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Those Darn Cyclists…….Again

By toadstool 1 April 2009 140

Ok, I know cyclist issues have been done to death in this forum, but would like to know from anyone, including cyclists, whether they think it is appropriate to ride two abreast on any road, blocking the traffic behind. I’ve come across two incidents of this bevaviour over the past week or so, one of which almost caused an accident.

The first incident was on Clunies Ross Street where it narrows to go under Parkes Way. The ramp leading up to Parkes Way has one of those green cycle zones, but the rest of Clunies Ross has no on road cycle lanes whatsoever, however there is a cycle path running parallel to the road. Two cyclists were riding side-by-side. I managed to squeeze past before the road narrowed, but the cars behind me got trapped as the bikes continued side-by-side without any consideration for others motorists.

The second incident is the one that really irks me. Pulling out of the lights onto Ginniderra Drive from Aikman Drive myself and the other vehicles did the usual accelerate to the posted speed limit of 80k when suddenly everyone started braking hard. The car behind me had to swerve to avoid running up my behind. The cause? Two cyclists riding side-by-side on the road. This part of Ginniderra Drive has an on road cycle lane and a bike path running parallel with it and the cyclists were in the traffic lane! I mean what’s that all about? After the Government has spent millions on cycle lanes, aren’t they good enough for the cyclists? Are they allowed to ride two abreast on the road and not use the dedicated cycles lanes?

Maybe if cyclists like this were more considerate to other road users, the rest of the cyclists wouldn’t be honked, abused or run off the road.

What’s Your opinion?


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Those Darn Cyclists…….Again
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Lyshious 2:26 am 06 Apr 09

Just a quick one – normally I have no issue with cyclists other than to honk and shake my head as they run red lights (the same courtesy I reserve for car drivers doing the same thing).

I do, however, have an issue with the lack of accountability (e.g insurance) for the rare occasion a cyclist actually causes an issue. I know this issue has probably come up many times before – and that the following scenario is a rare one and that the cyclists are going to jump up and down about having to pay extra money when they’re saving the environment etc – all I ask is that I have a chance to explain my position before I get chewed for voicing my opinion…..

I have been in the unfortunate position of having my car hit by a cyclist. No – she was NOT riding on the road at the time. She was on the footpath, at 9.30pm with no light or helmet. I turned left at a small roundabout on Torrens St. The cyclist was travelling straight and she came down the little slope, down the gutter onto the road and straight into my passenger door…. All I had was a small dent, a tyre mark and a scratch. Nothing major. The part that irked me was the cyclist riding onto the other side of the road, off of the footpath, and disappearing into the darkness without the normal exchange of details I would expect from someone who had just damaged my car. I attempted to make a report to the police for insurance purposes – only to be told there was nothing I could really do about it any way. *sigh*

Anyhoo – Back on topic.

I think it is fine for cyclists to ride 2 abreast – it is indeed legal for them to do so. However – I also agree that they should show some element of consideration when traffic has banked up behind them, or if a driver has been unable to overtake them for a while. Again – I have reason for this opinion. The following happened a while ago, but it will always be fixed in my memory. I have been stuck behind a set of cyclists riding 2 abreast. There was alot of traffic heading in the opposite direction to me and I was unable to pass for a good 5 or so minutes due to the road being a little too narrow to pass and travelling at cycling speed under 40kms. I was only able to get past these 2 cyclists when a 2nd lane (overtaking lane) came up – due to the inconsiderate attitude of the 2 cyclists involved.

The reason for this opinion being that I was trying to get to the hospital, with a child screaming in agony due to (what we discovered when we eventually got to the hospital) multiple fractures in their arm (courtesy of new rollerblades and a dodgy footpath). As you can imagine, the drive was highly stressful for me to begin with and with the poor kid crying hysterically with pain and screaming for me to get them help, these 2 cyclists did not make anything any easier for myself or the child and made a hard situation even harder.

So – for those cyclists who wish to take full advantage of their legal right to ride 2 abreast I urge you to do so – but when you do – please be aware of the traffic conditions behind you and to show some on-road courtesy when needed, as the next hospital run may involve something alot more serious than a child’s busted limb.

