Let's make Adelaide one of the great cycling cities!
With cycling firmly on the agenda, it's now time to get the detail right.
The State Government has released it's response to the Citizens' Jury on cycling, and many of the recommendations are similar to your comments on the Greens' consultation paper as well (here's the final report).
Prior to this I had sought feedback from cyclists and compiled it into a report. I referred to many cyclists’ ideas in my speech to Parliament and also gave a copy to the Transport Minister and other stakeholders.
You can find the link to my full speech here.
On Ride2Work Day in October 2014, I organised and hosted a Cycling Roundtable in Parliament House which gathered 40 cycling advocates and stakeholders to discuss one key question: how do we make Adelaide one of the great cycling cities?
The Government has now taken some of that feedback on board, especially regarding the one-metre-rule for passing bikes, and also riding on footpaths.
Adelaide has perfect weather and terrain for cycling, yet most bikes gather dust in garages because too many of our roads are perceived as unsafe for cycling. Much of the reason for this lies in the state of our roads and the fact that cyclists’ needs have been ignored for decades.
In May 2015 I introduced a motion to the SA Parliament noting that the Cycling Strategy for South Australia expired in 2010 and calling on the State Government to develop a new one.
I also noted that of the over 1 billion dollars allocated to the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure in the 2013 – 2014 State Budget, less than one half of one percent of that amount was earmarked for cycling. My motion called on the State Government to at least double the allocation of funds to cycling infrastructure in the next State Budget.
During the Tour Down Under this January, I again called on the State Government to release a new cycling strategy as well as increase funding for cycling infrastructure to at least 1% of the Transport Department budget.
Without a comprehensive long term direction for cycling, there is a risk that scarce funds will not be spent where it’s most needed.
Please feel free to provide your feedback in the comments section below on how you'd like to see cycling in Adelaide. If you provide your details, I'll ensure you're kept up to date with all the latest.
Here is a list of things that I think need doing to improve cycling amenities around Adelaide suburbs, and encourage more people to start or return to cycling,,,, not in any order of priority.
Lady Gowerie Drive, Taperoo storm water flooding over the bike lanes every time it rains , cyclists have to divert out in to the traffic. Proper drainage is needed.
Sturt River bike track is in very poor condition and urgently needs resurfacing from Darlington to Glenelg East.
The bike tracks either side of Main Road , Blackwood , Coromandel Valley are in very poor condition and need resurfacing.
Onkaparinga River pedestrian, cycle bridge near Old Noarlunga needs complete upgraded surface.
Pedler Creek pedestrian , cycle bridge needs complete upgraded surface .
Extend the very limited times for all bicycle lanes ,, not just school hours or peak hours, should be 24 hours, cyclists ride all hours.
Keep bike lanes clear of broken glass and debris , and cut back over hanging trees and shrubs.
Discourage cars “For Sale” parked in bike lanes.
Stop road works contractors erecting temporary roadworks signs in bike lanes.
Bike Direct streets (quiet back streets) need renewed sign-age and painting of bike stencils on the road.
Bollards on bike tracks should be standardised ( all the one high visibility colour ) Australian Standards.
Create a bike lane on Mount Lofty Summit Rd up to Mount Lofty
Pedestrian, bike under or over pass from SE freeway bike track over SE freeway at The Old Tollgate. So that cyclists don’t have to risk their lives crossing the freeway.
Every year I meet cyclists who come to Adelaide for the TDU and they comment on the fantastic way we can ride in either direction from Adelaide to get to the the beaches or the Adelaide Hills, as well as North or South, but they expect , because we are the TDU city , that we would have much better cycling infrastructure . But in fact we are the “poor cousin” when it comes to cycling infrastructure.
Make it legal to ride slowly on footpath, especially for families and kids,, with pedestrians having complete right of way.
Increase penalties for cyclists running red lights and stop signs, and riding outside of bike lanes.
Motorists and cyclist education.
Increase penalties for texting and phone use by drivers.
Encouraging cyclists to wear hi vis clothing.
I am retired and have been riding for about 5 years, but none of my friends will ride their bikes now days because it’s too dangerous. They have bikes just gathering dust in the shed.
