Sydney Bike Lanes

Re: Sydney Bike Lanes

Postby trailgumby » Thu Sep 09, 2010 12:46 pm

Nate wrote:geez you guys are harsh - a journo comes on here asking for info etc,

Journalist... at the Daily Telegraph... hmmm.

Nup. That'd be an oxymoron.
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by BNA » Thu Sep 09, 2010 1:41 pm

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Re: Sydney Bike Lanes

Postby Nate » Thu Sep 09, 2010 1:41 pm

trailgumby wrote:Nup. That'd be an oxymoron.


chin up Gumby, dont be so disenchanted with the world!
Same as Kerri Anne & drive time radio, not exactly "high brow" but its your target audience.

Everyone complains about negative journalism & someone comes along & wants our view & gets scalded...
WT? can we expect!
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Re: Sydney Bike Lanes

Postby Cama7 » Thu Sep 09, 2010 4:15 pm

Many thanks for your replies. Very helpful. (And thanks for your support Nate ... the cheque is in the post :))
At this stage we are running a piece in the coming days suggesting that cyclists, while they like the idea of bike lanes to get more people on wheels, they themselves don't really use them, preferring to run the gauntlet in traffic where they don't have to stop all the time. As admirable as the bike lanes are, they have not been designed with a cyclist/commuter in mind.
This is my own personal belief (having biked up Bourke St for a few weeks), but judging from the comments received, probably a consensus.
Then balancing those thoughts is also the issue of encouraging non-cylists to take up the sport for recreation/commuting, and starting out on the bike lanes till they get their confidence to ride in traffic.
Fair assumptions?

Also, I've also heard the Bourke St bike lane has its fair share of problems with glass, with fluorescent lights being shattered and spread across the lanes in an act of sabotage. Is this correct? Has anyone encountered such a low act?
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Re: Sydney Bike Lanes

Postby hannos » Thu Sep 09, 2010 4:23 pm

In the traffic I commute in (there's no bike lanes at all, only the occasional "door zone") I am barely slower than the motorised vehicles and quite often keep pace until i reach a hill. For the record I ride 37km to work for a 74km round trip.

The bike Lanes I have seen pictures of are not conducive to a commuter at all. If they were implemented on the route I take you could quite easily add an extra 45 minutes to my commute. Currently my commute takes me 10 minutes more time than it does to drive - assuming no accidents or other mishaps to slow my driving.

Simply put these paths are there for those not confident riding on the roads or to entice people to start ridign again. They are next to useless for your average commuter.
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Re: Sydney Bike Lanes

Postby philip » Thu Sep 09, 2010 4:30 pm

I agree with what's being said for some bike lanes, however there are some bike paths that are great for commuting. E.g. the Epping Rd/Gore Hill Freeway bike path. It does have it's problems, however it's fine for commuting. Go there one morning and compare the number of cyclists on the Gore Hill Freeway section to the number of cyclists on the Pacific Hwy (going towards the city) - these days there are *heaps* of cyclists using the bike path, when there is the alternative of the road. I'm sure the number of cyclists using the path would far outnumber that of the road. This is the type of bike path we need more of I believe - ones that are totally separate from the road (talking about the Gore Hill Freeway section). These are the types of paths commuters will use.
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Re: Sydney Bike Lanes

Postby simonn » Thu Sep 09, 2010 4:43 pm

Cama7 wrote:As admirable as the bike lanes are, they have not been designed with a cyclist/commuter in mind.


Hmmm... actually, I would say the designs have to be compromised due to other interests.
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Re: Sydney Bike Lanes

Postby x8pg2qr » Thu Sep 09, 2010 5:24 pm

Cama7 wrote:Many thanks for your replies. Very helpful. (And thanks for your support Nate ... the cheque is in the post :))
At this stage we are running a piece in the coming days suggesting that cyclists, while they like the idea of bike lanes to get more people on wheels, they themselves don't really use them, preferring to run the gauntlet in traffic where they don't have to stop all the time. As admirable as the bike lanes are, they have not been designed with a cyclist/commuter in mind.
This is my own personal belief (having biked up Bourke St for a few weeks), but judging from the comments received, probably a consensus.
Then balancing those thoughts is also the issue of encouraging non-cylists to take up the sport for recreation/commuting, and starting out on the bike lanes till they get their confidence to ride in traffic.
Fair assumptions?


