephants are in the jungle, or container trucks are on the road. I haven’t factored in segways though, so perhaps we now need to reassess the shared path hierarchy completely.

6
Anne Treasure 1:19 pm
16 Mar 17
#

Rollersk8r said :

Well it wasn’t really a mistake – it was just poorly thought out – and extremely impractical. But that didn’t stop a whole bunch of people jumping in and agreeing it’s a police issue; that the police have got no higher priority than being out there on the bike path pulling up people on bikes…

Can you imagine how many more police and policing resources we’d need, if they had to be out with speed detection gear on all the paths around Canberra?

7
Blen_Carmichael 1:44 pm
16 Mar 17
#

Holden Caulfield said :

“Bikes are the top of the Canberra shared-path hierarchy…”

I understand your point, but strictly speaking aren’t cyclists required to give way to pedestrians?

This reminds me of the shared zones on Bunda Street, where the ‘Give Way to Pedestrians’ flags feature prominently. Drivers, usually with the exception of interstate vehicles, seem to get it. Cyclists don’t. I pass by these zones every weekday, and I’ve yet to see a cyclist stop.

Just this week I witnessed a cyclist barrelling down Genge Street, ringing his bell furiously at the pedestrians on the shared zone and giving them a spray for not getting out of the way. Charming bloke. Perhaps he too thinks bikes are at the top of the Canberra shared-zone hierarchy?

8
Acton 7:29 pm
16 Mar 17
#

Anne:

Would you like to give an opinion on the consequences to a pedestrian (adult or child) if and when a cyclist travelling at 30km/h (or possibly 50 km/h) collides with the pedestrian?

Would you say that a high speed collision between a cyclist and a pedestrian on a shared path, resulting in serious injury or death to the pedestrian, is likely, possible or impossible?

Observing the behaviour of both erratic pedestrians and speeding cyclists around Lake Burley Griffin, one has to predict the reasonable probability of a serious accident on the shared path, most likely on the stretch from just before the Art Gallery, to just past the National Library. I have seen many near misses here.

In the interests of public safety, the ACT Minister for Transport should implement a ban on high-speed cyclists from using the shared path around Lake Burley Griffin particularly, as well as the other high usage shared paths. These paths are suitable for a leisurely scenic family cycle around the lake, but not for aspiring Olympians doing 30+ km/h. The safety of pedestrians must take precedence over the convenience and aspirations of hoon cyclists.

When driving a car you must provide a minimum distance of 1 metre when overtaking a cyclist. Why not have a similar rule such as: ‘When riding a bicycle you must provide a minimum distance of 1 metre when overtaking a pedestrian’?

Finally, I’m sure Pedal Power has seen these reports, which highlight the danger of inaction:

http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/pedestrian-emily-greenwood-run-down-by-cyclist-20150105-12iii9.html

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-10-26/pedestrians-can-sue-if-hit-by-cyclist-transport-minister-warns/6884570

http://www.theage.com.au/news/national/charge-for-hell-ride-death/2006/09/14/1157827073077.html

So surely it is in the long term strategic interest of the cycling community for Pedal Power to lobby the ACT Government to ban high-speed cyclists from the popular shared paths around the lake, rather than wait for the inevitable tragic accident to happen.

9
gazket 8:49 pm
16 Mar 17
#

“The speed limit for shared paths is 50km/h”

The same speed I can do on a proper lane marked, kerb and gutter road through my suburb and 10kph faster than town centre speed limits which were introduced under the guise of pedestrian safety that seemed to have popped up everywhere in the ACT where there is a shop .

how’s that make any sense at all………. ACT Government = Kookoo kookoo

The ACT gov is full of favoritism for certain sections of the community, the rest of the majority can go eat cake.

10
Paul2913 10:47 pm
16 Mar 17
#

Cycling on the road is unsafe for cyclists due to cars.

Cycling on the previously designated bike paths that have been now designated as shared paths is unsafe for pedestrians.

The answer is obvious… roads are for cars, bike paths are for bicycles, and foot paths are for pedestrians. It’s easy Canberra, let’s get it happening.

11
Anne Treasure 7:55 am
17 Mar 17
#

Acton said :

Anne:

Would you like to give an opinion on the consequences to a pedestrian (adult or child) if and when a cyclist travelling at 30km/h (or possibly 50 km/h) collides with the pedestrian?

Would you say that a high speed collision between a cyclist and a pedestrian on a shared path, resulting in serious injury or death to the pedestrian, is likely, possible or impossible?

Observing the behaviour of both erratic pedestrians and speeding cyclists around Lake Burley Griffin, one has to predict the reasonable probability of a serious accident on the shared path, most likely on the stretch from just before the Art Gallery, to just past the National Library. I have seen many near misses here.