I ride with about 40 or 50 others in different groups and myself and none of them will ride on Brighton Rd and Portrush Rd even with white lines painted on the road (bike lanes),,it will STILL be far too dangerous. Let the cars and trucks clog up these roads and spend the money on making the back (Bike Direct) streets even more bicycle friendly, better sign-age and reducing vehicle speed limits = less accidents.
Better integration of bicycle infrastructure where it’s needed ie. along commuter routes NOT meandering aimlessly.
Drivers license testing should be every ten years with a greater emphasise on techniques for driving in built up/ residential areas as well as a focus on vulnerable road users.
There needs to a way of insuring competency for cyclists to avoid cyclists endangering themselves and unconveniencing other road users.
A metre maters and until a vehicle can pass safely I will ride to block motorists path until it’s safe to pass.
Cyclist training should be included in driver training and schools but there must be greater education and signage to educate those well beyond their training. Roads change so people should be taught, not just punished.
Get rid of the helmet law! Proven to do nothing for safety except keep a certain percentage of cyclists off the road – which I guess is safe because most roads are heinous to ride along.
Increase segregated lanes throughout the metro but link them to shops and other destinations. Good paths in parks do not get you anywhere. If cycling is to be a serious option then making the routes go somewhere is essential.
WE NEED A NEW CYCLING STRATEGY – Adelaide and Norwood, Payneham, St. Peter’s unfortunately can’t do the whole job.
If we are building showcase new lanes they should be complete. The Frome project shoul have been properly done all the way from Greenhill Rd to Robe Tce. The timeline leaves the massive gap in the most dangerous part, between Pirie and Melbourne St.
Need to make safe crossings as part of complete routes – Greenhill at porter street, cross rd at Rugby, Beulah Rd at Portrush – not very safe and not always effective (like at the peak bike/traffic time).
Finally though I think things are, have and will continue to improve at this moment there is not one single path/route I would say is complete or of an overall high standard. Why do we keep building infrastructure links with such glaring black spots?
1.Firstly, I think that cyclist-safety should be an important part of all driver-training, including a requirement that all learner-drivers pass a PRACTICAL component as a cyclist on the road.
2. There also need to be REAL penalties for motorists causing injury to cyclists. Part of the penalty should be immediate loss of licence and a requirement that the offending motorist spend that time as a cyclist. Not all incidents are “accidents” – there are many occasions where hoons in cars think it funny to scare or harass cyclists and there need to be real penalties for this behaviour.
3.The penalties for entering a bike lane need to be the same as for a motorist mounting the footpath. Every day I follow cars that drive along either fully or partially in the bike lane, thus endangering any cyclists attempting to use the lane. Frequently buses and taxis are the culprits here too.
4. Real bike lanes need to be rolled out. Frome Road is a good start. An adequate, safe bike line will be next to the curb, with a solid barrier between the parking and cycling lanes. The one complaint I have about the Frome Rd development is that there are gaps in the concrete to allow cars to enter the bike lane. This is not necessary, as emergency vehicles are capable of mounting the concrete barriers.
5 Bike lanes should be permanent, not just 7-9am for example and not disappear where they are needed most, such as at corners. There need to be designated full, separated bike lanes along all major routes, such as North/South and East/West in the CBD – in fact Adelaide can well-afford to turn over a couple of streets to cycles-only – there are several wide, quiet streets that are under-utilised by traffic.
6. Until adequate (in design and number) bike lanes are introduced, it should not be a penalty for cyclists to ride on the footpaths where necessary.
7. All Adelaide buses and trams need to be equipped to take bicycles.
8. There is a need for a safe bike-lane from Marion Station to Flinders University (in fact there is also a need for a train station at Flinders).
9.With the frequency of theft of bicycles and parts (such as quick-release wheels), as well as the incidence of vandalism such as loosening brakes etc on parked bikes, there is a need for many more safe and secure bike parking stations.
10. The issue of licences for cyclists is a distraction. Most cyclists are already licensed car drivers. By cycling they are adding neither to pollution, congestion, nor wear and tear on the roads.
11. Perhaps as an incentive to more cycles (and fewer cars) on the road, cycle-safety and maintenance courses, such as those run by BikeSA and the Adelaide Bike Kitchen could earn the graduates rebates on their car licences/rego/council rates.
12. Where there is no separated bike lane, the passing distance for cars needs to be 2 meters, as one is woefully inadequate, even on the rare occasions when it is honoured.