Fair assumption: No. But if this is an opinion piece rather than journalism, then write whatever you want to.

If you want to see how many people use the lane rather than not, just stand beside a completed lane (i.e. not Bourke St), and count how many riders are in the lane, and how many are not. And yes, you might miss those who avoid the route completely. But if you’ve already decided what you want to write "while [riders] like the idea of bike lanes to get more people on wheels, they themselves don't really use them, preferring to run the gauntlet in traffic”, then observing riders using the lanes, may not be a good idea.

I can’t think of anywhere where I don’t prefer a non-doorzone lane over the main road. I’ll use the Kent one when it’s complete, and can’t wait to use the College St one. And I will use the King one when it extends to College Street: running reds if necessary. How were people going west down King Street towards Pyrmont Bridge before the cycleway?

To compare a road with a cycleway and without: look at Bourke Road, north (has bicycle lane) and south (has no bicycle lane) of Gardeners Road. I far prefer the part north (has bicycle lane) of Gardeners Road. I also far prefer the part with a cycleway, to the Green Square part, where there is no cycleway.

You can tell that the election is truly over, when the DT is asking for advice on how to generate page hits with a “cyclists don’t use Clover’s lanes” piece. Thank goodness the boat problem has been solved.
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Re: Sydney Bike Lanes

Postby wombatK » Thu Sep 09, 2010 5:39 pm

Cama7 wrote:Fair assumptions

Yes, a fair summary so far
Cama7 wrote:Also, I've also heard the Bourke St bike lane has its fair share of problems with glass, with fluorescent lights being shattered and spread across the lanes in an act of sabotage. Is this correct? Has anyone encountered such a low act?
Cheers

I haven't seen that, but it wouldn't surprise me. If cyclists notice broken glass, reporting it to Council ought to get some attention to it - it's a risk to pedestrians as well as cyclists - and they might even put in an effort to track down the offenders if it happens repeatedly.

However, I think it more likely explanation is that the bike lanes are out of the reach of councils' normal road street-sweepers (and too narrow for them). The kerb barrier also prevents side-wash from vehicles from sweeping the lane. So they will accumulate rubbish from accidents etc,..

Of course, there is nothing wrong with individual cyclists stopping to clean away the mess as a service to their fellow cyclists. Probably take you less time than complaining to council.

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Re: Sydney Bike Lanes

Postby trailgumby » Thu Sep 09, 2010 5:48 pm

Cama7 wrote:At this stage we are running a piece in the coming days suggesting that cyclists, while they like the idea of bike lanes to get more people on wheels, they themselves don't really use them, preferring to run the gauntlet in traffic where they don't have to stop all the time. As admirable as the bike lanes are, they have not been designed with a cyclist/commuter in mind.


This confirms my view of Daily Tele .. ahem .. "journalists". Sorry, Nate it's not my view of the world. There are some good journalists about, they just don't surive at tabloids very long and especially not at News Ltd.

@Cama7: You are WAY oversimplifying this. Unsurprisingly.

There is no such thing as a singular type of cyclist. So your statement that "cyclists, while they like the idea of bike lanes ..." is making a sweeping generalisation about somene who doesn't exist.

The comments here are provided by commuters and enthusiasts. The sample is inherently skewed. We have already developed the skills needed to feel comfortable (for the most part) in traffic. These bikes lanes are not targeted at people like us.

They are instead designed for those who are occasional cyclists - those who otherwise regard what we do daily with horror and fear ... the "but isn't it dangerous" crowd. THEY are the ones Clover is trying to get on bikes: the ones who have so far stayed on the sidelines.

If you were to change your phrase to "commuting cyclists" it would be a lot more accurate.

A paragraph about who Clover is trying to attract to cycling in the CBD might even give me cause to change my mind about the quality of journalism at your paper.

Go on, surprise me. :lol:
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Re: Sydney Bike Lanes

Postby robbiejuve » Thu Sep 09, 2010 6:15 pm

Thats the thing, it is necessary to run reds in bike lanes. That makes the intersection more dangerous and you're also at fault if something happens. On King St beforehand, you were not running a red as you were part of the traffic.
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Re: Sydney Bike Lanes

Postby ft_critical » Thu Sep 09, 2010 6:26 pm

Thanks for asking us Cam.

