8 February 2024

Peak hour terror as leadfoots turn cycle lane into the fast lane

| Ian Bushnell
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The Hindmarsh Drive cycle lane approaching the Tuggeranong Parkway. Not just for bikes, apparently. Photo: Wikipedia.

Approaching the Cotter Road turnoff from Adelaide Avenue during peak hour requires patience and extra attention at the best of times, especially if there are any cyclists around.

Earlier this week, there weren’t any, fortunately, because as I prepared to veer left, there appeared a looming black image in my rearview mirror travelling at speed in the cycle lane.

The SUV whooshed past me in an instant and disappeared down Cotter Road, leaving me ashen-faced and appealing to the heavens, “Unbelievable!”

“That’s a first,” I thought, cutting the possible maniac some slack by musing that he was perhaps confused by the lack of line marking after recent resealing.

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The next day, I am stuck in the usual morning logjam out of Molonglo on Cotter Road approaching the servo when, low and behold, it happens again. This time, a white SUV roars past me in the cycling lane.

Yesterday morning, it was crawl-time out of Weston on Hindmarsh Drive approaching the Parkway when not one but two vehicles, and yes, one was an SUV, sped past.

Three times in a week is enough for me. I’m calling it. Using the cycle lane for an inside run is now a thing.

It’s illegal, it’s unsafe and it’s a tragedy waiting to happen.

These episodes of motoring madness come just after police issued another warning to drivers to be careful when passing cyclists and observe the law requiring separation of 1 metre when the speed limit is 60 km/h or less and 1.5 metres if greater.

I’m sure the drivers would argue there wasn’t a cyclist in sight, but that’s hardly the point.

Did they know if a cyclist emerged from the verge or footpath to take their rightful space in the designated lane?

A separated cycleway in Sydney. The government has committed to building these on priority routes in Canberra, but Pedal Power ACT says it is taking too long. Photo: Bicycle Network/Facebook.

Were they that desperate to save a minute or two or meet an appointment time to break the law, terrify drivers doing the right thing and potentially cause a major accident?

There was not much chance of a cyclist surviving a collision at the speed at which these wannabe F1 drivers were going.

I’m hoping police are reading this and decide to check any CCTV that might be available to identify the offenders and have a not-so-quiet word.

After all, with the number of cameras now populating our major roads to catch drivers fiddling with their phones, they should be able to pick a couple of these idiots.

No wonder the cycling lobby wants the ACT Government to do more to extend separated cycleways to keep people safe.

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Like many Canberra drivers and walkers, I’ve had my issues with the lycra-clad, but it’s hard to argue against the case for more spending on such infrastructure when such lunacy as this week’s antics are witnessed.

Obviously, simply laying down a white line and bit of green paint isn’t going to guarantee anybody’s safety.

The government recently launched its Active Travel Plan and some infrastructure announcements, leaving Pedal Power ACT nonplussed and saying it was just a wish list without targets.

A bit hyperbolic, perhaps, and the government pushed back, listing a number of projects.

But after this week’s experiences, the government should review its program and demand the police at least launch a crackdown on such dangerous driving before somebody is killed.

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Even if all drivers did the right thing it would still not be safe and, ironically, the more distractions you put on the road the harder it is for drivers to do the right thing. You might have convinced yourself and the Governemt that it is your right to be on the road but at the end of the day it is your life you are putting at risk. Do yourself and everyone else a favor and stay off main roads. It is that simple.

It is the epitome of stupidity for the government to simply paint some lines on the road and put fines in place if drivers get too close. And that’s assuming the cyclist isn’t weaving all over the road. I tried cycling with the cycling groups on the weekends in Canberra and was appalled by the apparent lack of care and safety by many cyclists in the groups I rode with and the worst thing I’ve seen is around 5-6 cyclists riding abreast at a crest.

Cmon ACT Govt, shell out for some separated or offroad cycle paths and BAN CYCLISTS RIDING ON THE ROAD. It’s clear motorists are not going to completely change the way they drive in part because cyclists also won’t ride in a safe and orderly manner, and in part due to insufficient / ineffective Policing in the ACT.

Unprotected on road cycle lanes have been proven to be both dangerous and unattractive for cyclists. Which is why advocacy organisations and governments are no longer supporting them. But it will take time for the cycling alternatives to be built and existing road standards to be amended. Rather than cyclists, I suggest that it is scooter, motorcycle, and small car users who should be most concerned about intentionally careless driving.

Lack of decent public transport hurts everyone

Sure, but you don’t expect a little concrete kerb to stop an errant driver do you? All that would do is give the cyclist absolutely no option to get out of the way

I had the same experience at a Red light in Gundaroo drive by McKellar.
Garbage truck stopped in the right line, myself stopped in the left lane, lunatic P plater goes through the red light in the bike lane.

callingherout4:15 pm 09 Feb 24

Cycle lanes, transit lanes what ever lanes, all used as express lanes by impatient wankers on our roads. Imagine if there was actually any police on our roads doing… oh I dont know… policing!!!!

@patrick Glad you see it as a safety issue.

The thing about not being a fan of cyclists, though, not sure how to understand that.

Just like people who wear hats, there are good and bad. Making blanket assumptions about people’s worth gets us nowhere.

Bike registration is a common theme for some motorists, most cyclists also own and register cars – that entitles us to a 6 metre by 2 metre section of road irrespective of how we choose to use it (drive or cycle). If we cycle, we allow other road users to get to their destination quicker because their are less cars blocking the roads! But back to registration, if it is based on vehicle weight (and therefore the potential for damage to roads and infrastructure), let’s say a dollar per kilogram, then I’m more than happy to pay $8-10 rego for my bike and then to be able to ride in any lane, on any road, at any trime of day, as do car drivers. What needs to happen is to make car drivers accountable for their actions and to take the privilege of driving a car away for those that harass, intimidate and threaten others with their vehicle.

Not quite: Registration is about the entitlement/safety checks for that registered vehicle to use the road. Having said that, I don’t think that registering bicycles is cost effective (vehicle weight calculations) and I do believe that cyclists that want to cycle on the public infrastructure (roads) should be licenced to do so (the suitable endorsement on the driver’s licence). Suitable licencing obliges them to ride safely and obey the road rules (similar to motor cycles). I have seen some examples where cyclists have nearly killed themselves and put car drivers in danger.

Capital Retro10:28 am 16 Feb 24

Registration of motor vehicles also includes CTP and a fee. It also gives the government and the police a record of the vehicle. Safety checks are only done when there is a change of ownership which creates even more fees.

Some of the bikes in Canberra I have looked at are worth more than my car but the owners of them believe they shouldn’t pay any road fees? Who do they think they are?

A Mazda shot past me in the bicycle lane earlier this week! I was about to move to the left to enter the service station. Scary.

Funny when people speed in Canberra. Not a sprawling city like Sydney or Melbourne that it takes a long time to travel from A to B. Just cruise and you’ll be fine or even better to get adopt better time management skills.

Speeding is selfish and stupid, a result of bad planning, a sense of entitlement and lack of self-discipline.

Sydney and Melbourne traffic lights are better sequenced. Some of Canberras traffic lights will stop the major road from moving just to give the side road with no traffic on it a green light or they will let 10-15 cars through a green when there are 50 held up.

Paint on a road is not cycling infrastructure

Did they ride in the bike lane subject to Australian road rule 158?

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