13. Buses, trucks, 4WDs and all large vehicles should be required to be fitted with adequate mirrors to enable cyclists to be seen at all times.
14. There is a need for a government educational campaign (print/online/radio/tv ads) about cycling and cyclist safety., much like the drink/don’t drive and anti speeding campaigns.
Compulsory helmet laws aren’t working. You can ride a bicycle in big cities like London or Paris without a helmet but you can’t ride a bike in Adelaide unless you are wearing a helmet.
Adelaide should follow the ACT and allow cyclists to ride on the footpath.
- Bike infrastructure is rarely designed by cyclists.
Too often bike lanes contain obstructions such as sewer or gas accesses, or in the case of Greenhill Road at Fullarton Road (westbound on Greenhill Road) in the bike lane there is an old traffic pole protruding from the road…
The other observation in this regard is where bike lanes start and end. Bike lanes end on roads far too suddenly, far too often. Again westbound on Greenhill Road at Fullarton Road is a very good example of this danger, not to mention the bike lane continuously becomes narrower along that route before it ends.
As a place to ride for transport, it’s also good. The Linear Park and other greenways are good, but things could be better.
Most of the problems comes down to the attitude of car users to cyclists. Aggressive, uneducated, impatient.
I’m sure you will hear this many times over but the one area I think really needs addressing is ‘driver distraction’ which is the euphemism for texting, tweeting, taking phone calls and general use of smartphones while driving.
Over the last five years since I started www.AdelaideCyclists,com I’ve seen the numbers of riders increasing and also the level of aggression and numbers of small and major accidents, many caused by driver error and possibly from distraction. Also it’s worth noting the correlation that smartphones were not so universal five years ago, Facebook wasn’t so widely used (see Wikipedia page graph) and Twitter’s burst of popularity hadn’t happened.
These distractions are see my cyclists all the time and I would like to see campaigns to raise awareness and increased police targeting of drivers (and cyclists if that may be the case).
Thanks for your great work.
Here is my contribution which I wish you best of luck going through the system.
Yes we need a Cycling Strategy and we need it fast. For too long we have been looking towards US and UK to compare our initiatives, overlooking that those countries are still decades behind leading countries like the Netherlands, Denmark and other countries who are rapidly following suit.
The strategy needs to consist of the following elements:
Environments. If we look at what the leading experts are saying the most important factor i providing better conditions for cyclists – it is infrastructure. Not shared paths, painted bike lanes and other inferior attempts to show progress is being made when in fact it is costly, time consuming and provide little if any benefit. The audience we need to target is the 8-80 year old, which require and deserve segregated bicycle infrastructure, which not only is safe, but also is perceive safe, which means that cyclist will actually use it. Stop worrying about what the middle aged men in lycra and the recreational user group think they need. We need to focus on the larger part of the population of both gender for which the bicycle could be a viable alternative to driving. The strategy should aim to implement standards and target to upgrade and convert all major arterial roads leading in and out of the CBD within the perimeter of Regency Road, Portrush Road, Cross Road and Old Tapleys Hills to include 1.8+ metres raised/segregated/buffered bike lanes. This falls in line with the recommendation from the former Integrated Design Commission as well as the newly published agenda from Committee for Adelaide.
With the incredible wide roads and lanes we have in this state it is not an impossible tasks without necessarily taking space away from other road users. All is requires is that foot paths and road lanes are adjusted as part of the upgrade process when maintenance is required in the decades to come. Over time will have interconnected network of cycle friendly roads.
Providing bicycle boulevards and ear marking certain back street as BikeDirect routes is a failed attempt and a too longwinded approach that can only be seen as an additional cost to the road budget. Copenhagen went down that path in the 80es only to discover people on bicycles wants to ride where work places, shops, school etc. are located. We need to integrate the bicycle into our road and transport strategy.
Education. We need to introduce cycling classes and traffic/road awareness into the curriculum of our primary school system. We need to wind down and stop the perceived need that kids can only be driven to school. We need to make our school roads safe. Cars and car parks is not the solutions to create a better society and place to live. We need to get to a stage that by the time our children gets a driver’s license they know and understand what it is like to be a cyclist.
Motorists also need to be educated about the rights of cyclists. Our requirements (age and skill) to get a driver’s license need to be raised. We can’t rely on family and friends learning the next generation to drive. We need to have difficult and tough tests, that require considerable effort to pass. Driving should be seen as a privilege – not as know where it is right that is not respected.
