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Motorist on Hindmarsh Drive

By thy_dungeonman 15 November 2011 29

Well it seems the cyclist/motorist debate is starting to liven up again so I thought I would add some fuel to the fire. Around 12pm on Friday I was riding on east on the path next to hind-marsh drive where it goes under the parkway and when I got to the pedestrian crossing across the slip lane that leads to the parkway on-ramp from the west-bound side of hind-marsh drive, I of course stopped. Like a good cyclist I don’t walk across crossing but I do stop and look for traffic and don’t take it for granted that cars will stop and I usually wait for one to stop rather than trying to force them to, after all if I’m as still as a pedestrian (and I ride a big yellow bike, hard to miss) and I also get across the crossing faster it’s more convenient for me and the motorist.

On this occasion the first car went straight through the crossing quite fast and the next one a blue car (a Mazda perhaps) stopped for me kindly and so I moved off, but just before I did so a red hatchback driving quite fast came to a screaming halt behind the blue car (which had was stationary for a little while already) almost hitting it in the back and beeped. I gave the blue car my usual friendly wave as I do for cars that are good enough to stop for me and I feel sorry for the fact that because they had been a polite and careful motorist some idiot almost rear ended them (surely he must have known there was a pedestrian crossing there).

So while there are good cyclists and motorists, there are also bad motorists and cyclists and in order to be one of the former all you need to do is be alert to other road (and path) users and prepared to sacrifice your commuting flow in order to avoid accident as well as anger. That said some smarter infrastructure wouldn’t also hurt.

What’s Your opinion?


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Motorist on Hindmarsh Drive
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Thoroughly Smashed 11:42 am 23 Nov 11

milkman said :

Thoroughly Smashed said :

Solidarity said :

thy_dungeonman said :

Solidarity said :

We have bigger problems on our roads than a few cyclists who don’t dismount.

exactly

But be aware that if you are struck on a pedestrian crossing, and you haven’t dismounted, you are at fault.

That’s pretty simplistic…

Yet entirely accurate.

Not at all.

johnboy 10:32 am 23 Nov 11

I’ve always thought the last thing motorists want is to sit waiting while I dismount and walk the bike.

Having said that approaching crossings slowly is crucial.

But while in pedestrian areas I make a point of staying in low gear.

Simmo 10:23 am 23 Nov 11

milkman said :

Thoroughly Smashed said :

Solidarity said :

thy_dungeonman said :

Solidarity said :

We have bigger problems on our roads than a few cyclists who don’t dismount.

exactly

But be aware that if you are struck on a pedestrian crossing, and you haven’t dismounted, you are at fault.

That’s pretty simplistic…

Yet entirely accurate.

That’s not entirely accurate. By your reasoning, if I see a seven year old kid riding over the crossing I can aim for him and it will be his fault. I don’t think so. The person in charge of any vehicle on a public road is supposed to avoid an accident where possible.
Whilst cyclists are supposed to dismount what difference does it make if a cyclist is approaching and riding over at walking pace? It must be so hard for drivers to move their foot to apply the brake a little.

Martyn94 8:48 am 23 Nov 11

thy_dungeonman said :

Martyn94 said :

There is an easier question here. Why on earth does anyone use the path when they can use the bike lane on Hindmarsh Drive. The path is longer, slower, harder work and the surface is lousy. There is conflict with pedestrians (less so than going the other way, but still some). It is less convenient if you want to turn off where there is no 4-way junction (as I do at Weston, and often at Woden, going the other way). And it is much more dangerous, for the reasons you discovered. You are a vehicle: you are entitled (and certainly very well advised) to use the major road unless there is an express prohibition, rather than expect cars to stop for bikes on a pedestrian crossing where there are never any pedestrians (on any other of the hundreds or thousands of times a year that they cross that crossing on auto-pilot).

And you might make the car-driving whingers whinge a bit less if there a few more cyclists actually using the bike lanes they moan about. (As a regular visitor to Canberra from a real city, rather than the garden variety, it always amuses me to hear people complain about the “rush-hour”: you don’t know you’re born.)

I ride from waramanga so in order to use the lane (the one that follows car traffic to woden) I would have go really far out of my way to get on it in the first place (the closest underpass is located after this pedestrian crossing) and then when I want to get off it to go to the bus interchange I would have to do the same whereas the paths goes from door to door (although I use the low-peed road when I reach the suburb itself). The only problem I have with the path is where it intersects (awfully) with launceston street.

I cannot critise anyone who uses the paths out of a rational consideration of the costs and benefits. As an occasional visitor, I have the problem that I don’t know where they go (it seems that there was once a map, but it is long since out of print – a telling, if not surprising, comment on Canberra’s green credentials). My limited experience says that they can be very good over short distances, but wander all over the place if you want to go more than a km or two – or lead you into danger when they push you onto busy roads, at inappropriate places, and suddenly (like Launceston St, in various places). The original poster was talking about riding parallel to Hindmarsh Drive – if that is what you want to do, riding the road is a no-brainer. Going to Waramanga from Weston, I also go on the road – there may be a path for all I know, but I’m stuffed if I want to learn it for a trip I do once a year. In Canberra, more than most places, the good, well-surfaced, quick, direct, well-sign-posted routes are the ones that the car-drivers use: why should they get all the fun?

milkman 9:49 pm 19 Nov 11

Thoroughly Smashed said :

Solidarity said :

thy_dungeonman said :

Solidarity said :

We have bigger problems on our roads than a few cyclists who don’t dismount.

exactly

But be aware that if you are struck on a pedestrian crossing, and you haven’t dismounted, you are at fault.

