open topic, for anything cycling related.
Tried to go two suburbs away today at 10am.
Ended up turning around and coming home on the footpaths.
You people who ride within traffic a either really brave, trusting or stupid.
Neighbourhood streets I can understand, with that extra space to use and only one lane in each direction to worry about (oh yeah and that side street traffic too)
But two or more laned main roads, scares the crap out of me.
Don't have much choice based on where I live. I choose either quiet streets or ones with a bike lane, but am very wary of traffic at all times.
I'd prefer to ride on bike lanes (Adelaide has some good ones), but need to get there somehow !!!!
As Tuco highlighted, you need another option
Get a map of the cyclepaths in your city - Adelaide has one so I'm betting Squidley does too. In Adelaide, you're safe in assuming that if you are riding in traffic, you're probably (but not necessarily) missing out on an option. You'll need to adjust your thinking away from the 'direct is best' mentality of driving a car, but usually the distance penalties are fairly minor (my route to the city takes me away from the direct route by quite a distance, but the extra over the whole 22km trip is less than a km).
Riding on the footpath, while appearing safer, actually results in a higher incidence of accidents ie, it's not safer. This is primarily because you are riding where people don't expect you to be (and hence are less likely to look for you), you've got less reaction time for cars crossing that footpath (in and out of petrol stations for example) and footpaths aren't designed for bikes to ride along and so feature far more hazards than the road.
It's also illegal (well, it is here, I'm guessing it is there too).
Having said that, I don't hesitate to take to the footpath if I think I'll be safer. I also obey all the traffic laws (including traffic lights) unless I believe I'll be safer not to (rare but an option to keep in mind).
Playing in the traffic is never fun - if you ever meet someone who says it is, look for the mad glint in his eye. There will be times when you can't avoid it, and these usually happen where the road is narrow and the traffic is high (which is why the powers haven't provided a bike lane - it won't fit).
Speed is your friend - the closer you are travelling to the speed of the cars, the more likely they are to give you room and the less likely they are to try to squeeze past you. Of course, the faster you ride, the less time you have to dodge problems and the harder you fall, but it is a valid safety tactic.
Most importantly though, treat everyone else as a homicidal maniac - that's unfair to the vast majority of drivers/pedestrians, but even good, caring drivers make mistakes (and many just aren't that good at it).
riding in traffic takes bravery and trust..... i find it particularly tricky in Sydney because drivers seem very aggressive (especialy ute drivers for some reason ) compared to where I am used to.
I think all drivers should be forced to ride a bike through the city atleast once so they get some appreciation for what its like on a bike....
Riding in traffic isn't scary when the traffic is barely moving... My commute to/from work starts/ends with me skirting my way around the edge of the Sydney CBD on a few 2 and 3 lane main roads with lots of traffic (Harris, Regent and Cleveland Streets for curious Sydneysiders). So much traffic in fact that during rush hours it slows to a crawl, and it's actually fairly restful taking a lane and cruising along among traffic I can easily keep pace with...
In general I find very heavy traffic to not be too intimidating as it becomes slow moving, and if you can keep pace with the traffic no one gets annoyed when you take a lane and lane changes for turns are easy. Light traffic on major roads is likewise not a problem, if there's plenty of space in the other lanes for fast moving traffic to pass you can happily take the left hand lane. It's the intermediate case that can get a little hairy, when there's isn't much room for anyone to maneuver but the vehicle speeds are still high.
i haven't voted yet, but i actually prefer riding in traffic than using a "shared" footpath
i can go faster, i don't have to worry about pedestrians (though admittedly most peds i meet on my way to work are rather friendly, i even got a thank you and a wave for using my bell once !), and i don't have to worry bout intersections and uneven concrete.
p.s. currently working at the children's hospital, it's safer riding on the road than the shared path in front of it. no mothers with prams/babies, pregnant women, cars coming in/out of the carpark/driveway, etc...
On the way back from the regatta centre i have to leave the shoulder to go through a round a bout then move over to the right hand side of the lane to turn right whilst climbing a decent size hill, might be chulds play for the more experianced riders here but i'm shitting myself everytime.
I am usually pretty trusting of drivers, except when i hear a loud exhaust and sub-woofers approaching from behind....
Have you got a mirror? You might find it a lot easier if you get one. You can get one for the helmet, or to attach to the bars, or elsewhere on the frame/fork. Makes it easier to decide when to move out into the lane.
I agree with you there, 'shared' footpaths are generally a pretty poor solution from the cyclist's point of view. In my commute there's a section where I feel pretty much forced to use a shared path (alongside Victoria Road between Anzac and Iron Cove Bridges, I haven't yet had the nerve to mix it with the fast moving traffic on Victoria Road itself while slogging up the hill and there are no back street alternatives), and the constant crossing of side streets and dodging of pedestrians and bus stops is dangerous, frustrating and really slows you down.
I go through there sometimes. There's an alternative that someone on this forum told me about that lets you pretty much ride on empty roads. Coming from the ironcove bridge, go down the set of stairs on your left found immediately at the end of the bridge. Carry your bike down. You can then ride the path to the Uni of Syd campus there, up the road, crossing a main road and ending up near the anzac bridge. Also I find the hill is slightly (just slighty) less steep than vic rd. I'll see if I can find the bikely map for you. I find it a slightly longer yet way more interesting and fun ride than following vic rd
EDIT: check out this bikely map I made a while ago*CLICK ME*. It's a longer ride from cheltenham to the city (my dream commute once I have a roadie ) but just check out the section between the iron cove bridge and anzac bridge. It details it perfectly.
That was probably me.
Down the stairs, along the path to the skinny road. Up the road to the top. Accross the traffic lights into Cecily st. left into a kind of laneway at the bottom of the hill. A little bit of wiggling and past Eastern? Park onto Lillyfield Rd and up to the Whitebay overpass.
I've got stuff on ebay
Sometimes you just don't get a viable option, living in a rural area about 20kms. south of Coffs Harbour I have to ride 6kms. before I hit the Pacific Highway then another 5 or so along the highway before I can join a bike path. This bike path is often pretty rough in places, broken glass etc.. I'll not infrequently ride to the far side of Coffs on the highway, about 20kms; and although this is definately one of the most dangerous pieces of road in the country, look at the stats; I can honestly say I have never had a problem. I know it only takes one problem, particularly with the number of B doubles using the highway, for it to be a fatality but I stick way over to the left, never ride in bad light, and wear highly visible clothing. If you've got to do it, it's about risk management, just make it as safe as possible, praying's pretty good too.
That's a pleasant route in comparison. But I hate that narrow bridge going over Victoria Rd.
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YES, I remember now, it was you. I must say it's a Great detour in comparison. I also find that if it's a choice between following victoria rd or going over the little bridge that crosses vic rd, then I'll take the bridge any day.
Heading home at night time I'll usually just take the path that follows vic rd back just because it's a lot emptier by that time and easier than in the morning.
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