Road rules need to change. Left turning motorist need to give way for cyclists at all times no matter whether there is a segregated bike lane or not. Motorist need to turn their head before indicating and again before turning – failure to do so means loss of demerit points. We need to stop consider a bicycle a vehicle but instead what it is: a bicycle. Stop treating the bicycle as a slow car and consider it as a fast way or walking. Allow left turning for red for cyclist. Instead prohibit cyclists from doing right turn from car lanes. Create traffic intersections where there is space for cyclist to do hook turn (two stage right turns).
Abolish mandatory helmet law. The effect has created havoc for too long. Recreational and sport cyclists who submit themselves to enhanced danger will keep using them. Abolish MHL will bring back the bicyle as a mainstream mode of transportation again. Stop promoting the dangers of cycling. Driving is far more dangerous. Stop blaming the victims and target the motorists that are creating the danger. Introduce ‘sustainable safety’ or ‘law of the vulnerable road user’ which essential mean that the bigger/heavier road user is always at blame until proven otherwise. The person with the biggest gun is the one we need to target.
Police need to enforce the road rules and legislation that protect the cyclist. Simple. No more warning the motorist and blaming the victim. It should not be required to wear hi-vis in broad daylight to be seen. Stop blaming the victim for not wearing a helmet when he was hit but a motorist who wasn’t looking and speeding and generally not taking due care.
Change MAC to Traffic Accident Commission and stop letting them bully cyclists. Put more funding into BikeSA but demand targeted campaign for commuter/utility cyclists – people who just want to get from A to B. Run 2-4 week ‘ride to work’ campaigns which is a combination of Ride2Work and Tour de Work but on a national/state level. Run campaigns of the benefits of cycling (less use of resources, health benefits, less maintenance cost of road, happier/invigorated people arriving at their destination, less waste of time in traffic queues, etc. etc.)
Greater metropolitan Adelaide has not got a foot print much larger than that of Copenhagen yet the transport times are generally double up whether car or public transport. Getting more people on bicycles is cheaper than provisioning for cars but will in turn make better conditions for those cars/trucks that do need to be on the road. We need to be more effective, productive and innovative now that the mining boom is over and the end of the manufacturing era is approaching. The bicycle and the person riding is a key enabler in reforming our society to take part in a competitive 21st century.
- Legislate that there is to be no more expansion of Adelaide geographical area and that Adelaide suburbs are to be reassessed to plan for integrated communities. We are the same population as Copenhagen and occupy at least twice the land area.
- Legislate that all road resurfacing and major upgrades are to reallocate the road space to include provision for cycling. The road priority is to be Pedestrian, active transport, public transport, freight and business transport, personal vehicular transport in that order.
- Reject the Austroads guidelines and adopt a combination of the Irish National Cycle Manual and the Copenhagenize Design Manual, with the Copenhagenize manual taking priority over the Irish manual.
- Increase the proportion of cycling budget to the targeted proportion of cyclists as road users. That is, if the target is 4%, then 4% is the amount to be spent on world class cycling infrastructure and education.
Many more of my friends and students at our school would cycle if crossings at major roads were sustainably safe for pedestrians and cyclists and that the cycling ‘infrastructure’ along roads was at least to the Austroads standards. The SA Govt (DPTI) is a signatory to Austroads, however they totally disregard what is contained in the pages. This is probably because it is so wordy and is nowhere like the simplicity of the Irish Cycling Manual.
Councils need to help by ensuring bike lanes aren’t just marked but at least reasonably kept (for example the bike lane heading west along Daws road is insulting)
Better education for the public about what a bike lane means
Dedicated lanes on main roads like Anzac highway for bikes in off peak times (cars don’t need 3 lanes at 6am on a Sunday morning, but god forbid you want to have a chat with a riding mate and ride 2 abreast)
Others have mentioned it but why is it that where ever a road narrows the bike lane often disappears, this is where you need a lane more than ever.
