Ride the footpath!

Ride the footpath!

Postby TTar » Tue Apr 29, 2014 12:40 pm

Rode a three kilometre section of Parramatta rd's southern footpath from Auburn to Granville yesterday.

The surface was cracked and warped and overgrown in sections, all manner of vulgar debris was strewn everywhere and there was one of those ramp things at a street crossing that was only about half as deep as the gutter. It was like they forgot to make to it go all the way down. :?

Despite all that, it was a good ride. I had treaded 35c's on the flatbar which certainly helped, but the main things were that unlike the alternative routes that section is almost perfectly flat (a rarity at that length hereabouts), just one pedestrian was encountered along the entire stretch, a bucolic wooden bridge crossing a creek was discovered and at one point I almost outpaced the traffic.

Obviously it has been allowed to fall into such a state of disrepair because it's so under-utilised and it impacts on nobody, but it occurred to me that I was breaking the law by making use of this neglected infrastructure. I also learned quite recently that not every other state has the same restriction on adults riding on the footpath we do in NSW.

I've seen idiots riding on footpaths in Sydney's CBD and maybe they've been nabbed, but is anyone aware of a cyclist being booked for riding on NSW footpaths in the suburbs? I've seen coppers (quite sensibly) ignoring footpath riders and I'm thinking if the law was modified to permit riding on footpath where it's sensible, it would encourage the informal establishment and maintenance of similar paths around town and may actually negate the need for additional dedicated paths -- obviously there's a financial saving, but even from a cyclist's perspective it might be considered preferable to have a network of casual "bike paths" at your very doorstep rather than "regimented official" paths.

So what do youse think, New South Welshpersons, should we advocate for an easing of the laws or continue with our current civil disobedience?
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by BNA » Tue Apr 29, 2014 1:10 pm

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Re: Ride the footpath!

Postby g-boaf » Tue Apr 29, 2014 1:10 pm

Some parts of Parramatta Road footpath are cyclepaths, just not all of it.

Riders in my suburb are nabbed for being on the footpath by the local Police (the kids of someone I know). She just tells them to keep doing it and pays the fine rather than having them ride on Merrylands Road or other similarly busy roads at peak hour.

I don't really care one way or the other.
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Re: Ride the footpath!

Postby leximack » Tue Apr 29, 2014 3:51 pm

if i deem the footpath to be safer than the road then i will use it (legal or not), would rather a fine then be dead.
Have done this for as long as i can remember and never been booked.

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Re: Ride the footpath!

Postby bychosis » Tue Apr 29, 2014 4:43 pm

leximack wrote:if i deem the footpath to be safer than the road then i will use it (legal or not), would rather a fine then be dead.
Have done this for as long as i can remember and never been booked.

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+1, but I usually use the road as it's faster
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Re: Ride the footpath!

Postby KGB » Tue Apr 29, 2014 5:38 pm

I'm the same. I won't hesitate to dive onto the footpath to avoid an unsafe section of road.
I always slow my pace make sure to give right of way to pedestrians etc - general courtesy.

I've never been busted so see no need to change the law. A cop would have to be pretty keen on fining people for what I see as common sense. If someone was flying past grannies while there was a clear and safe road beside them, that's a different story.
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Re: Ride the footpath!

Postby wombatK » Tue Apr 29, 2014 5:50 pm

There's a very well constructed shared pathway between Silverwater Rd Auburn and Granville (Woodville Rd) on the Southern side or under the M4. While it might add a few hundred meters to your route, it would be faster overall and you don't have to contend with the gnarly roots and railway crossing.

So why wouldn't you choose to use that ?

As for your general point on use of footpaths, there are places where I use footpaths to avoid short sections of heavily trafficked roads but I'm happy to leave the law as is because it puts more onus on the rider as a technical law-breaker to keep everyone out of danger.
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Re: Ride the footpath!

Postby TTar » Tue Apr 29, 2014 8:42 pm

wombatK wrote:There's a very well constructed shared pathway between Silverwater Rd Auburn and Granville (Woodville Rd) on the Southern side or under the M4. While it might add a few hundred meters to your route, it would be faster overall and you don't have to contend with the gnarly roots and railway crossing.

So why wouldn't you choose to use that ?.



I was on a shopping expedition from Guildford to Auburn. Often I take the rail trail/M4 path which is entirely off road except for a couple of hundred metres at either end. It's seven kilometres. I was feeling a little feisty yesterday and decided to take a more direct on-road path the whole way. That route is only 5.4km, a significant difference, but as always the traffic was a little ugly and there were a couple of navigational challenges. I resolved to return via the the m4 but was struck by the sight of this thoroughly empty path stretching off into the distance and decided to explore it.

I crossed the railway line at Granville and completed the trip from there following a top secret route I've worked out. It was only about 500m less than taking the M4, but honestly, it was a more pleasant ride. There's about the same number of street crossings and while you do have to come to a near or complete stop every time, I felt less tense crossing those streets than their equivalents on the M4, which often have poor sight lines and always break your momentum.

