26 July 2019

Pedal Power pushes for more education on contentious crossing rule

| Ian Bushnell
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Pedal Power ACT believes there needs to be more education on new road rules allowing cyclists to cross on intersections. Photo: Supplied by Pedal Power ACT.

Pedal Power ACT believe there needs to be more education on new road rules allowing cyclists to ride across crossings. Photo: Supplied by Pedal Power ACT.

The ACT Government and police should do more to educate road users about new rules relating to pedestrian crossings and cyclists, according to the Territory’s cycling lobby group.

Laws allowing cyclists to ride across crossings came into effect earlier this year but there has been continuing debate about the change.

Pedal Power ACT CEO, Ian Ross, said the 2019 ACT Road Rules Handbook made it very clear – motorists must give way to pedestrians and cyclists on a marked pedestrian crossing.

“The change was the result of the ACT Government’s Safer Cycling Reforms trial, which included changes to the minimum passing distance rules and allowing riders to remain on their bicycles when crossing at crossings,” he said.

“Pedal Power strongly supported both of these reforms because we knew they would help keep bike riders safe and lead to more people riding.”

He said it was important to make this rule because road rules that make bike riding safe and convenient result in more people riding.

“The new rule is also better for drivers who prefer the person cycling to cross as quickly as possible. The quicker the person crosses, the less the traffic is held up,” he said.

More education of Canberra motorists and bike riders was needed to make this new rule clear to everyone.

“While the new rule allows riders to ride across crossings, we will continue to promote that they need to approach and cross ‘slowly and safely’ – at no faster than jogging or brisk walking speed,” Mr Ross said.

“If motorists are aware that it is their responsibility to always give way to pedestrians and bike riders at crossings, they are more likely to do the right thing and slow as they approach these intersections with paths.”

Mr Ross said the new rule was a good rule for motorists and riders, “we just need more time and education to ensure everyone knows what the rule is”.

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I’ll start by saying that I am a member of Pedal Power’s Advocacy group so support Ian’s sensible call for new laws “bedding down” period. That said I’ve found that the vast majority of drivers and motorcyclists have shown excellent behaviour to me cycling across road crossings. A wave of acknowledgement usually comes from both sides. So it can and does work. The behaviours of the minorities on both sides that don’t abide by the laws should not be cause for the rest of us to change our ways. And defensive driving and riding is a must for all. How do we know whether that cyclist or pedestrians doesn’t have a sight or hearing disability? Assume the worst and hopefully it won’t happen at our road crossings.

Yesterday as I was a driving up to a crossing a cyclist approached, he slowed right down, I gave him a wave, he crossed at a reasonable speed & waved to me. Off we both safely went. How hard is it!?

Having recently been to Vietnam and India I laugh when I read about all Canberra’s problems with sharing the road.

At most crossings pedestrians and cyclists move parallel to the roadway as they approach a crossing then either do a sharp 90 degree turn to cross or continue on. This keeps motorists guessing, will they or won’t they with almost no time to react if they do cross. It’s unreasonable to require motorists to stop on mere suspicion that someone may cross.

If not being allowed to ride across a zebra crossing was all that was keeping a potential cyclist in their car than I call BS on that. This is more about the cycling lobby making driving as inconvenient as they possibly can generally and has nothing to do with safety.

Capital Retro9:05 am 02 Aug 19

There is a good example of this bad planning in Watson Street, Turner where the crossing is setback about 50 metres from Barry drive. At night time it is impossible to see cyclists travelling without their lights (plenty of those around too) until they do the 90 degree turn onto the crossing. For some, that will be too late.

I think everyone should STOP before leaping on to or riding across a pedestrian crossing. I am often amazed at people who walk along the street and abruptly turn and walk on to a crossing and don’t need to even check that the car driver has seen them. It’s like a crossing turns them into Superman and no harm can come to them.

When you say “everyone should STOP” assume you mean everyone -including cars. So that would read everyone should stop before leaping on to, riding or driving across a pedestrian crossing. As a driver, I’ve always slowed down approaching a pedestrian crossing. It isn’t just about cyclists, it’s about everyone who may want to cross – including the elderly and vision-imparied people. Too often lately I’ve seen drivers who must think it is imperative that they never slow down, playing chicken with elderly people who are too nervous to walk out on the crossing whilst the entitled driver zooms across. This is disgraceful behaviour and needs to be called out.

Capital Retro11:06 am 29 Jul 19

There is an ad on TV currently, placed by one of those ambulance chasing compo lawyers. It depicts a sad looking bloke and a smashed up pushbike.

The inference is that an evil motorist hit him and the motorist was in the wrong. The lawyers are going to get him compo from the CTP insurance scheme I expect.