As also previously stated, my wife has expressed a keen interest to ride to work but is terrified by the attitude of drivers to cyclist safety. As someone who rides regularly I really wish I could ride with my family, the fact that I genuinely feel threatened every single time I am on the road due to negligent and or intentionally dangerous drivers means I am extremely hesitant to ride on our roads with my family. The backstreets in our area have recently become terribly dangerous due to drivers seeking rat runs from the congestion that is the goodwood/springbank/daws road intersection. I often now see cars driving down our narrow once very quiet road at speeds in excess of 80kmph
1. I live in Seacliff and my last two jobs have been on the other side of the city (Nailsworth & Glynde). I cycle regularly to work and find that quite often I am in bike lanes that are against the flow of traffic. I think bike lanes should be open at least during the entirety of daylight hours, preferably 24 hours (darkness is the time a lot of cyclists are most vulnerable due to ineffective lights). Not everyone rides to work/school from 6-8am and 3-6pm. I am certainly outside of this schedule.
2. I believe that a lot of the issues come down to education. Advertising (T.V) could be used to illustrate the cyclists point of view. I do not think many drivers understand just how fatigued I might be! It is very easy to be complacent sitting down. I hear a common reason for incorporating registration for bikes is that “we should pay for the bike lanes”. If people learnt just how much cycling paid off in the long run (less people in hospitals, less congestion etc) I think they may be a little more accommodating.
3. Bike parking needs to be more accessible. I do not think people should be forced to own two bikes as they are scared their ‘good’ road bike will be stolen. This extends to some form of a locker as well. When I commute I have a great deal with me (cycling shoes, helmet, jacket, gloves, tools/pump etc). If convenience cannot be achieved then we have one more barrier that prevents people from undertaking the activity. I attend Flinders University and there is no such facility (that I know of) on the southern end of the campus.
4. Motorists have to be more accountable for their actions. Inconsiderate and downright dangerous drivers, although far from the norm are too common for cycling as a means of commuting to ever take off; people are too scared.
5. Marion rd (near Sturt road) has some incredibly rough sections of bitumen in the bike lane. I am gratuitous to have a bike lane there but I feel that those on road bikes may not use it correctly due to the severe discomfort that is experienced. I am sure there are far more examples within the city. Perhaps this is a factor that has not been considered previously.
Unfortunately SAPOl does not take real cyclist complaint with clear evidence as anything meaningful, I can not understand that. Take for example the dooring on Hindmarsh Sq with video evidence – the car abused the cyclist (who required several stitches) and drove off. That was a hit-run but all that was done was a letter to the motorist. Strict Liability Legislation would go a long way to mitigating such travesties of justice especially since we are alleged to have beefed up laws since the McGee incident.
Cycling is a highly modal form of transport – I can go from high speed mixing it with the traffic to low speed on the foot-path. This needs to be recognized and the road rules adjusted accordingly. For one thing it make cycling a lot safer as mixing it with the traffic does not always work. And the above Strict Lability Legislation works for cyclist and pedestrian interaction as well – cyclists give way to pedestrians – simple.
Cycling is making a fantastic resurgence and whilst the majority or motorists are very cafeful and safe a small percent are not and even purposefully do things to endanger cyclists – I know I have experienced such dangerous actions and not just once but many times. I always wonder what was the point of it all? Strict Liability Legislation will give real “teeth” to the cyclists situation when involved in accidents involving larger motor vehicles. Right now such accidents have the real apperence of being treated as a so called “fender bender” however it is the cyclist who is often left with left with serious injury and SAPOl doing nothing real to make right the situation. Studies have shown that the motorist is usually at fault in 80% of such accidents.
Please agitate for Strict Liability Legislation, it will not be a perfect “cure” for our roadway incidents but it will send a message to all to be more careful when around more vulnerable road users (not just cyclists) and be more of a tool to ensure that SAPOl actually do their job properly.
1. Presumed Liability for motorists – this is used to excellent effect overseas. A car hits a cyclist and it is their fault. They have crumple zones, cyclists don’t, and cars are really hard. Cars should be responsible for the safety of other less well protected people rather than trying to ‘get there first’, which they will do anyway.
2. Make dedicated (all day) bike lanes on major roads. It is nice to have bike lanes on back streets, but unless it is your area you don’t know where they are. And why should cyclists take the little roads that make them stop at every intersection along the way when the main roads are more direct, in better condition and more obvious to non-locals – just make them safe instead of allowing parking in them outside of peak periods (which makes them doubly unsafe by the way as cyclists have to continually swing into traffic to avoid them…
I hope this helps.
Any project which involves paint and signs as opposed to concrete and tarmac is a waste of time and tax payers money.