When I train I don't use bike paths. When I commute or am doing a recovery ride or getting to the start of a ride I will use them.

I would say that I am on the Gore Hill path/Artarmon path four times a week.

I believe that once there is greater integration in paths, i.e., they become a network their usage will increase. I hope that they can be used by the less gnarly commuters that post here and more by other types of commuter :P My personal hope would be that with a network of paths and electric assist bikes, daily commuting becomes a viable alternative to public transport in Sydney.

This is maybe a little off topic and only my opinion. I cycle to train primarily so when I am riding time is not the issue, rather it is the quality of the training that is important. I think the commuter mindset is more about how quickly can I get from point A to B and thus they have a different perspective on poor planning and delays etc. Fixy riders, well who knows what they think :wink:
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Re: Sydney Bike Lanes

Postby queequeg » Thu Sep 09, 2010 11:54 pm

What I find interesting is that a lot of the Bike Paths that are built generally don't follow the RTA's own Guidelines on building Bike Facilities! Exhibit A, which is available from the RTA Traffic & Transport Technical Manuals section.

Whether this is due to the various people responsible for them not having read the guidelines, or a case of too many "community consultations", I will never know. I have seen some utterly ridiculous bike path designs. For example, who exactly designed the Canterbury Rd underpass on the Cooks River Path? There are also numerous examples of paths that go to nowhere, end in the middle of large intersections, or have obstacles in the middle of the path with a painted line going around it! There seems to be a general assumption that bicycles do not go faster than 10km/h.

I think the single best thing that we can do to improve cycling infrastructure in the CBD is to set a blanket 30km/h speed limit and run an education campaign about cyclists rights on the road. The problem is we have too many uneducated bogans with licences who don't know the road rules and can't drive (because they learnt from mum and dad, who can't drive either!). My experience is that the standard of driving has gradually gotten worse over the years, and the police focus on people speeding is half the problem. I see people driving while on the phone/doing make-up/reading books every day. I have seen someone go through a stop sign while on the phone, and then abuse me because I was on my bicycle. I have had a woman in a car park nearly run me and wife over because she as driving one handed while on the phone, and we told her to get off the phone and watch where she was going, her response was to tell us to "mind your own f$%king business!". Maybe it is just Sydney. I'd be curious to see the total number of infringements issued by police for each type of driving offence on the books. My suspicion is that speeding offences will form the top 5, and items like "Use Mobile Phone while driving", "Fail to Give Way", 'Fail to Keep Left" etc will be somewhere down the bottom with an insignificant number of tickets issues. The reason....speeding is easy revenue. They are yet to invent a camera that can detect idiots.
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Re: Sydney Bike Lanes

Postby radiohead » Fri Sep 10, 2010 12:01 am

This cycling forum isn't as representative of the overall cyclist picture as say Sydney Cyclist. The people here talk mainly of large rides on road bikes. I generalise though as I do see people who like slow riding as well.

Finally some of these cycleways are starting to open - they have just finished the one through Pyrmont connecting Anzac Bridge to Pyrmont Bridge. I have riden it a few times before it was open - and boy what a difference it makes. I can't imagine what cyclists used to do before it was in - going contra flow with cars etc.

What are they trying to do with these cycleways. Its all about making cycling a part of the transport mix. We can't fit any more cars into the city - there isn't any room for any more buses and trains. What is the option. People can either walk in - ride in - or they can move to live in the city - or work can move to where people live. Sydney Council isn't silly - they have looked at other cities - New York - London - Paris. They have seen its getting too crowded - congestion taxes have been brought in - and now they are making streets livable. Making more room for people - less room for cars.

I live on Bourke St - they are digging the road up out the front. It is great stuff. Ive seen what has been done north of Cleveland - soo beautiful. Imagine that all the way to the city - and all the way down to the Airport - Cooks River path - Botany Bay path. It will make this city so much better.

