Do Bike Paths Promote Bike Riding?

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Re: Do Bike Paths Promote Bike Riding?

Postby Drasius » Mon Mar 05, 2012 9:02 am

Xplora wrote:... Ped behaviour is DEEPLY scary for me since I ride around 35-40kph next to Parramatta River. It's perfectly safe with huge visibility for much of the path, but peds don't understand that I'm not doing anything wrong by riding fast, while they ARE doing something wrong by randomly walking over the whole path, walking 3 abreast, etc.


Actually, I'd wager you are. I don't know what state you are in, but IIRC, most of them have a rule saying you are not to exceed a certain speed on a shared cycle path. Here in WA for example, I believe it is 22km/h. Anything more than that and you must be on the road. Yes, they shouldn't be wandering all over the path either, but it's not just them. You are classed as a vehicle and if you can regularly do 35 - 40kph, you really do belong on the road.
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by BNA » Mon Mar 05, 2012 9:10 am

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Re: Do Bike Paths Promote Bike Riding?

Postby CatCanRide » Mon Mar 05, 2012 9:10 am

[quote="Xplora"]
I think its easy enough to have people SCREAMMING along some of the better PSPs, peds just have to treat them like roads. Stick to your side of the line, and we'll all be fine. I will gladly slow down behind people if there is oncoming traffic. I will slow down for kids in the middle of the path... but parents should take the opportunity to use the larger PSPs as a chance to understand the road rules. Keep left, watch around you, signal your intentions. If you want to walk across the PSP, you should treat it like an intersection on the road. It's not a footpath. You've got footpaths, and PSPs. They aren't the same for a reason :idea:

I would really, really hate for shared paths to become anything like the roads. I can just see it now, little stop go lights at intersections, speed limits being put in place and enforced. Council workers travelling along them and handing out fines for infringements against the rules. Not something that I want to see. :evil: As Drasius has just pointed out there is an actual speed limit on shared cycle paths. When the paths are quiet I will exceed that limit, but hapilly restrict myself to it when there are people around.

As much as it would be wonderful for pedestrians to be alert and awake to what is happening around them - face it - it is never going to happen. When you cycle on shared paths you just have to live with that.

The one area where shared paths should be treated similar to roads is in that on the roads we expect car drivers, truck drivers, bus drivers and motorcyclists to treat cyclists as vulnerable road users and to give us some space, on shared paths the cyclists are the larger vehicle - so to speak - and need to extend that courtesy to the more vulnerable path users - the pedestrians.

Yesterday afternoon I went for a short 22k ride on my local bike path - and it was brimming with life. Pedestrians, dog walkers, families out on bikes and scooters. Lots of children were out learning to ride their bikes. Some of those children are tomorrows cycling commuters. Some of those children probably wouldn't be allowed to have a bike if it wasn't for the shared path network giving their parents a bit of peace of mind as their children learn to ride. I remember asking to be allowed to have a bike when I was a child - my mother wouldn't let me as there was no where "safe" for me to ride (this was before mandatory helmet laws came in).
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Re: Do Bike Paths Promote Bike Riding?

Postby Xplora » Mon Mar 05, 2012 11:16 am

I'm in NSW. Not aware of any speed limit on PSPs. Definitely no enforcement LOL. I've scared the HELL out of iPod zombies doing a plodding 20kmh. The lack of attention is what causes problems, not the speed.

Either way, the discussion about peds and drivers comes down to the exact same thing - you do not have a right to dominate the path, you must share it. Peds can do that by keeping left and signalling their intentions clearly. Bikes can share by not bombing through when there is clearly a jam (peds/bikes in both directions). Bikes are forced to be aware on the road, peds have a similar risk placed on them.

The fact of the matter is, the path doesn't solely belong to them, and I can easily share if they make some basic concessions in their behaviour. I would prefer the paths have no blind spots and no peds at all so I could do 50 (yay!) but that's not reasonable.

It sounds like a lot of you guys seem to think that sharing equals zero rights for you on the bicycle, because you are a second class citizen. :shock:

Oz, I can't change your situation. If you have to take on Pacific Highway, and she won't use the current facilities (I remember Berowra being pretty good for bike lanes) then she's not going to ride. Short of a dedicated path like the M7 (which has it's flaws too!) I don't know if that would be enough. The infrastructure involved ain't cheap, especially when the roads are already there!
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Re: Do Bike Paths Promote Bike Riding?