Grrrr 9:22 am 03 Apr 09

creative_canberran said :

.. How dare we drivers whom the roads were built for be disgruntled that cyclists continue to ignore the millions of dollars worth of bike paths built for them.

Seriously, there are bike paths that run parallel to Tharwa drive. ..

Wow, millions of dollars spent on paths when billions are spent on roads. Sounds like drivers are getting a bargain to me! Never mind that the roads are built for all users, princess.

It’s just another comment from someone who would change their mind if they spend even a short while commuting by bike. There’s plenty of good reasons cyclists do what they do – you just aren’t aware of them.

EG, Tharwa Drive doesn’t have bike track along half of it, and for some of the parts it does have one nearby there aren’t underpasses. It shouldn’t be a suprise to anyone that if cyclists on paths are made to stop to give way to side traffic (EG Southbound at Box Hill Ave, Norman Lindsay St etc) that they’d choose to ride on the road where they have right of way. Cyclists are just as interested in keeping their commute as short as possible as drivers are.

OpenYourMind2 7:32 am 03 Apr 09

Arrogant? Creative_Canberran please be aware that drivers don’t ‘own’ the roads and bicycles have as much legal right as drivers do to use them.

Just remember that our Govt wants to see more cyclists out there not less, for the following reasons:
– Car drivers have a great history of running into anything and everything from childcare centres to trees on Clift Cres. The cost of injuries from motor vehicle accidents exceeds all Govt revenue collected from the motoring industry (reported in Canberra Times a while back).
– Cars need expensive parking facilities
– Cars pollute
– Car culture is closely linked with getting fat culture
– Australia’s net oil imports now exceed our oil exports. Chances are that when you fill your car you are sending some money to a country that probably doesn’t like us too much.

New bicycle sales well exceed new car sales. Lots of those drivers you see out there, probably also own a bicycle.

We’ve got a more recent riotACT post talking about 156 drink drivers being caught in the ACT over a weekend, and another story about the young kids on Clift Cres. Cars are a big problem and you are bitching about a minor inconvenience of having to give bicycles a bit of space.

Arrogance indeed.

creative_canberran 1:13 am 03 Apr 09

Special G said :

nice one creative – when you are getting pounded in the arse in prison, for killing a cyclist whilst they slowed you down for 5 seconds, you can think back to you attitude on the road. People like you shouldn’t have a licence.

Personally I use paths to get to work as I got sick of wankers in cars on Belconnen way – when I was in the cycle lane. A good effort by a bus to put me under the back tyres was rather entertaining as well.

Typical arrogant cyclcist. How dare we drivers whom the roads were built for be disgruntled that cyclists continue to ignore the millions of dollars worth of bike paths built for them.

Seriously, there are bike paths that run parallel to Tharwa drive. Proper bike baths with underpasses and paths that then branch off into the suburbs. And the school kids on bikes know to use it, it’s you lycra clad Lance Armstrong wannabes who insist on using the road causing a hazard to your self and other road users.

lujabe 11:09 pm 02 Apr 09

aa said :

And for those who say cars should be giving way, which is easier to move, a car or a bike.

Unless you’re Fred Flintstone, I’d say your car is easier to move than a bike.

Aeek 10:33 pm 02 Apr 09

Car intake vents are much closer to the ground and hence most exhausts than a cyclists mouth and nose. When I do cop it its obvious, so I hold my breath. In the car, its all diffused so I don’t get the chance.

Holden Caulfield 9:53 pm 02 Apr 09

mutley said :

Danman #93 “I also have an 06 Camry”

I’d ride too!

ROFLCOPTER

GB 9:30 pm 02 Apr 09

vg said :

“Plus not to metion the fact that it’s actually proven to be unhealthy. Cyclists are actually breaking in exhaust fumes while they’re riding to work. Has anyone been stuck in peak traffic with their window open? Now imagine breathing that into your lungs the whole rid to work and the ride back!”

Can you point me to your source? Everything I have read seems to demonstrate that cyclists get less risky exposure to fumes than car drivers.