Here are some developments in other cities that I have picked up -
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ONS2ptAR4mo - NY on why they should have separated bike paths.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ZJlweUTqXY - Copenhagen - love the Green wave idea - and the idea of the cars giving way to bikes when cars are turning right - a light thing comes on to warn drivers bikes are coming.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ezwWf9Hk7hY - London's Cycle Superhighways - as Boris says its about telling motorist that they are going to expect cyclists on this road. Something I feel if done here - would be great - a safety in numbers thing might occur.
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Re: Sydney Bike Lanes

Postby vitualis » Fri Sep 10, 2010 12:43 am

I've used the Bourke Street cycleway quite a lot (Alexandria section).

I agree with many of the comments on this thread. The idea behind the cycleways is good and I support a flawed cycleway to none at all. We need the infrastructure and a change in the mentality of transport in inner Sydney.

Nevertheless, the cycleway on Bourke Street as it has been built has been subverted by other interests that make it substantially less useful and unsafe in parts.

Firstly, we should address a point and put it aside. It is probably true (comparing international examples with high rates of cycle commuting) that separated cycleways next to a road are not as safe as cycling ON the road. However, as mentioned up this thread, the establishment of cycleways encourages people to take up cycling as an option (Sydney has low rates of cycle commuting) and it changes the mentality of both road users and road/city infrastructure designers. I think that both these factors firmly puts separated cycleways at an advantage over other options in the Sydney context.

The problems with the Bourke Street cycleway have been mentioned previously but I'll reiterate my main concerns:
- unsafe design at road intersections where cyclists are expected to give way to turning and side-street traffic. This is counter-interintuitive and as stated by someone up this thread, makes the cyclist a pseudo-pedestrian rather than road traffic
- sections where the cycleway leaves the road and joins the side-walk are a hazard for both cyclists and pedestrians. IMHO, the worst part is the north end of the Alexandria part of the Bourke Street cycleway where it abruptly ends with a concrete bunker.

To make the cycleways safer and substantially increase trips taken by bicycle requires a change in attitude to the road laws in the style of a number of European cities (Amsterdam is a great example). The cycleways should go where commuters want to go rather than taking detours that appeal to road engineers. If detours or road changes need to be made, they should be at the expense of motor vehicles. Bicycles (and scooters) should have primacy on the road; that is by default motorised traffic always gives way to bicycles (i.e., in the same way cars must give way to a bus leaving a bus stop).

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Re: Sydney Bike Lanes

Postby x8pg2qr » Fri Sep 10, 2010 3:31 am

vitualis wrote:I've used the Bourke Street cycleway quite a lot (Alexandria section).


I think you’re referring to Bourke Road.

AFAIK, from south to north, it’s:
O’Riordan St, Bourke Road, (crosses Coward Street), Bourke Street, (crosses Gardeners Road), Bourke Road (cycleway), Green Square, Bourke Street (no cycleway), (crosses Phillip Street/Crescent Street), Bourke Street (cycleway construction in sections).
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Re: Sydney Bike Lanes

Postby vitualis » Fri Sep 10, 2010 3:48 am

Yes, I meant Bourke Rd. Thanks for the correction.

As mentioned by others, the Bourke STREET section (Surry Hills/East Redfern) of the cycleway is still under construction (at least it was when I was last there about a month ago).

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Re: Sydney Bike Lanes

Postby hannos » Fri Sep 10, 2010 7:28 am

queequeg wrote:What I find interesting is that a lot of the Bike Paths that are built generally don't follow the RTA's own Guidelines on building Bike Facilities! Exhibit A, which is available from the RTA Traffic & Transport Technical Manuals section.



See photo 1.2 on page 6. This is part of the RTA's Bicycle Network. Pure and simply, it is a dangerous implementation.

Classic example of a 'Door Zone' and the reason I take up the entire lane when these 'Bike paths' are painted on the road.
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Re: Sydney Bike Lanes

Postby Nate » Fri Sep 10, 2010 9:40 am

I did a round past bourke st yesterday arvo & king st yesterday & today.

There's 2 main types of paths - "feeders" & "distributors"
Feeders - get lots of cyclists into the city & relatively quickly (Epping rd, MAYBE King st if they sort out the lights)
Distributors - get you around the city SLOWLY once you're there, sorta like a shared path without pedestrians & car doors.

