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More Complaints Regarding Motorists and Cyclists

By Kent Street - 11 October 2009 105

Now I like to ride a bike as much as the next person, but I’m getting more than a little cheesed off with some of the goings-on around here.

I fully realise that I am leaving myself open to a torrent of abuse from the cycling community but here goes …

  • Why have the powers-that-be decided that there should be cycling lanes on roads when there are already dedicated tracks parallel to the road?Take, for example, what has happened to the south-bound lanes of Streeton drive at Weston. On an already busy road, with a dedicated parallel cycling track, someone has taken the decision to remove a full lane of motorist trafic and convert it to a cycling lane. I’ve tried, but I can’t think of any logical reason for this. What gives?
  • How can cyclists possibly expect cars to stop for them on pedestrian crossings when they are not travelling at pedestrian speed?As an example, when dropping my son off at school, I turn left off Athlon Drive [heading north] on to Beasly street at Melrose High School. On too many occasions there have been cyclists riding in the same direction that leave the cycle path and scoot across the pedestrian crossing in front of me. With barely a look they expect motorists to know they are coming and be able to stop. I’m really surprised that there aren’t more accidents on that intersection.

Has anyone else noticed anything simliar?

What’s Your opinion?


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105 Responses to
More Complaints Regarding Motorists and Cyclists
Deckard 5:42 pm 11 Oct 09

Is this a set up?

Woody Mann-Caruso 5:33 pm 11 Oct 09

Has anyone else noticed anything similar?

No. I’ve never seen a cycling thread on The RiotACT before.

Horrid 5:28 pm 11 Oct 09

Interesting that the OP predicted a ‘torrent of abuse’ from cyclists, and then the only abusive comment so far (no 1) was aimed not at the OP but at cyclists.

Yep, as others have confirmed, everyone in the cycling world knows that the primary objective of reducing the traffic lanes down to a single lane on Streeton Drive was for reasons unrelated to cycling. The cycle lane was put in just to do something useful with the leftover road space. All this could have been found out simply by phoning up TAMS and asking them, in less time than it takes to put the post up on Riot ACT and unnecessarily stirring up the red-neck anti-cycling brigade yet again. How many times must this same question be answered?

As for bike paths next to bike lanes, perhaps 5% of the total cycle lane network has what most Canberrans would describe as a proper bike path (as opposed to a footpath) next to it, and where they do, these often force cyclists to lose right of way at each intersection, making it sensible to give commuter cyclists a faster and fairer option. The amount of duplication is negligible, and yet the little there is always seems to enrage people who understand perfectly well why big fast roads for through traffic run often alongside small quiet roads for local access, and yet don’t apply the same reasoning to a different vehicle type.

As for people doing the wrong thing on pedestrian crossings, why not take your frustrations out on those people directly, on the spot, instead of posting them here? As a motorist, I am not responsible for the actions irresponsible actions of other motorists who I don’t even know- ditto as a cyclist.

cranky 4:32 pm 11 Oct 09

Travelling the Federal Highway yesterday morning, groups of cyclists were passed as they pedalled north.

In these days of OH+S, who in their right mind thinks pushies on the same road as 110Kph+ traffic is acceptable.

A wrong move by any of the participants is going to end in tragedy.

Beau Locks 4:30 pm 11 Oct 09

Goodness me. As a responsible cycling commuter, I have reason to be routinely incensed by the attitude of motorists. Not once, but twice in the last week I’ve had someone fail to give way to me and then abuse me.

I would like to make this point: cycle paths are slow. Not only that, they’re dangerous if you’re riding at high speed, because they are used by pedestrians, dogs, and slow cyclists. Not only that, they’re generally in poor repair. They also usually take a circuitous route, and force one to repeatedly stop and give way at road crossings.

Perhaps a good analogy would be to suggest that a motorist wishing to go from Tuggeronong to Civic do so on a windy, pot-holed, unsealed road full of people participating in a vintage car Sunday drive, and do so traveling via Belconnen town centre. I say this because, for my daily commute, I reckon that’d approximate the time difference between taking cycle paths and hammering along on the excellent surface of the on-road cycling network without having to constantly slow down.