EG, from “Differences in cyclists and car drivers exposure to air pollution from traffic in the city of Copenhagen.”:

‘It has frequently been claimed that cycling in heavy traffic is unhealthy, more so than driving a car. To test this hypothesis, teams of two cyclists and two car drivers in two cars were equipped with personal air samplers while driving for 4 h on 2 different days in the morning traffic of Copenhagen. The air sample charcoal tubes were analysed for their benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene (BTEX) content and the air filters for particles (total dust). The concentrations of particles and BTEX in the cabin of the cars were 2-4 times greater than in the cyclists’ breathing zone, the greatest difference being for BTEX. Therefore, even after taking the increased respiration rate of cyclists into consideration, car drivers seem to be more exposed to airborne pollution than cyclists.’

OTOH that particular study doesn’t seem to take into account the increased travel time of bicycles.

But on the third hand, in Canberra, our pollution levels are very low compared to most of the cities where this research has been done; and are only dangerous in a few concentrated spots — which are generally ones that bicycles can move through faster than cars.

The anger of a minority of drivers about the existence of bicycles seems very out of proportion. But then maybe these are the same drivers who just like getting angry, and cyclists are just a convenient target — like motorcyclists, volvos, pedestrians, other drivers, the weather, ducks, etc.

Maybe traffic cops could carry dart guns loaded with valium. Maybe I’ll get one myself.

vg 8:44 pm 02 Apr 09

“Plus not to metion the fact that it’s actually proven to be unhealthy. Cyclists are actually breaking in exhaust fumes while they’re riding to work. Has anyone been stuck in peak traffic with their window open? Now imagine breathing that into your lungs the whole rid to work and the ride back!”

I’ll put my VO2 max up against yours any day.

And ‘proven to be unhealthy’……..ahhhhh……..bullshit.

You’re also breathing in exhaust fumes in your car champion, the whole way to work and the whole way back

Fisho 8:29 pm 02 Apr 09

Never mind a 3 second delay going around cyclists, its the idiots going along single lane roads (Barton, Monaro) that won’t overtake, and won’t leave enough room for anyone to ‘leapfrog’ them that are the true idiots.

You have a responsibility to be aware of and courteous to other road users and obey road laws. The type of vehicle they are on/in is irrelevant.

Danman 8:12 pm 02 Apr 09

Here here vg…

I just find it sad that I see more considerate drivers when I am riding my bike off the roads than when I am a motorist.

If it seriously stresses people that much maybe they need to catch the pleb chariot aka bus.

Riding is great for warding off depression as well, and helps with what ails me

vg 7:28 pm 02 Apr 09

Its amazing the amount of stress that a 5 second delay causes in this town though. I mean the ‘delay’ took about 120th of the time it took to pen the original post, but cyclists are the antichrist aren’t they?

lujabe 6:54 pm 02 Apr 09

In response to the original poster (toadstool):

“…would like to know from anyone, including cyclists, whether they think it is appropriate to ride two abreast on any road, blocking the traffic behind.”

It’s perfectly legal. And being that the only routes available for many journeys in this town are on roads, I think it’s perfectly appropriate.

“The first incident was on Clunies Ross Street where it narrows to go under Parkes Way.”

You mean the stretch that meanders around past the lake? Where you would be unsurprised to get stuck behind a gawking/lost tourist in a car anyway? It’s hardly an arterial road, despite what all the ‘rat-runners’ that use it seem to think.

“The ramp leading up to Parkes Way has one of those green cycle zones, but the rest of Clunies Ross has no on road cycle lanes whatsoever, however there is a cycle path running parallel to the road.”

Complain to the ACT Government if you want better road facilities. As for the separate cycle path – perhaps it’s destination wasn’t where the cyclists were going. Further, those paths were built for tourists – they’re cicuitous, meandering, full of old people and children and dog walkers, and too hilly for cyclists actually wanting to get somewhere. On top of that, they’re bone-jarring, unmaintained and quite frankly, dangerous in areas. Maybe if you campaign on my behalf to get all the old people, children, and dog-walkers off the cycle paths, I’ll think about using them more. Surely you could argue this point for me on the grounds of ‘consideration’ towards cyclists?

“but the cars behind me got trapped as the bikes continued side-by-side “without any consideration for others motorists.”

By ‘consideration’ do you mean that the cyclists should have yielded to the cars, or moved to the edge of the road, which is uneven and covered in litter/leaves/gravel? Where they would have been riding on a dangerous surface and encouraging people to squeeeze past, increasing the risk of an accident? Consideration goes two ways. It doesn’t mean that everybody who isn’t in a car, must immediately get out of the way of somebody who is in a car.