Ahh, this old chestnut again.
I work in a building near a crossing in Dickson where cyclists are regularly knocked over.
I’m also a keen cyclist.
The problem is largly the result of the speed at which cyclists approach and enter the crossing from an area not readily visible to a driver.

Yes, I am happy for people to ride across a pedestrian crossing.
But please take some responsibility for your own life. If there is a car approaching and you can see that the driver is not aware of you, wait until they pass, or acknowlege you presence.
It’s not much good being “Right”, when you’re also in a wheel chair.

Just use some commonsense.

Agree 1967, but some examples would be most helpful here I think. As a cyclist, I personally have had the most near-accidents at the O’Connor shops, where it’s hard for motorists to see who is coming out from the shaded path outside the Fish n Chip shop, especially as it is partially blocked by all the outside tables at the Duxton.

Yeah,
The old cafe takes over the footpath and blocks the view of the approaching traffic / pedestrian / cyclist story.

It is a real problem, happens in Dickson on Cape st, in Tuggeranong on Anketell st and I’m sure it happens elswhere.

Who ever gives approval for the cafe’s to put their funiture and blinds in these locations wants a good kicking.

It will take somebody dying because they did something stupid before this is changed. Thankfully there are a lot of dash cams around these days to capture it. You will still have people blaming the car for the dumb actions of a cyclist, even in the face of video evidence though.

What are you talking about? It’s not a new rule. They are calling for more education/promotion of the rule.

rationalobserver8:36 am 29 Jul 19

Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.
If there is a risk of a collision resulting in injury or death from riding across a pedestrian crossing, then cyclists should consider that risk before crossing. Having considered it, they either accept that risk or act differently to avoid the risk.

liberalsocialist7:53 pm 28 Jul 19

This is one of the worst rules – and will kill cyclists. It will NOT, as some exclaim, lead to safer riding.

Almost everyone in Canberra has had the case where you’re driving at the 50km/h speed limit approaching a pedestrian crossing – and you look left/ right/ left again to confirm it’s all clear.

Then, at 20km/h, a cyclist decides to enact his/her “right” to ride across the pedestrian crossing – causing a near miss. I in no way mean to hurt anyone (I am an avid cyclist myself) but there will be a crash with this stupid rule.

What’s worse – is that it is unlike any other state or territory. What’s Canberra made up of mostly? Interstate temporary members or people who stay but grew up inter-state. No one knows of this rule.

But hey – it’ll take the death of someones loved one before they wake up to their stupidity in this area. Perhaps a couple of deaths at that. I hope they feel good about winning this “right” to cross.

rationalobserver7:48 pm 28 Jul 19

We spent a fortune changing the traffic lights in Braddon to be gender neutral.
Perhaps that money might have been better spent renaming pedestrian crossings to something else so that people don’t assume they are just for… pedestrians?
Stupid rule by the way. Just another opportunity for cyclists to assert their superiority complex.

HiddenDragon6:35 pm 28 Jul 19

The points about the need for cyclists to be cautious, rather than cavalier, about exercising this right are well made, but surely this recent change in the rules is simply formalising what has long been the practice – I don’t believe I have ever seen a cyclist dismount for a pedestrian crossing.

As to this, from Pedal Power – “He said it was important to make this rule because road rules that make bike riding safe and convenient result in more people riding.” – it is at least as important that rules for footpaths make walking safe and convenient.

I did my cycling proficiency test in the UK when i was 7, over 40 years ago. Basic road riding, helmet, traffic awareness, self preservation, indication etc..
One of the things i remember most is that in a collision between a cyclist and vehicle, it doesn’t matter who is in the wrong but the cyclist would likely to be badly injured and the vehicle driver would not be scratched. It’s no good being in the right if you’re dead.
I also rode a motorcycle for 25 years in a big city, and i think i’m a much better car driver for doing so.

What i see in Canberra constantly:
Cyclists racing down a footpath and straight over a crossing without even turning their heads to check their path. This is beyond idiotic.
Cyclists wearing headphones pulling straight into the middle of a road without doing a lifesaver.
Cyclists constantly making the assumption that a car driver is going to see them, which in Canberra with the amount of overseas drivers from countries with very poor driving safety records, or drivers who struggle to stay aware in increasingly congested streets, is a big gamble to take with your life.

There is a big difference between following rules, and having the necessary skillset to understand the reason for them, and how best to apply them.

Capital Retro11:49 am 28 Jul 19

If cyclists cross quickly this means they also approach quickly and this is where the problem is created. It’s the same as someone running to the crossing and then continuing to run across.

What is required are filtering barriers like they have put in on the tram crossings or good old fashioned speed humps. These will force the cyclists to slow down and give the motorists time to see them.

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