13 October 2006

Liberals want bike lanes scratched

| Kerces
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The ACT Opposition wants the Government to spend a whole lot of money getting rid of the on-road cycle lanes they have spent lots of money on over the past few years.

Steve Pratt was outraged by an NRMA report which showed 40 per cent of cyclists had accidents or near misses while using the cycle lanes last year. The same report criticised the width of the cycle lanes and the way the Government had made car lanes narrower rather than choosing the expensive option of widening the roadway to make room for bicycles.

Interestingly the report (which I can’t find on their website) did not mention any figures for accidents or near misses in the previous year for comparison.

Mr Pratt told the ABC the cycle lanes made it difficult for “cars turning left into crossroad intersections [and] cars turning into driveways”.

“It’s very unsafe for cyclists in those sorts of conditions, so we would seek to have road cycle lanes removed under those conditions,” he said.

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The idea that car lanes in the ACT are so narrow as to be unsafe is a joke. Have any of you ever driven in Sydney or Melbourne? Hahaha

As a cyclist (not a hardcore lycra one though) and a motorist I agree that the magical green lanes are stupid.

However – where the hell are bikes supposed to ride?

People here are saying:
1. The road is no good (I agree considering that the speed difference between car & bike is often over 40km/h on most roads).
2. The footpath is no good (I partially agree – riding your bike on the path requires you to take a slower pace and waste more energy in braking. However the speed differential between pedestrians and bikes is lower – probably about 15km/h. Very few pedestrians have been killed by bikes in comparison to cyclists killed by cars.)

I personally try to ride on “suburban” streets where the speed limit is 50km/h (although most canberrans speed anyway).

I do use the footpath on occasion and use pedestrian malls like Civic but I make sure I’m not riding any faster than 20km/h and am watching pedestrians VERY closely (infact most of my stacks have been avoiding pedestrians doing stupid and unpredictable things – however they’ve never been touched and I’ve ended up with the gravel rash).

I ALWAYS follow the road rules (as if I were driving a motor vehicle) and dismount at pedestrian crossings at busy locations and slow to walking pace (with no dismount) at others.

Surely that isn’t so bad? I understand that we all have to share – but it is a bit rough that bikes have no “natural” home. Offroad cycle paths are lovely but they’re often no good for commuting to work (don’t go where you really need them).

The problem is the reduced width of the car lanes. I would be okay with cycle lanes, if the car lanes remained a safe width. Main example is Northbourne Ave, where road width should have been increased. Most large trucks and buses enter Canberra this way from Federal or Barton highway. Many times, I have been behind or beside a truck or bus that just cannot fit in the lane, this is not safe.

I was crossing northborne into dickson and the lights had stopped and a cyclist who was riding on the road decided that the road rules didn’t apply the him. I went through the intersection thinking he would stop along with all the other traffic at the lights – but no – he continued to ride and I had to slam on my breaks in the middle of the road. The F*ckwit then had the nerve to hurl abuse at me.
So does anyone know what the rules are?
Do they have to obey the road rules?? can they be fined?

It’s hard sometimes, I agree. There must be weird fumes in Excels, turning ordinary nondescript people into creatures with zero ability to pilot a motor vehicle, zero manners and the most amazing attitude to every other road user.

Look Ant, I’m happy to tolerate just about anything on the road, but asking me to put up with P plate Excel drivers is taking it too far!

I do try to share the road with whoever else is on it. Cyclists (even those lying-down ones), walkers, horses, motorbikes. Even P plated Excels. It’s not hard, generally. Sometimes if you want to turn left and there’s a cyclist treadling desperately away, it’s do-able to pause a few seconds and drop back behind him. I see a lot of idiot drivers putting all these other road users at risk and wonder what is going on in their brains.

but, what presses my buttons is when a cyclist is demanding their Rights to be on the road, but then the next minute they are riding across a pedestrian crossing!

I don’t know why cyclists would want to share the road with cars given the almost universal incompetence of Canberra motorists.

What I find annoying is that cyclists want to have it three ways simultaneously – to be a road user when it suits, to have the use of the walking/bike paths (often scaring pedestrians to death by not ringing their bell when approaching hell for leather from behind), and also being able to whiz nonchalantly across pedestrian crossings. There needs to be some consistency and consideration.

I am also both a cyclist and a motorist at different times and have seen both groups acting like tossers on various occassions.

I suppose the main idea is that there is room for everyone to use the roads safely, providing all concerned behave in a sensible and considerate manner, and don’t generally behave like ignorant wankers.

That be right Mr Evil – can’t remember where it was said that Mr Mulcahy did nay like pedestrian malls, something about them being a waste of time and that of the ones he meandered through whilst on summer break in Europe were useless (or something).

This coming from the Liberals doesn’t surprise me.

We all know that if Mulcahy had his way there’d be cars wizzing around Garema Place and City Walk.

oh, and on the motorbike thing … there’s drivers that never saw the guy on the bike – and then there’s drivers that just say they never saw the guy on the bike …

I don’t know JB – I suspect that the type of chap who kick your rearview mirror off is the sort of chap whose ready to pound said hapless owner of mirror and being beated senceless with your own club-lock would only add to the embarrassment of coping a hiding from a lycra-clad cyclist!


This government seems far more reactive than proactive – unfortunately I think that is what it might take.

yes but should we wait for a death before doing anything?

But that’s he thing, Avacry. The statistics are just put as facts, there’s no comparison to say if indeed this is an increase (or not).