“Pulling out of the lights onto Ginniderra Drive from Aikman Drive myself and the other vehicles did the usual accelerate to the posted speed limit of 80k when suddenly everyone started braking hard.”

So people were accelerating without looking where they were going? And you think what the cyclists were doing was dangerous?

“After the Government has spent millions on cycle lanes, aren’t they good enough for the cyclists?”

No. Because they’re on the side of the road (the gutter, usually), all the loose gravel/etc ends up scattered all over the cycle lanes, which means traction is pretty limited on a bike. Painting a green strip on the road is a cheap means for the govt to pat itself on the back, but many cyclists hate those lanes as much as motorists.

“Are they allowed to ride two abreast on the road and not use the dedicated cycles lanes?”

Yes.

“Maybe if cyclists like this were more considerate to other road users, the rest of the cyclists wouldn’t be honked, abused or run off the road.”

Maybe if ‘the rest of the cyclists’ weren’t ‘honked, abused or run off the road’, I’d have some sympathy for motorists that complain about cyclists. You share this city with 300,000 others – how about you develop a litle ‘consideration’ and tolerance?

At the end of the day people (motorists), if you’re not happy, stop taking your aggro out on the cyclists. We are legitimate and lawful road users, and we want adequate facilities, probably more than you do. Direct your frustration at the ACT Government, and ask for some useful, safe, dedicated and properly maintained cycle ways (like Holland has).

vg 6:39 pm 02 Apr 09

For every bike you wish to remove from the road add another car to your peak minute traffic in Canberra. See how you like it then. And yes, traffic here is peak minute. I drive from one side of this town to the other in 15 mins at 0700. Try that in Sydney

I ride on the road and pay 2 regos. Do people who pay 1 owe me anything?

monomania 5:58 pm 02 Apr 09

Sgt.Bungers said :

Yes people on bicycles are allowed to ride two abreast in a regular traffic lane, even if there’s a cycle lane next to them. I think it’s a great idea. Stops people in cars from just “squeezing” past them when there’s barely an inch to spare.

The Government should keep the roads particularly cycle lines clean. Cyclists not using dedicated lanes on roads (not cycle paths or footpaths) when available can cause unnecessary disruption to other traffic flow. It should be made a traffic offence. Car drivers have had to give up lane width even lanes in many cases.

Danman 5:32 pm 02 Apr 09

Couldn’t something about ‘deadly lycra dies getting into your pours’ go into the RiotACT memorial poolroom?

Only if it is presented as below

deadly lycra dies(sic/RIP) getting into your pours (sic)

Vonbare 5:29 pm 02 Apr 09

I wonder how cranky all the drivers would be if those 4000 odd cyclists all started driving into work, and their commute went up by 15 mins???

Ooo – also, worthwile having a look at Graph 3. This is a very interesting document altogether.

(source: http://cbdbug.googlepages.com/CPF_CyclingBenefits.pdf Table 1: inflation due to stats being only for ‘sole’ cycling commuters)

OpenYourMind2 5:21 pm 02 Apr 09

Couldn’t something about ‘deadly lycra dies getting into your pours’ go into the RiotACT memorial poolroom?

peterh 4:48 pm 02 Apr 09

Tixylix said :

I wouldn’t say it’s a flaw, Danman, more like an endearing foible.

The fact is kids, the time spent avoiding maiming cyclists whilst driving to work is practically nil compared to the portion of my life wasted each morning driving at 5kph because of all the traffic merging into single lanes on the GDE and the parkway. Learn to merge, Canberra, maintain a safe breaking distance, and get some more lanes, ffs.

+1 to tixylix

Tixylix 4:19 pm 02 Apr 09

I wouldn’t say it’s a flaw, Danman, more like an endearing foible.

The fact is kids, the time spent avoiding maiming cyclists whilst driving to work is practically nil compared to the portion of my life wasted each morning driving at 5kph because of all the traffic merging into single lanes on the GDE and the parkway. Learn to merge, Canberra, maintain a safe breaking distance, and get some more lanes, ffs.

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