Postby CatCanRide » Mon Mar 05, 2012 12:36 pm

:D I don't consider myself to be a second class citizen, but what I do recognise is the force of numbers. Ony a small percentage of the population cycle, a much, much larger number are pedestrians. Thinking that you will ever get the pedestrians as a whole to be trained into being considerate is wishful thinking. As such, you just need to accept it. Much less angst at the end of the day when you do that. To a pedestrian walking at 5k/hr passing even at a slow 20k/hr seems to be whizzing past them. A lot of peds are actually good, alert and co-operative. Picking which ones they are as you approach from behind is however guess work.
Had a look and it appears that NSW doesn't have a suggested max speed for shared paths but have left it as "a safe speed". Buzzing pedestrians on shared paths and being overly agressive in riding style I think would be one way of encouraging local/state government to look at bringing something along those lines into law.
Shared paths are for a more relaxed casual style of riding. Personally I love them just the way they are, complete with unthinking pedestrians. After all - the shared paths are what have gotten me into cycling.

If you build it, they will come.
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Re: Do Bike Paths Promote Bike Riding?

Postby high_tea » Mon Mar 05, 2012 2:39 pm

Xplora wrote:It sounds like a lot of you guys seem to think that sharing equals zero rights for you on the bicycle, because you are a second class citizen. :shock:


The law is pretty clear: give way to pedestrians. The law isn't unduly prescriptive about how people should walk around. I don't see a problem. Then again, I try for PBs in races, not on my daily commute; maybe give that a try. I try to be careful and courteous and I get a fair bit coming back at me too. Makes for a nice ride, and if I was in a hurry, I'd be on the road anyway.

The situation on the roads is frustrating, but bringing the same mentality to the paths will get you nowhere. Ask me how I know.
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Re: Do Bike Paths Promote Bike Riding?

Postby find_bruce » Mon Mar 05, 2012 4:01 pm

Drasius wrote:Actually, I'd wager you are. I don't know what state you are in, but IIRC, most of them have a rule saying you are not to exceed a certain speed on a shared cycle path. Here in WA for example, I believe it is 22km/h.

I'll take that wager thanks Drasius - how much are we betting ? You won't find a speed limits on shared paths in the WA Road Traffic Code, & even the Department of Transport Fact Sheet No 19 says "There are no actual posted speed limits on shared paths in Western Australia."

It's no different in NSW - the only specific law is the prohibition on riding negligently, furiously or recklessly.

But as high_tea says, us cyclists are obliged to "give way" to pedestrians. "Give way" is a defined term which relevantly includes "slow down and, if necessary, stop to avoid a collision" So long as you can avoid a collision, go whatever speed you think is appropriate. If you get nabbed for riding furiously, pay the fine & frame it. :D

I was surprised to discover that while cyclists are required to keep to the left of a shared path {Road Rule 250(2)}, at least in NSW there is no similar obligation on a pedestrian. It is not all one way though
NSW Road Rule 236 wrote:(1) A pedestrian must not cause a traffic hazard by moving into the path of a driver.
(2) A pedestrian must not unreasonably obstruct the path of any driver or another pedestrian.

Driver includes a bicyclist.

Ahem I seem to have wandered somewhat off topic - in an attempt to link the above to the topic, I would suggest that bike paths do in fact promote cycling, but they are not the universal cure for all that ails you - if you are capable of averaging around the 30kmh mark, you are going to find roads that are more suited to your needs.
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Re: Do Bike Paths Promote Bike Riding?

Postby bumblebea » Sun Jul 14, 2013 7:54 am

Most of the non-riders I discuss bicycle commuting with say they would ride to work if there was a "safe" bike path - they are too scared to ride in the traffic. I have been riding all my life (and yes, all kids did a 'cycling proficiency' course at primary school in the uk where I went to school - and we had bike sheds!), but I would still choose to use a bike path over a bike lane when commuting if there was one - I could do without the adrenalin rush in the morning!
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Re: Do Bike Paths Promote Bike Riding?

Postby Xplora » Sun Jul 14, 2013 8:14 am

^^ You're in Cairns... how much traffic do you guys expect to avoid? I can guarantee you that the arrival of bikepaths will be a considerable investment up there, and our experience with dedication of space to cycling in Sydney was not met with a lot of support.

If the bike path is fast, and without a lot of cross streets, then I can get enthusiastic about a path. A lot of my commutes this year were bike path; but they were certainly not the safest part of my journey. They were simply free of cars so I focussed on pedestrians and cyclists and dogs... actually, I think once you start wanting to ride fast (running late?) the bike path was actually more dangerous because those dogs and peds were far less regulated and predictable than the cars. Yes; the cars will hurt you a lot more in most circumstances. But you can reasonably expect to have more crashes from peds and pets AND be at fault while on a bike path.
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Re: Do Bike Paths Promote Bike Riding?