And on the M4 path there's a scungy section starting with the first of two overhead railway lines which are the hangout of ill intentioned pigeons, then an awkward twisting undulating stretch under the Church st/Woodville rd/Parra rd/M4 monstrosity after which you have to make a gawky u-turn onto a footpath and traverse the horrendous railway underpass on Woodville rd to access some shoddy back streets which will finally deliver you onto the rail trail.

By comparison, the Parra rd footpath was like a ride in the country.

I understand the general point of leaving the law unchanged, but there could be a lot of inconsistency by cops implementing the law and people not using footpaths because of uncertainty etc all of which could lessen the legitimacy of cycling. I vote for a change in the law.
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Re: Ride the footpath!

Postby sankari » Tue Apr 29, 2014 11:38 pm

Much of Parramatta Rd footpath in that area is designated as shared path. Also, I hear there's a cyclepath along Duck River south of Clyde station that starts in the middle of nowhere, and ends in the middle of nowhere (near the water pipes at Sefton).

But you're probably referring to neither of these. My best guess of your 'super-secret' footpath is the not very known, but surprisingly well lit, path through the Clyde rail yards. But then again, it's a big area, so you could be referring to anything.
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Re: Ride the footpath!

Postby TTar » Wed Apr 30, 2014 8:41 am

sankari wrote:... I hear there's a cyclepath along Duck River south of Clyde station that starts in the middle of nowhere, and ends in the middle of nowhere (near the water pipes at Sefton).

But you're probably referring to neither of these. My best guess of your 'super-secret' footpath is the not very known, but surprisingly well lit, path through the Clyde rail yards.



The one true secret path is held in sacred trust by the holy order of the devout downtube shifters and will never be revealed, however, if you carefully study aerial images of the area (or promised land, if you prefer) you'll notice ribbons of trees which line canals/creeks, snaking through the streets. Very often there's small parks and bridges and all sort of access paths along the length of these waterways and if the pure of heart embark on a pilgrimage they may discover the path to salvation and enlightenment, but I've already said too much...

My secret path is not through the rail yards, but one time many many years ago when hundreds of old carriages where put out to pasture there we were able to ride straight in to the unfenced yard and spend an entire day exploring the joint. It was better than Disneyland.

And yes, the tales of the fabled Duck River cycle path are true. If it went all the way to Clyde and the water pipes at the other end and there was an actual path along the water pipes it would be a most righteous facility. But we're governed by hucksters and tricksters, so it'll probably stay the way it is now forever and you'll just have to make do.
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Re: Ride the footpath!

Postby ColinOldnCranky » Wed Apr 30, 2014 3:19 pm

Nyuk nyuk. I get to take my choice of shared use paths and (most) roads. I may be slow but there are some advanatages. :mrgreen:
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Re: Ride the footpath!

Postby sankari » Wed Apr 30, 2014 7:09 pm

There's a stormwater drain all the way from Clyde station to Guildford park, fully bike accessible at both ends. That must be it :lol:
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Re: Ride the footpath!

Postby yugyug » Wed Apr 30, 2014 11:02 pm

TTar wrote:The one true secret path is held in sacred trust by the holy order of the devout downtube shifters and will never be revealed...


lol.

I'm a downtube shifter who rides on footpaths when its suits my whimsy (or safety) and yes I think the law should be changed. More power to cyclists to choose to match their route to their ability. It hardly causes problems where it is legal in Australia (like Queensland), nor the rest of the world (like Japan, where it is very common in very busy areas).
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Re: Ride the footpath!

Postby Xplora » Thu May 01, 2014 2:45 pm

It's a law that is designed to ensure bikes aren't exposed to sideways impacts from cars out of driveways which is easy even at 20kmh to go wrong; it also creates certainty about where the cyclist is supposed to be, because drivers can be knuckledragging bottom feeders that don't understand they didn't acquire a licence to kill when they got their P's...
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Re: Ride the footpath!

Postby rogan » Thu May 01, 2014 5:24 pm

Xplora wrote:It's a law that is designed to ensure bikes aren't exposed to sideways impacts from cars out of driveways which is easy even at 20kmh to go wrong; it also creates certainty about where the cyclist is supposed to be, because drivers can be knuckledragging bottom feeders that don't understand they didn't acquire a licence to kill when they got their P's...


Riding the footpath absolutely has its own dangers. Not least the risk of a fine, which I believe is in the order of $60. Nevertheless, there are parts I ride on the footpath. If I cop the fine, I will pay it with good grace, my wife and kids have precedence and I won't (for example) ride on Pennant Hills Rd uphill in heavy peak hour traffic. It can be done, but it's unpleasant and the path is faster and safer with nary a pedestrian in that part.

Getting reversed into going past driveways is a risk. Again, you could conceivably fall off, hurt yourself, all the rest of it. Nearly happened to me this morning. However, you are highly unlikely to incur a really serious injury or worse in that scenario. You might be out of pocket a few hundred bucks for putting a ding in the side of some Toyota. Of course, bad injuries can happen in any crash, they're just more likely on the road. But wherever, upright is the way to stay. So be careful going past each driveway if you are going to ride on the footpath.
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Re: Ride the footpath!

