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Motorist on Hindmarsh Drive

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.


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29 Responses to Motorist on Hindmarsh Drive
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BicycleCanberra BicycleCanberra 9:44 am 15 Nov 11

As a cyclist you don’t get right of way if you don’t dismount, but many motorists stop and wave you past. What should be there is a shared path crossing or a cycle lane marked either side of the crossing as in the case in many other countries.
http://bicyclecanberra.blogspot.com/2011/08/infrastructure-left-turn-slip-lanes.html

Grail Grail 10:12 am 15 Nov 11

The issue here isn’t the bicycle riding across the pedestrian crossing, it’s the red car not stopping when there was another car stopped in that lane.

Basic laws of physics when applied to the road: you cannot go faster than the object in front of you.

BenMac BenMac 10:12 am 15 Nov 11

Wow, you must think the hyphen is underused.

“hind-marsh”
“on-ramp”
“west-bound”

Solidarity Solidarity 10:14 am 15 Nov 11

I almost ran up the back of someone merging onto Adelaide Ave this morning because she decided to slam on the brakes rather than merge at 80.

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

switch switch 10:33 am 15 Nov 11

BenMac said :

Wow, you must think the hyphen is underused.

“hind-marsh”
“on-ramp”
“west-bound”

Be Grateful He’s Not Over-Exercising His Shift Key…

thy_dungeonman thy_dungeonman 10:37 am 15 Nov 11

Solidarity said :

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

exactly

Solidarity Solidarity 10:45 am 15 Nov 11

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.

fromthecapital fromthecapital 10:46 am 15 Nov 11

Judge a person not by their mode of transport but the content of their character.

bearlikesbeer bearlikesbeer 10:46 am 15 Nov 11

A few years back, I had the same scare at the same crossIng.

In my case, car #1 spotted me and stopped to let me cross, but car #2 did actually rear end car #1, pushing it forward onto the crossing. No one was hurt, and bumper damage was minimal. It turned out driver #2 was on his phone at the time of the collision. 

Both cars pulled over further up the ramp, and as I met them the first thing I heard driver #2 say was, “What a stupid bloody place for a pedestrian crossing! It’s a parkway entrance. I was concentrating on getting in gear, not looking for bloody pedestrians!”. I asked him about the phone, and he told me to mind my own business.

Thoroughly Smashed Thoroughly Smashed 10:58 am 15 Nov 11

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…

bearlikesbeer bearlikesbeer 11:13 am 15 Nov 11

I neglected to mention in my previous comment that I am glad I bothered to dismount before crossing. As I said, car #2 rear ended car #1 and pushed it onto the crossing. Because I was on my feet, I was able to jump back in time. If I’d been on my bike, rather than walking it, I think I would have ended up on my backside.

vet111 vet111 12:02 pm 15 Nov 11

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….

Sgt.Bungers Sgt.Bungers 12:03 pm 15 Nov 11

Pedestrian crossings being placed where a bike path intersects a road is an antiquated and ridiculous setup that is well overdue to be updated. Cyclists are not wheeled pedestrians, just like motorists aren’t motored pedestrians. Walking, cycling, and driving a car, are three very different forms of private transport and need to be clearly defined and catered for when it comes to infrastructure.

Until we catch up with the rest of the developed world when it comes to crossings, if all road users could act like adults we’d be a lot less angry with each other.

Cyclists, if you’re coming up to a pedestrian crossing, slow to a crawl, preferably stop (like dungeonman). Make sure any approaching motorist has seen you and is not going to hit you, then proceed when safe to do so.

Motorists, if you’re coming up to any pedestrian crossing, slow down. Make sure that there are no people on foot or people on bikes approaching the crossing, then proceed when safe to do so.

Not that difficult.

Sgt.Bungers Sgt.Bungers 12:11 pm 15 Nov 11

bearlikesbeer said :

Both cars pulled over further up the ramp, and as I met them the first thing I heard driver #2 say was, “What a stupid bloody place for a pedestrian crossing! It’s a parkway entrance. I was concentrating on getting in gear, not looking for bloody pedestrians!”. I asked him about the phone, and he told me to mind my own business.