In the interests of public safety, the ACT Minister for Transport should implement a ban on high-speed cyclists from using the shared path around Lake Burley Griffin particularly, as well as the other high usage shared paths. These paths are suitable for a leisurely scenic family cycle around the lake, but not for aspiring Olympians doing 30+ km/h. The safety of pedestrians must take precedence over the convenience and aspirations of hoon cyclists.

When driving a car you must provide a minimum distance of 1 metre when overtaking a cyclist. Why not have a similar rule such as: ‘When riding a bicycle you must provide a minimum distance of 1 metre when overtaking a pedestrian’?

Finally, I’m sure Pedal Power has seen these reports, which highlight the danger of inaction:

http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/pedestrian-emily-greenwood-run-down-by-cyclist-20150105-12iii9.html

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-10-26/pedestrians-can-sue-if-hit-by-cyclist-transport-minister-warns/6884570

http://www.theage.com.au/news/national/charge-for-hell-ride-death/2006/09/14/1157827073077.html

So surely it is in the long term strategic interest of the cycling community for Pedal Power to lobby the ACT Government to ban high-speed cyclists from the popular shared paths around the lake, rather than wait for the inevitable tragic accident to happen.

It is certainly in our interests to make sure that all people who ride bicycles in the ACT are respectful and share the paths safely with pedestrians. It is not, however, our intention to lobby the government to ban bike riding on shared paths.

We advise that 30km/h is probably the upper speed-limit that people on bikes should be observing on shared paths. See this video: http://www.pedalpower.org.au/news/is-there-a-speed-limit-for-bikes-on-a-footpath/

That said, one thing that we are definitely in favour of is separated infrastructure, segregating bike riders from pedestrians with dedicated cycle paths. It’s the only way to make sure that pedestrians and bike riders stay safe. That is something we will absolutely advocate for.

12
crackerpants 10:19 am
17 Mar 17
#

Anne Treasure said :

Acton said :

Anne:

Would you like to give an opinion on the consequences to a pedestrian (adult or child) if and when a cyclist travelling at 30km/h (or possibly 50 km/h) collides with the pedestrian?

Would you say that a high speed collision between a cyclist and a pedestrian on a shared path, resulting in serious injury or death to the pedestrian, is likely, possible or impossible?

Observing the behaviour of both erratic pedestrians and speeding cyclists around Lake Burley Griffin, one has to predict the reasonable probability of a serious accident on the shared path, most likely on the stretch from just before the Art Gallery, to just past the National Library. I have seen many near misses here.

In the interests of public safety, the ACT Minister for Transport should implement a ban on high-speed cyclists from using the shared path around Lake Burley Griffin particularly, as well as the other high usage shared paths. These paths are suitable for a leisurely scenic family cycle around the lake, but not for aspiring Olympians doing 30+ km/h. The safety of pedestrians must take precedence over the convenience and aspirations of hoon cyclists.

When driving a car you must provide a minimum distance of 1 metre when overtaking a cyclist. Why not have a similar rule such as: ‘When riding a bicycle you must provide a minimum distance of 1 metre when overtaking a pedestrian’?

Finally, I’m sure Pedal Power has seen these reports, which highlight the danger of inaction:

http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/pedestrian-emily-greenwood-run-down-by-cyclist-20150105-12iii9.html

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-10-26/pedestrians-can-sue-if-hit-by-cyclist-transport-minister-warns/6884570

http://www.theage.com.au/news/national/charge-for-hell-ride-death/2006/09/14/1157827073077.html

So surely it is in the long term strategic interest of the cycling community for Pedal Power to lobby the ACT Government to ban high-speed cyclists from the popular shared paths around the lake, rather than wait for the inevitable tragic accident to happen.

It is certainly in our interests to make sure that all people who ride bicycles in the ACT are respectful and share the paths safely with pedestrians. It is not, however, our intention to lobby the government to ban bike riding on shared paths.

We advise that 30km/h is probably the upper speed-limit that people on bikes should be observing on shared paths. See this video: http://www.pedalpower.org.au/news/is-there-a-speed-limit-for-bikes-on-a-footpath/

That said, one thing that we are definitely in favour of is separated infrastructure, segregating bike riders from pedestrians with dedicated cycle paths. It’s the only way to make sure that pedestrians and bike riders stay safe. That is something we will absolutely advocate for.

Acton was proposing to ban *high speed* cyclists from one particular circuit, not all cyclists from shared paths.

I like the 1 metre idea, except that it would require cyclists to leave the path, which they can’t do because, as I understand it, their bike tyres are made of butter or clouds or something. All I can suggest is that my fellow runners continue to jump out of the way (using our durable, rubber-and-plastic clad feet) when they sense silent death approaching.

(Slight tongue-in-cheek – all power to the recreational cyclist, but Jeez Louise they can be massive jerks on shared paths).

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