One important one, irrespective of cost: make cyclist “call buttons” for traffic lights useable by normal people and not just by anatomical freaks with arms some metres long.
Thanks for the opportunity.
My recent story is that when riding on Dequetteville Tce at midday, I was deliberately driven at by a large black vehicle under the one-armed control of a phone-wielding man. He yelled abuse as he sped off. When I reported this assault to the police, the desk sergeant told me that some car drivers complain about cyclists riding two abreast in the hills! I do believe SAPOL hold the key to a better cycling future for Adelaide. So, a few things I’d like:
Policing: I would like SAPOL to enforce existing laws which aim to protect vulnerable road users. How come, for instance, with the miniscule infrastructure provided for cyclists, the bike lane in mainstreet, downtown Adelaide (Rundle Street) has taxis parked on it and drivers standing in it, all night as police cruise by? Police in SA are sending a clear message that drivers do not have to respect cyclists’ rights. At the same time, they are harassing cyclists over minor matters. In civilised places cops protect the vulnerable and focus on dangerous behaviour.
In Victoria the Police Commissioner rides a bike and encourages officers to do so. Melbourne, despite its climate, size, trams, hills and narrow streets, has quickly left Adelaide for dead as a cycle friendly city. This kind of revolution can occur very quickly.
Road Rules: Cyclists should be able to turn left anytime with care, give-way and roll through stop-signs and to ride with care on all footpaths, giving priority to pedestrians. More footpaths should be marked into separate cycling and pedestrian domains. (The recent Queensland traffic inquiry has made many practical suggestions that should all be adopted.)
A simplified City of Adelaide and Suburbs Bike Map (similar to the London Underground map) should be produced showing the network of safe Bikeways, Linear Park and seaside paths.
City of Adelaide Streets
The CBD is not safely accessible for cyclists.
There is no safe route for cyclists to travel East-West across the city. One bikeway, presumably along either North Tce, Rundle St/Mall or Grenfell St is required.
There is no safe route for cyclists to travel North-South across the city. Bikeways that run parallel to, or along some of Frome, Pulteney, King William and Morphett Streets are required.
There are routes that cyclists choose to use through the suburbs to avoid main roads. Where appropriate, these roads should be made ‘one-way’ for cars with street parking on that side ,and two-way for bikes on the other.
Car Free Sundays
In the big cities in Mexico, it is common to close off the centre of town to cars on Sundays for riders and skaters to enjoy the streets. There’s a carnival atmosphere with water and sunscreen kiosks and bouncey castles, music and art lining the bikes-only streets. I would like to see this here.
I would like there to be some alternative to South Road for cyclists travelling between the Southern suburbs and Port Adelaide area, that doesn’t add 15 minutes to the trip. I know calmer roads exist, but in that area they only seem to be calmer because they are way slower, due to a larger number of traffic lights and a lack of directness.
I want marked lanes that make sense.
In some places (e.g. Unley road approaching South Tce), left-turn lanes are positioned on the right side of bicycle lanes, which means that these two lanes of traffic are being steered into each other at the point where they enter the intersection. It’s designed to cause collisions and it’s worse than having no lanes marked at all.
I want to see those existing lanes that look and feel like bike lanes, to actually count as bike lanes or be re-purposed as normal lanes. (They aren’t really bike lanes if they don’t have the sign post). Painting a bicycle on a narrow lane that isn’t a bike lane, causes confusion. It restricts the freedom drivers think they have, and tricks cyclists into thinking they have some kind of legal privilege.
I want to see mandatory helmet laws expunged.
The logic has been explained ad nauseam but changes never seem to get made in the direction of less regulation. A mandatory helmet law is like legally requiring women to dress in a way that covers up a lot of skin, to protect themselves against the possibility that a man might try to rape them. A fairer principle would be the eggshell skull rule, which I though Australian laws were supposed to be based on?
I want to see people being punished less for actions that don’t harm anyone.
Cycling on a foot path is one, but I understand that this law mainly seems to work as a way of automatically assigning fault in the event of a collision, because it rarely gets enforced otherwise. Turning left at red lights as though they were stop signs is another; also rolling through stop signs. Consistently with this I would welcome lesser penalties or no penalties for drivers who break laws without harming anyone – speeding on a clear road, using a telephone, or having alcohol in their systems. Emphasis should be taken away from victimless crimes or things people think might increase the risk of trouble, and placed more heavily on the trouble itself.