Love it. An all too typical attitude. “It’s not my fault… if that thing wasn’t there I would not have hit it.”

I was in a passenger in a car that collected a car door once. First thing the person who opened the car door said was “It’s not my fault, you have to give enough clearance around parked cars for people to open doors.” aka: “It’s not my fault, if your car was not on the street my door would not have hit it.”

Glad nobody was hurt.

dvaey dvaey 12:19 pm 15 Nov 11

bearlikesbeer said :

Both cars pulled over further up the ramp, and as I met them the first thing I heard driver #2 say was, “What a stupid bloody place for a pedestrian crossing! It’s a parkway entrance.”

Most freeways/motorways which like the parkway have grade-separated intersections and slip-lanes, explicitly have signs prohibiting bicycles (or farm machinery, etc) being on them), quite possibly because of the fact that if youve gotta merge at 100km/hr, youre better off starting at speed on the slip lane, rather than starting from a dead stop. Fortunately, there are only a couple of roads in our territory that meet this standard, and the intersection you describe on the parkway is one of those.

Solidarity Solidarity 3:47 pm 15 Nov 11

Sgt.Bungers said :

bearlikesbeer said :

Both cars pulled over further up the ramp, and as I met them the first thing I heard driver #2 say was, “What a stupid bloody place for a pedestrian crossing! It’s a parkway entrance. I was concentrating on getting in gear, not looking for bloody pedestrians!”. I asked him about the phone, and he told me to mind my own business.

Love it. An all too typical attitude. “It’s not my fault… if that thing wasn’t there I would not have hit it.”

I was in a passenger in a car that collected a car door once. First thing the person who opened the car door said was “It’s not my fault, you have to give enough clearance around parked cars for people to open doors.” aka: “It’s not my fault, if your car was not on the street my door would not have hit it.”

Glad nobody was hurt.

Always wondered who is at fault in that situation, what was the outcome?

HenryBG HenryBG 4:29 pm 15 Nov 11

Sgt.Bungers said :

I was in a passenger in a car that collected a car door once. First thing the person who opened the car door said was “It’s not my fault, you have to give enough clearance around parked cars for people to open doors.” aka: “It’s not my fault, if your car was not on the street my door would not have hit it.”

Heh, friend of mine’s mum threw her door open once and collected a motorcycle cop. He was merciless. I forgot what they did her for, precisely.

Thoroughly Smashed Thoroughly Smashed 4:37 pm 15 Nov 11

dvaey said :

bearlikesbeer said :

Both cars pulled over further up the ramp, and as I met them the first thing I heard driver #2 say was, “What a stupid bloody place for a pedestrian crossing! It’s a parkway entrance.”

Most freeways/motorways which like the parkway have grade-separated intersections and slip-lanes, explicitly have signs prohibiting bicycles (or farm machinery, etc) being on them), quite possibly because of the fact that if youve gotta merge at 100km/hr, youre better off starting at speed on the slip lane, rather than starting from a dead stop. Fortunately, there are only a couple of roads in our territory that meet this standard, and the intersection you describe on the parkway is one of those.

And yet, only 20m further up the road from that pedestrian crossing you encounter a give way sign.

While the ramp is on an upgrade, you have about 400m before the merging lane begins to end. I can’t imagine many cars that would have trouble hitting 100km/hr in that length, although the unwillingness of many drivers to use their accelerator on ramps is a bit of an annoyance of mine.

Aeek Aeek 9:29 pm 15 Nov 11

dvaey said :

Most freeways/motorways which like the parkway have grade-separated intersections and slip-lanes, explicitly have signs prohibiting bicycles (or farm machinery, etc) being on them)

The “No Bicycles” sign at the top of the parkway refers to the narrow bridge right there, not to the parkway.

Martyn94 Martyn94 3:47 am 16 Nov 11

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.)

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