Postby sturmey archer » Sun Jul 14, 2013 9:33 am

high_tea wrote:Could it be, speaking of the bleeding obvious, that people prefer to do things that are more pleasant?. I doubt I'm alone in preferring the sound of birds and random passersby bidding me a cheery good morning to a heap of road noise.


On one of my commute routes I have the option of riding on the shoulder/emergency stopping lane/ bike lane(!) on the edge of a road where traffic is legally doing 100KPH. Its quite safe , plenty of seperation from the straffic, no side roads. Easy to put head down , bum up and go pretty fast.
Alternatevely there is a bumpy asphalt bike path up the road reserve winding though the trees, inveriably with someone walking their dog.

On the odd occasions I rode up the bike path I felt guilty - a 'real' cyclist should be hammering it out along the road not on some nampby pamby crap bike path. The one day it hit me I just enjoy riding up the bike path more. I'm not scared of the road or the traffic, its just that I can get plenty of that anywhere . I enjoy dodging the roots and sticks and saying hello to pedestrians. Thus my commute is slightly more relaxing and I'm happier.

Of course thats just me - ride where it make you smile.
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Re: Do Bike Paths Promote Bike Riding?

Postby il padrone » Sun Jul 14, 2013 9:50 am

....Or they would if we took on the Dutch approach to bike path rules and design. Put in bike paths with an excellent surface (as good or better than the roads), ensure that drivers are legally obliged to give way at path-road crosings, route the bike paths to take advantage of short cuts and pleasant open space, make the bike path route more direct and shorter time than the route you'd need to drive in a car, keep the bike paths mainly for bicyclists and footpaths for pedestrians (mostly because there are so many cyclists on them that pedestrians avoid them), and have short-duration traffic lights and countdown-timers at all traffic light crossings.

Then bike paths would really encourage people to ride.

Cycling is a convenient and economical means of transport everywhere. However, in most countries it does not reach its full potential. In The Netherlands, a bike offers more. The infrastructure not only makes cycling even more convenient than in other nations but it also makes cycling into an option so safe and pleasant that nearly everyone is attracted to cycling.

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Riding bikes in traffic - what seems dangerous is usually safe; what seems safe is often more dangerous.
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Re: Do Bike Paths Promote Bike Riding?

Postby g-boaf » Sun Jul 14, 2013 2:06 pm

Kraeg wrote:My LBS says as bike paths (shared or not) have opened up more people are getting bikes, but they drive to the path. They say riding on the road is too dangerous (despite never having tried it).

When I took up cycling a few years ago I didn't start with paths then progress... the next day after buying a bike from a work mate I was riding Sydney CBD streets in peak hour (though probably doing many things wrong).


The first bit I have noticed. People will drive to somewhere like the M7 and ride along it, rather than riding from their home to it. Otherwise, mixing it with the traffic and having to go fast, they could be fined for "riding furiously". :P

CatCanRide wrote:As Drasius has just pointed out there is an actual speed limit on shared cycle paths.


I've only ever seen a speed limit on the shared paths around here in construction zones of 10km/h. Nobody cares about it - and some of the pedestrians are running quicker than 10km/h through there, who fines them for breaking the speed limit? Haven't seen anyone get in grief because of it. What most cyclists do is just pay more attention in those areas, though the pedestrians with iPods going often don't have a clue of anything around them.

I do know the M7 cycleway has a 30km/h speed limit (according to signs) but it seems to be recommended only, rather than enforced. What is needed is clearly marked arrows indicating the direction of each lane on the shared path and signs telling people to obey this. On the shared paths in my area, I usually sit on around 29-34km/h average speed, but I moderate my speed to suit the conditions. On the M7, I will be doing 50km/h in some sections, and no, I'm not going to ride on the M7 motorway shoulder either. I don't think they put such a well done cycleway/shared use path there with the intention of having cyclists on the hard-shoulder of the 100km/h motorway.

CatCanRide wrote:and need to extend that courtesy to the more vulnerable path users - the pedestrians.


A huge, hulking muscular giant walking defiantly down the middle of the shared path with arms on hips, held out wide who knows he is holding up cyclists and laughs from the enjoyment he is getting is not vulnerable! But you have to give way to him...