I want to see some incentive for motor vehicle drivers not to kill or injure us, because there isn’t any.
Hitting a cyclist with your car is only as expensive as the resulting property damage, even if you seriously injure the cyclist for a long time. This is because an offending driver is assumed not to have intended the damage, and they are not punished for it like they would be if they assaulted or murdered someone with any other type of weapon. People will never take their responsibility for handling dangerous machines seriously while the government’s economic signals are telling them that our lives and our suffering are worth zero dollars.
I would like to see drivers who injure anybody punished by removing their licences until their victims have recovered from the damage they suffered.
I would be seen by others as a MAMIL. That is, I renewed my interest in bicycles in my ‘50s. I ride road and wear ’lycra’. I have been riding now for around 5 years. I ride around 250k + a week, with 170k of that my weekday commutes. Along the way I have accumulated broken ribs and fingers, lost skin, and become fitter and happier than my 30-year-old self.
Despite all the stories we hear of accidents, near misses and threatening behaviour, mostly cycling is quite safe. To put this in context, I ride one hour each day and around four hours on the weekend. That adds up to in excess of 8000k per year. I interact with and get passed by numerous motor vehicles. The vast majority are careful, or at least pass safely enough. A lot are quite courteous, letting me in if I need to change lanes.
For a competant road user, the existing infrastructure is adequate. Bike lanes work, with some provisos.
We can ride for hours along the coast or through the hills without any real problems.
Cycling brings people together. If a cyclist needs assistance another rider will stop. We nod to each other as we pass. We’ll strike up conversation with complete strangers as we grind up a hill. We share and are aware of our surroundings.
I do most of my local shopping by bike. It just makes sense. I have locked the bike and entered the store while others are still trying to find a park for their car. And I’m home quicker. Plus I have given someone else easier access to a park purely because I didn’t use one.
My commute is 18k long. Work colleagues ask me “How long does it take you to get to work?” When I say 25-30 minutes their reactions are priceless. And I’m just an old hack, I’m not really fast. So it seems that a lot of people don’t understand what can be achieved on a bike.
Cycling is a freedom. There is magic in being able to go so fast just on your own power. And there is a pride in being able to ride hills and commute when most everyone else takes their car. It is clean, and good for your body and your soul (I don’t want to sound like I have a few loose cogs here).
Every few months someone will take offence at my existence on the road and swerve towards me or threaten me in some way. Around once a fortnight I will have a car not see me, or pass too close. Or overtake then turn or pull over unsafely. Nearly every day cars will try to overtake me on the approaches to pinch points (road narrows, or roundabouts) because they don’t want to be slowed by a bicycle. They then have to brake heavily to negotiate the roundabout. If they judged the situation well, they would realise I am actually quicker than them through pinch points such as roundabouts.
These need to be:
• adequate width
• well maintained and cleaned
• not be a carpark as well
• understood by non cyclists.
Bike lanes are less adequate for inexperienced cyclists. They can feel threatened by other traffic, and indeed by faster cyclists passing.
Bad road infrastructure
Cycling lanes that only are sometimes. Cycling lanes that disappear. Cycling lanes that are way too narrow.
Traffic controls placed across cycling lanes. I clipped a traffic control sign once, ended up in the middle of the road with a broken thumb and two broken ribs. And a $4000 bicycle that was a write-off. No comment back when I wrote to Altus Traffic.
Unfinished, unmarked holes left in roads. The approaches to most roundabouts are engineered to encourage traffic to flow through at speed. So drivers barely glance to their right, and risk not seeing other vehicles (especially if they aren’t large) because of saccadic masking.
One driver forced his way into a single lane roundabout alongside me (despite me ‘taking the lane’ on the approach), then drove straight through. I had clearly indicated that I was turning, and I had to emergency brake to avoid him. I know he saw me, but he just didn’t care. If the approach slowed traffic this would not have happened.
Are probably just a danger to themselves. Recently I watched one cyclist wobble her way along a main road. She was weaving in and out between parked cars, and did not have confident control of her bicycle. If she hit something, she might leave a tyre mark. The worse outcome would be that she was hit by a car because of her unpredictable riding. It’s always the cyclists that are vulnerable.