That’s pretty simplistic…

Yet entirely accurate.

Bexta 6:43 pm 19 Nov 11

OpenYourMind said :

vet111 said :

. I can’t remember the last time I saw a cyclist breaking a law, but car drivers are massive law breakers.

I can. Last Saturday, at about six thirty in the afternoon, at the intersection where Macquarie intersects Northbourne, I saw a lady with a basket on her bicycle just ride on through the red light. I see bicycle users breaking the rules at about a similar rate as other road users. Just because you ride your bike to work, doesn’t mean that makes up for all the chai soy lattes and iPod use you indulge in. I like bikes too, but I certainly don’t ride like a clown and then cry like a baby because I’ve been cleaned up. Anywhere where the laws of physics apply more so than anything parliament has come up with, particular care should apply. Its semantics to argue who’s at fault when someone is dead.

OpenYourMind 6:04 pm 19 Nov 11

vet111 said :

A good example (on the part of yourself and the blue car) as to why a little courtesy and common sense goes a long way on our roads.

@BicycleCanberra – A good idea in theory, however….
If cyclists have right of way, there is nothing scaring them into slowing down. It is not feasible to expect drivers to be able to react quickly enough to a cyclist shooting out onto a crossing doing 30kph. It’s a disaster waiting to happen. And honestly, you can’t say that cyclists don’t do this – while most are sensible, there’s always the few that aren’t.

FWIW, I think that if drivers treated each crossing as a give way sign, things would work. This is probably unrealistic though – as drivers, particularly in Canberra, we’ve become so egocentric that we think the road is our own individual domain, to be conquered and protected at all costs….

So essentially you are saying that drivers are the problem. Even if, shock horror, a cyclist crossed at 30km/h, surely driver can deal with this, after all they have to deal with much higher speeds at intersections.

All this bitching about cyclist breaking the law. On an average drive to work, I reckon not far short of 100% of all drivers can be observed breaking some law. Usually it’s just doing a tad over the speed limit, but that’s not the point. All this talk is as if cyclists are the only ones that ever break rules. I’d love to film a trip to work in my car and count the number of cars breaking all manner of rules and then the rare example, if any, of cyclists breaking laws. I’ll run a bet that even by percentage, car drivers are the biggest law breakers. I drive 1 or 2 days and ride 3 days. I can’t remember the last time I saw a cyclist breaking a law, but car drivers are massive law breakers.

thy_dungeonman 5:34 pm 19 Nov 11

Martyn94 said :

There is an easier question here. Why on earth does anyone use the path when they can use the bike lane on Hindmarsh Drive. The path is longer, slower, harder work and the surface is lousy. There is conflict with pedestrians (less so than going the other way, but still some). It is less convenient if you want to turn off where there is no 4-way junction (as I do at Weston, and often at Woden, going the other way). And it is much more dangerous, for the reasons you discovered. You are a vehicle: you are entitled (and certainly very well advised) to use the major road unless there is an express prohibition, rather than expect cars to stop for bikes on a pedestrian crossing where there are never any pedestrians (on any other of the hundreds or thousands of times a year that they cross that crossing on auto-pilot).

And you might make the car-driving whingers whinge a bit less if there a few more cyclists actually using the bike lanes they moan about. (As a regular visitor to Canberra from a real city, rather than the garden variety, it always amuses me to hear people complain about the “rush-hour”: you don’t know you’re born.)

I ride from waramanga so in order to use the lane (the one that follows car traffic to woden) I would have go really far out of my way to get on it in the first place (the closest underpass is located after this pedestrian crossing) and then when I want to get off it to go to the bus interchange I would have to do the same whereas the paths goes from door to door (although I use the low-peed road when I reach the suburb itself). The only problem I have with the path is where it intersects (awfully) with launceston street.

Sandman 2:49 pm 16 Nov 11

Dare I say that perhaps the old pedestrian crossing may have been outdated in this day and age where social respect is on the decline and every second seems to be precious enough to loose your life over. The taking turns system of pedestrian traffic lights may be the safest and fairest way of ensuring the smoothest flow of traffic (cars, bikes and pedestrians) in all directions at all times.
As a regular pedestrian/cyclist/motorcyclist/car driver/truck driver I’m constantly astounded by the sh!thouse attitude of all varieties of road users towards each other.

On a side note, I witnessed an ACT Workcover van parked on the footpath near the Dickson Pool the other day, not 1 metre away from the pedestrian crossing. No chance at all of seeing anyone coming from the pool until they actually stepped on the road with a big white van in the way. It’s not like the pool carpark was particularly full either.

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