Drasius wrote:Actually, I'd wager you are. I don't know what state you are in,


Interesting statement. Nobody seems to be complaining for instance about riders averaging 40km/h on the M7 cycleway. Ride at a speed and manner appropriate for the conditions. If it is empty and clear and you can see far ahead of you, then why not pick up the speed.

il padrone wrote:....Or they would if we took on the Dutch approach to bike path rules and design. Put in bike paths with an excellent surface (as good or better than the roads), ensure that drivers are legally obliged to give way at path-road crosings, route the bike paths to take advantage of short cuts and pleasant open space, make the bike path route more direct and shorter time than the route you'd need to drive in a car, keep the bike paths mainly for bicyclists and footpaths for pedestrians (mostly because there are so many cyclists on them that pedestrians avoid them), and have short-duration traffic lights and countdown-timers at all traffic light crossings.

Then bike paths would really encourage people to ride.

Cycling is a convenient and economical means of transport everywhere. However, in most countries it does not reach its full potential. In The Netherlands, a bike offers more. The infrastructure not only makes cycling even more convenient than in other nations but it also makes cycling into an option so safe and pleasant that nearly everyone is attracted to cycling.

Image
http://www.aviewfromthecyclepath.com/


This is right. We are getting part of the way there in Sydney, you have great cycleways like the M7 and even probably the one alongside Windsor Road isn't too bad, and there are some others that are good as well. The missing links need to be build to the same standards to make them useful to people who want to ride the bike to get somewhere, rather than just a recreational ride in the park, so to speak. And by missing links, I don't mean dumping the cyclist on a narrow bicycle lane on the edge of the road which is used for car parking. That's not good enough.
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Re: Do Bike Paths Promote Bike Riding?

Postby Kraeg » Sun Jul 14, 2013 4:51 pm

g-boaf wrote:This is right. We are getting part of the way there in Sydney, you have great cycleways like the M7 and even probably the one alongside Windsor Road isn't too bad, and there are some others that are good as well. The missing links need to be build to the same standards to make them useful to people who want to ride the bike to get somewhere, rather than just a recreational ride in the park, so to speak. And by missing links, I don't mean dumping the cyclist on a narrow bicycle lane on the edge of the road which is used for car parking. That's not good enough.


The Schofields Road upgrade (stage 1; late 2014 completion) includes shared paths on both side of the road. I wonder, though, if it would have been a better idea to have separate ped and cycle paths; ped path could be two-way on either side, but bike paths would have direction of travel the same as the direction of the road traffic.
The Richmond Road upgrade (late 2014 as well) will have a shared path on one side, with room on the other side for a future path.

These and other road upgrades in western Sydney also include wide shoulders... the Northern Road upgrade at Cranebrook doesn't have a shared path, so the plan mentions the wide shoulders for cyclist use (so likely little to no foot traffic, but one will be closer to MMs).
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Re: Do Bike Paths Promote Bike Riding?

Postby hangry » Mon Jul 15, 2013 6:58 pm

I have some bike paths where i live which has made it safer for me to ride and not get hit by bad drivers
I seldom ride on the road unless there is no bike path at all which i quickly ride from A to B and not try to get hit by the drivers
I believe the bike path has helped cos if it wasn't there, i wouldnt have bought a bike in the first place
The bike infrastructure in Perth is not bad at all and i still call myself a novice rider
I hope one day im confident to ride on the roads but until then, i will continue to ride on the bike paths
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Re: Do Bike Paths Promote Bike Riding?

Postby Xplora » Mon Jul 15, 2013 8:58 pm

hangry, if you examine your comments, you'll see there is very little likelihood that you'll ever ride on the road because of a profound phobia of it. An irrational one.

How many drivers have driven into you whilst driving a car? I'm willing to bet no more than 1 or 2 your whole life. If that's an unacceptable level of risk for you on the bike, you won't start riding on the road because drivers aren't getting better. It's not a rational fear, but I'm not here to be your psychologist. Just so you know, I've ridden into a car at 40kmh and flipped over, and been T boned at 30kmh, and while I strongly don't recommend it, objectively it just wasn't that bad. I've hurt myself almost as badly losing traction on a bike path and riding into a pedestrian (they had to give way, but I was inexperienced and didn't realise how stupid people are with headphones in).

Bike paths certainly promote riding for people who cannot tolerate the risk of riding on the road (which is no safer, just less exposure to cars) but it doesn't help those people learn to have confidence in traffic or encourage them to ride to work or commute for other purposes; the above post shows why. Bike paths don't cure phobias, they enable them. Great for young school kids... but if you are prepared to drive on the road in a car, you really should have the confidence to ride a bike on it.
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