For the moment Bourke St "doesnt work" because its for distributing traffic across town, which isnt in town yet!
it'll make sense once there's more traffic around & "feeders" to feed it! Pretty simple.
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Re: Sydney Bike Lanes

Postby zero » Fri Sep 10, 2010 10:17 am

I don't understand the preoccupation with making bicycle lanes that are barely faster than walking.

Yes I understand why they might want more people riding casually but if they were to put strict bicycle laneage on my commute route and force me to give way at every intersection, I'd be back on the motorcycle, which would then spend 8-9 hours a day parked helping to block a lane with the parked cars. If I'm on the motorcycle, then that would be 150kms/week or about 30 casuals worth of mileage lost. My bicycle lives indoors at home, and on the rented property at work - ie its only taking public space when its in motion. Casuals can't do that, they'll keep their cars, keep parking them on the street outside their houses and drive them whenever its wet, windy, cold, hot or they are late.

Just wish the government would show some sort imagination when constructing transport paths. Design and build a city bicycle system intended to distribute bicyclists averaging 30km/hr+ and then you'll see takeup.
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Re: Sydney Bike Lanes

Postby hartleymartin » Fri Sep 10, 2010 10:50 am

If you are running this piece, please run this comment:

I predict that we will not see the full potential of cycling in Sydney realised until some 3-5 years after the entire network is complete. The simple fact is that if bicycle paths and lanes don't link up to useful places, people won't use it. If you build a road which stops in the middle-of-nowhere, no-one will drive on it, except those who drive merely for the sake of driving.

It was much the same media criticism of the T-way bus in Western Sydney that runs from Liverpool to Parramatta. For the first 3 years of operation, patronage was well below expectations, but it has since become a real success. A real boon has been the integration with other forms of transport, such as how bicycle lock-up rails are provided at every T-way stop.
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Re: Sydney Bike Lanes

Postby Chris249 » Fri Sep 10, 2010 11:10 am

I went along the new cycleway section through Ultimo today.

Oh my god.

It seems that the bikes only get a green every second time the peds and cars get a green. And if I'm not mistaken, the bike light goes red before the others. I was stopped at three of the four lights - twice for a ridiculous amount of time - and then almost taken out by a left-turning car when crossing onto the bridge on the green. And then, of course, there was the ride up King Street where bikes get a shorter light period than others.

The trip would have been faster and safer before the bike lane went in. I understand the concept of encouraging slow cyclists but why does anyone seem to think you'll do that by making them stop at every light for a minute or two?

If the Union (?) Street lights aren't changed I'll just take the long way around on the road and get to work quicker.

Bike paths - stuffing up your day!
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Re: Sydney Bike Lanes

Postby radiohead » Fri Sep 10, 2010 11:30 am

Nate - I think you are right - Bourke Street is not like other cycleways - it is mainly a distributor rather than a feeder. If people were going to the city from say Brighton Le Sands/Cooks River - they wouldn't go all the way east through the hassle of the 6 ways (Green Square) - just to use Bourke St. They are more likely to use Mandible - Allen - and then George St - through Prince Alfred Park - Elizabeth. Or just Elizabeth if they are on a roadie. That whole section from the 6 ways to the corner of Philip and Bourke is an accident waiting to happen for cyclists trying to connect the two cycleways. I can't see people wanting to use the footpath which I see in the plans are supposed to be converted to share paths on both sides - even though they run right by massive apartment blocks. The only way to make Bourke St a feeder is if they take a lane off Bourke St between those 2 intersections and make it into a wide cycleway. People would go all that way east maybe to not have to go down Elizabeth St. It will then make them use Oxford - College.

So for the moment all Bourke St will be is a distributor for people going from the Green Square apartments to the city. Which in its own way is OK for the moment. Maybe if we can get more influence in the RTA the taking of a lane off Bourke St might occur. OR we could do something like with the Cycling Superhighways in London - painting the Bourke St busy lanes a pink colour - name it SC (Sydney Cycleways) - so as to make motorists aware that bikes will be using that piece of busy road.

Bourke Rd is also just a distributor for the moment as well - just for people from Green Square to get to Bunnings. The only way it can become a feeder is if it is connected up to the Coward St Cycleway.