This is probably the best thing to come out of Pratt’s office. If the statistics are accurate that accidents have increased since the introduction of these lanes it proves that the whole idea was a complete disaster. I wonder if from the Pedal Power perspective they are happy or guilty with what they were given.

Personally I wouldn’t mind tax payers money being spent on these being abolished.

Speed differential is often one of the big factors in any accident.

Does VG have any comments about this?

At least motor cyclists are travelling the same speeds as cars. I make a note of keeping greater distances from motorcyclists because in a braking emergency you know whats going to happen.

…until he’s in the lane next to me and I decide to swerve.


Don’t try it on a motorcyclist though, a dude in body armour would get it off you and really make you miserable.

“it’d be pretty embarrassing to get your mirror knocked off and then be on the wrong end of a flogging by a lycra-clad cyclist!”

Two words: Club Lock

In Denmark they have cycle lanes, but they are actually separated from the traffic by steel fences (like the barriers at tramstops in Melbourne). I think the ACT govt should have made less cycle lanes, but put more effort into them and made them safer.

The green paint areas are scary on busy roads like the corner of Northbourne and Antill Sts, and the end of the Commonwealth Ave Bridge, southbound. In the mornings most of the fast moving traffic wants to turn left and in the madness of fast lane changes etc it would be so easy not to see a cyclist. I saw a scary confrontation there once between a cyclist and a bus. The cyclist was in the right – but insane to play chicken with a bus.

“if a cyclist kicked my mirrors off at the lights, id drag him from his bike and thrash him.”

I agree completely, and would do the same.

Neither the start or the finish join any other path, it’s just a white line painted on a section of the road for no apparent reason except to call it a bike lane.

Just guessing here BT, but I’d say some-one’s pay was based on rolling out a certain number of metres of bike path and that 70 metres is contributing to their total.

Bonfire, you sound pretty confident there … it’d be pretty embarrassing to get your mirror knocked off and then be on the wrong end of a flogging by a lycra-clad cyclist!

LG the riding close to the vehicle land could be to reduce puncture risk – those skinny tyres on the flash race bikes are pretty thin and most of the crap that ends up on the road gradually makes its way to the sides where the bike lanes are … I’ll be the first to agree that it sounds dumb – especially increasing the risk of getting shafted by car to reduce the risk of a flat tyre, but there you go.

if a cyclist kicked my mirrors off at the lights, id drag him from his bike and thrash him.

all cyclists are selfish.

they should stick to the offroad cycle paths.

Quick question for those that use the cycle lanes – do you ride:
a) in the cycle lane, close to the curb
b) in the middle of the cycle lane
c) on the white strip separating the cycle lane from the road.

I just ask because when the ABC covered this story last night, they showed a cyclist using the cycle lane, but he was practically riding on the white line against the road (see answer ‘c’ above). I wouldn’t be suprised that there are so many near misses if most cyclists ride on the ‘road side’ of the cycle lane.

barking toad9:22 am 13 Oct 06

Slightly OT, but can anyone explain the logic behind the bike lane on the new roadworks on Newcastle street opposite simon the sad’s gift to developers, aka Epicentre.

Half way along a bike lane suddenly appears and about 70 metres later it just as suddenly stops. Even with a sign to state the bleedin’ obvious.

Neither the start or the finish join any other path, it’s just a white line painted on a section of the road for no apparent reason except to call it a bike lane. And it gives cyclists no protection from cars because it hasn’t been sprayed with magic green paint. Maybe the cyclist parachutes in to the start and is extracted by helicopter when the white line finishes.

Was this designed by one of those gay recumbent cyclists?

Fair call VY. The cycle lanes are a good idea. Cyclists rode their bikes there anyway. They should have widened the roads to do it though.

This is a really good example of a situation where common sense should prevail. Having cyclists cut across lanes of traffic moving at 80km/h is not particularly safe (note here that I am both a cyclist and a motorist at different times of day). When I ride, I make it my responsibility to not be in the way of cars traveling 60km/h (or more) faster than I am.

What really shits me is when you see a bike path next to the road, and the cyclist is on the road. I know sometimes that roads are easier to ride on, but from a safety point of view this is madness.

The cyclist lobby needs to grow a brain and realise that roads are designed for cars, and that although we can legislate that bikes are legal road vehicles, ultimately the rider is the one who comes off second best in an altercation with a moving car. Accordingly, I ride routes I am comfortable with, rather than getting on my moral hobby horse about how cars should be giving way.

Thats what will happen to cylists.

Weired loons like Pedal Pwer have at times called for a 40km/h suburban speed limit because cyclits feel intimidated by cars. Probably the same loons that like to wear sweaty lycra around Manuka having their skinny soy decaf ‘cino.

At least with dedicated off road bike paths cyclists do not have to avoid the stinking rotting road kill lying on the side of our roads.

captainwhorebags8:44 am 13 Oct 06

Bike lanes are a good idea, but the green lanes of death on the exits are dangerous. I know a few riders who believe the it’d be far safer for cars to have right of way on the high speed exits, particularly on Adelaide Ave.

I’m in favour of registration and licencing of all road users, including cyclists. It shouldn’t be a financial impost (just enough to cover the cost of the plates, or $10/$20 a year), and would hopefully make cyclists think twice before breaking road rules.

Of course, I’m sure it’s only a very small minority of cyclists who give the rest a bad image. I’ve seen cycling forums where members boast how “yeah, the driver blasted his horn at me, but it’s fine because I kicked his side mirror off at the next set of lights”. Hardly a win for good cyclist/driver attitudes.

the bike lanes scare the life out of me, i refuse to ride in them or drive next to them. too many wallys on both sides of the driving/biking fence.

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