It’s been interesting reading the various letters to the editor in The Crimes lately, with various anti-cycling punters suggesting we take a leaf out of Melbourne’s book regarding fining cyclists for riding in parks. I agree–riding at dangerously high speeds when you’re surrounded by pedestrians is not sensible. What you will not find in Melbourne, however, is the extraordinary bigotry that we have here in Canberra. Riding there is a joy. It’s flat, and there’s good on road cycling infrastructure. More importantly, however, is the attitude of motorists–far more enlightened souls than the selfish lot we have here. I grew up in Canberra, and I’m constantly defending the joint, but sometimes I find myself at a loss. To the bigots: be thankful we’ve got such a great road network for cars–you could be living in any other city in the world.

dvaey 3:46 pm 11 Oct 09

On a related note, whats up with the slip lanes coming into Drakeford Drive out of Kambah? There used to be a nice slip-lane space for half a dozen cars to wait in for a gap in the traffic, then someone decided to put a bike lane in (where there has been a crossing already for decades), which made the slip lanes about 2 car-lengths long, and puts the cars at about a 45 degree angle to oncoming traffic as opposed to a nice easy 10-15 degree angle that was previously there.

As for Streeton Drive, there is a path that runs past the skate park, under some underpasses and straight into Weston Ck. A friend many years ago used to ride a motor-scooter and occasionally rode (illegally) along that path because it is more direct than the roadway. Similar story to Ginninderra Dr, over the bridge near Lake Ginninderra, where there is a bike lane which shares its left edge with a bike path, which then veers away from the road and directly towards the town centre.

goose 2:54 pm 11 Oct 09

Ban bikes from roads, they don’t belong on them.

arescarti42 2:25 pm 11 Oct 09

thomped2 said :

If they want to ride on the road it should be ilegal on roads above 60kph.
the spead difference is way to much!!! who the hell in their right mind would ride a bike 1 foot away from a car or truck that is going 50KPH faster than you…
stupid.

Good point, all roads should be lowered to 60kmph unless there is a bike path adjacent so retard motorists don’t run over cyclists. The “spead” difference definitely is too much, should be “ilegal” to drive so quickly past cyclists.

caf 12:31 pm 11 Oct 09

The Streeton Drive thing has been raised before here, and it turned out that the removal of the car lane was incidental to the addition of the cycling lane – it was done for unrelated traffic management reasons, do to with accidents at some intersection.

astrojax 12:13 pm 11 Oct 09

to add to gnt’s excellent comment, many of the bike lanes on roads that have a cycle/pedestrian path parallel only have it parallel for some of the way and the path doesn’t conveniently take the commuting cyclist whence s/he wants to go.

i also agree with gnt on pedestrian crossings and, while i know i err technically against the ‘cyclists dismount’ signs, i always slow down to walking pace and wait until motorists acknowledge me and signal me to cross, which i rekkun is easier all round – esp for cyclists with clip in shoes, which can be slippery and difficult on bike/pedestrian paths. feel free to yell at those who barge across at cycling speeds and even nudge forward and scare them into thinking you’ll not stop..! ; )

Aeek 11:49 am 11 Oct 09

Streeton drive was discussed earlier. Apparently they wanted to restrict the road there but didn’t have the budget to do it properly, so painted a cycle lane as a means to their end.

cross 11:21 am 11 Oct 09

Yep same crossing, same corner and I got a mouthful of expletives from the rider !

GnT 10:46 am 11 Oct 09

To answer your first question: Because the government has made a commitment to put cycle lanes on all major roads, regardless if they have a parallel cycle path. Many roads do not have parallel cycle paths, and bike lanes make it much quicker and more direct if you are using your bike for transport (as opposed to leisure or fitness). The cycle paths can cause problems for cyclists since they are not, as you say “dedicated parallel cycling track[s]”; rather, they are shared paths which pedestrians also use. Putting bike lanes on all major roads benefits the community in many ways; it benefits cyclists, who have a more convenient route; it benefits pedestrians, who are not going to get knocked over by fast bikes; it benefits the environment and the roads by encouraging more people to cycle; and thus it benefits the motorist by reducing the number of cars on the road.

To answer your second question: you are right, cyclists should not expect cars to stop for them on pedestrian crossings if they are not going at pedestrian speed.

OYM 10:18 am 11 Oct 09

Here we go again. These arguments have already been done to death on RiotACT.

If you really want to get angry, get angry with car drivers. For all the bitching about bicycles, they are not our problem cars are.

Recent articles in the Canberra Times highlight how often car drivers are driving drunk, killing and maiming themselves and others, texting while driving etc. This is something to get angry about.

Even the hoary old chestnut about cyclists running red lights is a furphy. A recent survey I read showed that more car drivers (as a percentage) run red lights more often than bicycle riders.

The Streeton Dr lane is far from ideal. It’s construction was more about making it safer for cars turning out from Namitjira than about cycling. It was also a poor example to use as there really isn’t an adequate cyclepath that leads up to Rivett and Chapman from the City.

thomped2 9:54 am 11 Oct 09

If they want to ride on the road it should be ilegal on roads above 60kph.
the spead difference is way to much!!! who the hell in their right mind would ride a bike 1 foot away from a car or truck that is going 50KPH faster than you…
stupid.

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