North end of Bourke St - again just a distributor - but what if they put in a nice Anzac Bridge corkscrew cycleway at the Wilson St intersection with Bourke St - allowing cyclists to use the bridge over the Eastern Distributor - this would give cyclists direct access to corner of Macquarie and Bent St - I think Bent St should have a cycleway as well down to Circular Quay.
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Re: Sydney Bike Lanes

Postby queequeg » Fri Sep 10, 2010 11:46 am

hannos wrote:
queequeg wrote:What I find interesting is that a lot of the Bike Paths that are built generally don't follow the RTA's own Guidelines on building Bike Facilities! Exhibit A, which is available from the RTA Traffic & Transport Technical Manuals section.



See photo 1.2 on page 6. This is part of the RTA's Bicycle Network. Pure and simply, it is a dangerous implementation.

Classic example of a 'Door Zone' and the reason I take up the entire lane when these 'Bike paths' are painted on the road.


Yep, that would be a "Road Shoulder Lane" as clearly described in section 4.6 on Page 19, and the "Door Zone" issue is clearly pointed out.
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Re: Sydney Bike Lanes

Postby x8pg2qr » Fri Sep 10, 2010 12:51 pm

Nate wrote:I did a round past bourke st yesterday arvo & king st yesterday & today.

There's 2 main types of paths - "feeders" & "distributors"
Feeders - get lots of cyclists into the city & relatively quickly (Epping rd, MAYBE King st if they sort out the lights)
Distributors - get you around the city SLOWLY once you're there, sorta like a shared path without pedestrians & car doors.

For the moment Bourke St "doesnt work" because its for distributing traffic across town, which isnt in town yet!
it'll make sense once there's more traffic around & "feeders" to feed it! Pretty simple.


Mmm… true that. Although Bourke Street does pass through Surry Hills & Woolloomooloo, which has lots of streetside shops in its own right. IMO a bicycle route there makes the place more accessible to people from “close by” (I mean Redfern, Newtown that sort of distance, where it’s a fair hike walking to Woolloomooloo for a coffee, and yet a shame to drive that distance). If a lane went through to shops in Darlinghurst or Kings Cross, then it would be a joy to casually explore those places on a bicycle.

As a route to the city, IMO Bourke St is poor. But there are “feeder” routes to the city already: (off top of my head: Chalmers, Parramatta, Pyrmont Bridge, George, Oxford Street etc), and why should distributors just be in the CBD?

Lastly, I think City of Sydney’s designs are lacking. But the RTA is unhelpful in traffic signalling (evidence: King St lights), the state government is unhelpful (evidence: unfulfilled promises, $16M annual bicycle budget in recent plan), private companies aren’t helpful (unkept promises, M2 closing, William Street lanes). Cityrail tolerates bicycles but doesn’t provide good parking at stations. So while current riders bemoan building of inadequate-for-their-use-lanes, what has Sydney to show for decades of congestion: 1–2% of trips made by bicycles is not a success story. It’s my opinion that “ideally” lower speed limits, riding with traffic, and driver education (+ public transport etc) are solutions for Sydney. But there is no doubt the hostility from the powers that be, for those sorts of things. We need more new bicycle riders, to make more trips, to influence the RTA and the state government, which is why I support+ these lanes.

To be fair, the best thing the RTA has done for me, is allowing bicycles in the bus lanes (even with taxis, motorcycles, buses and left-turning traffic).
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Re: Sydney Bike Lanes

Postby hannos » Fri Sep 10, 2010 1:01 pm

queequeg wrote:
hannos wrote:
queequeg wrote:What I find interesting is that a lot of the Bike Paths that are built generally don't follow the RTA's own Guidelines on building Bike Facilities! Exhibit A, which is available from the RTA Traffic & Transport Technical Manuals section.



See photo 1.2 on page 6. This is part of the RTA's Bicycle Network. Pure and simply, it is a dangerous implementation.

Classic example of a 'Door Zone' and the reason I take up the entire lane when these 'Bike paths' are painted on the road.


Yep, that would be a "Road Shoulder Lane" as clearly described in section 4.6 on Page 19, and the "Door Zone" issue is clearly pointed out.



So it is!
Still, why would they implement 'solution' that is inherently more dangerous than riding on the road? New riders aren't going to anticipate a dooring until they recover from their first one, and that's likely to put them off completely. Those that do anticipate it ride in the lane.
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