Postby vosadrian » Fri May 02, 2014 12:03 pm

Agree Rogan. That footpath up Pennant Hills Rd is pretty much the only one I ever use. Much safer than the road, and I will happily cop a fine if caught. Have had to go onto the road a few times recently due to cars parking in driveways across that path which is annoying.
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Re: Ride the footpath!

Postby sogood » Fri May 02, 2014 12:12 pm

It's pretty crazy to ride on that section of Parramatta Rd during the busy hours. Let alone the road imperfections (also acutely felt by motor vehicles), the risk is just too great. As for the footpath, that's another death wish with so many drive ways crossing it, unless one really slows down at every intersect.
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Re: Ride the footpath!

Postby TTar » Fri May 02, 2014 12:56 pm

sogood wrote: As for the footpath, that's another death wish with so many drive ways crossing it, unless one really slows down at every intersect.



On the southern side it's almost exclusively warehouses, factories, car yards etc which are set back from the street, so the sight lines are excellent and there's only a few intersections, just two or three of them big enough to warrant lights. Admittedly, it could be nightmare when it's really busy, but what surprised me, and compelled me post this thread, was what an agreeable ride it turned out to be.

When I set off, I was just checking it out. I fully expected I'd encounter something that would make me get off or if I went the whole way I'd be traumatised for life. As a supplement to existing paths/routes adding footpaths to your (legal) options would be a good thing, I reckon; you wouldn't have to ride on them if you didn't want to...
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Re: Ride the footpath!

Postby sogood » Fri May 02, 2014 1:01 pm

At the end of the day, there's no simple generalisation. One really needs to make the personal call and ride to the situation. Warehouses actually worries me too as many of the truck/professional drivers have a total disregard for users that's barely 1/1000th of their laden weight.
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Re: Ride the footpath!

Postby Xplora » Fri May 02, 2014 1:13 pm

The clear "OMGosh" areas really need share path signage on them and a letter to residents to watch out, because I fully agree that the stretch above the M2 is borderline suicide unless you're pacelining with a pack to create a presence. I footpath between the M2 and North Rocks Road, which is mostly PSP but perversely stops past the BP. WHY!?

Methinks some liability rules need putting in place, because those secluded driveways are nuts and in peak hour, a jogger is going to end up just as squashed as a rider.
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Re: Ride the footpath!

Postby queequeg » Fri May 02, 2014 2:58 pm

vosadrian wrote:Agree Rogan. That footpath up Pennant Hills Rd is pretty much the only one I ever use. Much safer than the road, and I will happily cop a fine if caught. Have had to go onto the road a few times recently due to cars parking in driveways across that path which is annoying.


Same Here. I ride from the M2 up to Castle Hill Rd on the Western Footpath. I don't want to get flattened by a convoy of B-Double trucks heading for the M1.
This short section had two of the worst intersections for accidents...the M2 interchange itself, and Cardinal Ave just past Thompsons Corner. I actually witnessed a b-double slam into the back of a car right in front of me as I waited for the pedestrian lights to change. Her car was shot across the intersection and ended up about 50m down the road. The force of the impact had dislodged the entire centre console of the dashboard, which had ended up in her lap! Thankfully she was ok, but a cyclist would have ended up as a statistic instead of just a bingle.
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Re: Ride the footpath!

Postby vosadrian » Fri May 02, 2014 3:08 pm

The only problem with that section on the footpath on pennant hills rd is the intersections you must cross. 2 are at lights and you can wait for the pedestrian crossing, though I most often don't if there is no traffic in the left lane that could turn left. Oratava can be a pain if there is traffic waiting to turn to weave between. And the grass and trees along there are a bit overgrown at the moment.
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Re: Ride the footpath!

Postby Xplora » Fri May 02, 2014 3:12 pm

Would have thought it was better to just go down North Rocks and get some more hills coming up Oakes? 8)
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Re: Ride the footpath!

Postby vosadrian » Fri May 02, 2014 4:16 pm

You have to go left or right at Pennant Hills Rd so you are riding the road either way. left is more direct.... and still a good hill. I am normally trying to get home in under 30 minutes, so I take the quickest way!! About to go and do it right now... looks like a tail wind for a change!! :)
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Re: Ride the footpath!

Postby queequeg » Fri May 02, 2014 7:34 pm

Xplora wrote:Would have thought it was better to just go down North Rocks and get some more hills coming up Oakes? 8)


I do that route when coming from SOP. Come up through Dundas Valley, cross Pennant Hills Rd at Adderton Rd, then left into Jenkins Rd for the roller coaster ride to North Rocks Rd, then down Oakes Rd, then right on Aiken Rd and left onto the footpath up to Castle Hill Rd to reach New Line Rd.
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Re: Ride the footpath!

Postby Xplora » Fri May 02, 2014 9:30 pm

Strap on a pair, quee! HIGHS ROAD FTW :!: :!: :!:

:lol: I can dig, I don't recall Highs Road being the slightest bit cyclist friendly in either direction :shock: Which is a shame, because WPH is crawling with awesome cycling opps.
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