One evening on my way home from work I was turning right into a roundabout. I was wearing a white jacket with reflective accents, and there were two headlights and a rear light on my bike. A car came through the roundabout at speed, on the wrong side of the road. I still do not know how the car did not head-on me. This one really shook me.
As with any other segment of society, there are some bad apples. Littering as they go instead of pocketing their used gel wrappers and CO2 canisters, urinating behind trees, ignoring road rules, leaving the scene of an accident etc etc. These are the ones that the public notice. And we are all affected – as an example, access to potable water at Nortons Summit has recently been taken away because of bad behaviour by some cyclists. This has a very real effect on all riders in the hills. And more seriously there are repeated calls for registration and other backwards ‘initiatives’.
On Military Road at Semaphore, there is a nursing home. Outside the home the footpath is widened and there is a short pedestrian safety zone in the centre of the road. This creates a pinch zone for about 10m. I pass this every day on my commute. One morning someone in a 4WD tried to pass me at this pinch point. For my own safety I refused to move any further left ( I was already in the door zone). This person got so angry that when he could pass he deliberately ran me off the road – I was very lucky that I could enter someone’s driveway to avoid him. I yelled at him. He stopped, reversed, and got out of the car. With a jemmy bar. All in peak hour traffic. Because I slowed him down for 10 seconds.
I was deliberately hit at a roundabout once. I was injured, but when I spoke to police they just were not interested, despite the driver being in the wrong and despite me having the drivers’ plate number. One summer I was ‘spoken to’ for 15 minutes by police for crossing the line at a pedestrian crossing. I was track standing and my front wheel edged over the line. SO dangerous and disobedient.
MAC. A road authority that thinks cycling is the lowest form of transport, as evidenced in their ‘Loose your licence and your screwed’ campaign. Rename them to Vehicle Accident Commission. Unless, of course, they recognise my legs as motors.
Ugly public opinion
Forget the helmet debate. Please, please don’t even consider ‘licensing’ riders. What a furfy! The Netherlands got rid of that in the 1950’s! It is, at best, a smokescreen. At worst, un-manageable and a huge blow to healthy and clean alternatives for people and cities.
Sensationalist, hack ‘journalism’ just to stir the pot. Of course we need freedom of speech. It just makes me sad that these people have so little respect.
It would be really good if we kept everything in perspective. Ad nauseum we see comments about cyclists breaking the law (running reds for instance). Yes a few cyclists break road rules. Just the same as some drivers break road rules. We are all just people whether we are in a car seat or on a bike saddle. Cut the ‘them vs us’ emotive rubbish. Look at the facts. There are some bad riders. There are some bad drivers. Anyone driving is in charge of a potentially lethal chunk of metal that can kill. Anyone riding a 7kg bike is vulnerable. Learn to share the road with compassion. That’s all there is to it. Learn that if a cyclist leaves their lane they probably have a good reason – and they have the legal right to do so. Abusing cyclists and passing too close is just bloody childish and should be treated as at least aggravated assault if the driver makes contact. Sure good infrastructure would be great. But we all need to share the road. So stop the ’it’s their fault’ mentality and just damn well share.
This is what would make our roads safer. And I’m not sure infrastructure solves this. I think an ongoing public education campaign would be more effective. And it needs to be supported by government agencies and politicians, affected interest groups and the media.
We do need rules. We need fair rules that clearly acknowledge the difference between bicycles and motor vehicles. We could do worse than look at what Denmark do, and tailor their experience and legislature to our culture and conditions.
I would love to see a clean, parklands-style CBD, where people have priority over cars. I want us to have a healthy happy society. I want to see a lot more people on bikes. And I don’t care what clothes they wear or what type of bike they ride. And I think one cannot be fully realised without the other.
In the meantime, I’ll just ride.
Most cyclist also own cars or motorbikes, so they already pay rego, and by cycling they are reducing traffic congestion.
In recent years, the motor industry has encouraged bigger and less fuel efficient cars – this trend needs to be reversed. There should be incentives to use smaller, fuel efficient transportation and of course public transport.
A congestion tax to discourage cars in the CBD would be effective.
And the discontinuation of free car parking to government executives and politicians would show some leadership by example.
We need things like:
Better, safer bike lanes
Bike racks on buses
Secure cycle parking
Better road signage
Road laws that penalise drivers involved in collisions with cyclists
Safer cycling routes on country roads to encourage cycle tourism