critical mass in brisbane?!

Postby eliza » Tue Aug 26, 2008 8:34 pm

hi bendertiger,

i guess it all depends on what your expectations are.
why don't we start with the expectation of having a nice ride together on Friday 26th September at 5pm?
Can't go wrong from there!

As for the Queensland Police Service, (as you've acronymed them)
as Graeme said, it's LEGAL to ride on most public roads...
so let's just do that and there shouldn't be any problems...!

but... i'm new to Brisbane...
so my most pressing question is... where should we meet?!
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by BNA » Tue Aug 26, 2008 11:26 pm

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Postby Kalgrm » Tue Aug 26, 2008 11:26 pm

eliza wrote:<snip>
p.s. now i get to ask you:
you said "I like bike lanes and use them wherever I can"
Why?

p.s.s. no, i didn't ask for your opinion about the CONCEPT of bike lanes,
i would much prefer to hear about your actual USE of bike lanes.


Hi Eliza,

You asked for my opinion, but you didn't specify the subject, so I gave you one of my own choosing. My answer was aimed squarely at the apparent divergence of your two ideas: holding a CM in Brisbane AND needing bike lanes to get there. Don't you see a problem with wanting both options? My wife has a similar point of view: "what's yours is mine and what's mine in mine ..." :)

I would not have weighed into this thread had you simply raised the desire for a CM to be held. When you also raised the need for bike lanes after expressing a desire for drivers to share the road, I believed something needed to be said. There's no point getting drivers to share the road if you're not going to use the road.

[Opinion] Personally, I completely disagree with riders breaking road laws. [/opinion]

[Fact] To block the lawful travel of other road users simply to "prevent the mass from being disrupted" is breaking the law. To proceed through a controlled intersection (eg traffic lights) without obeying the controls is breaking the law. To ride a bike more than two abreast unless overtaking is breaking the law. And I won't even go into the terrorism which occurs when a driver enters the mass by ignoring an illegal "corking". [/fact]

To expect drivers to be sympathetic to the cause of bike riders after being delayed whilst trying to return home to their families is naive, in my opinion. It may have been tolerated in Vancouver (which by your own admission is a bike friendly city), but to think it will help Aussies consider riding a bike instead of driving their bloody V8 utes and "family cars" is folly. You're new to Brisbane, so perhaps you should take some time to learn a bit about the culture before you strive to change it. :)

Okay, enough of my ranting about CM. You've asked why I said "I like bike lanes and use them wherever I can". Simple - they are safe places to ride (sometimes). The white line segregates the traffic and in general, cars stay out of them. What more is there to say? If there is a bike lane, and it's safe to use, I'm in it. Remember my first post where I said I was playing the Devil's Advocate? In case you aren't familiar with the term, it means I agree with what you're saying, but I'll take the other side of the discussion for the sake of making the discussion more interesting. So, although I like bike lanes, and I'll use them when I can, I also think their presence on the roads has a detrimental effect in the long run.

I agree that the model you have grown familiar with sounds like a great one. Roads where drivers can expect to encounter cyclists in great numbers would help.

My preferred option for the design of roads is to have the left hand lane (or the only lane, if it's a single lane) to be at least 1.5m wider than a "standard" lane. That would make the lane wide enough for a rider and a car to co-exist, but for there to be no bike lane marked, which as noted before, creates a distinction between bikes and other road users. In the eyes of the law, there is no distinction, but a bike lane creates one in the eyes of a motorist. That's why, when I'm on a road without bike lanes, I ride as if I were sitting in a car. I take the lane when needed and allow other drivers access to the road whenever it's safe for them and me to do so.

My preferred model for a change of driver attitude/education is to force all drivers to resit their drivers' licence test every three years (or more often!). Even if it's done online and all the answers are readily available, the very exercise of regular revision of the road rules will help to make every road user a more informed one. (And yes, I think riders should also be made to read the road rules - they are using the roads, so they should know how to. Luckily, most riders also own cars.) In Australia, it's the norm to never read the road rules again after the drivers' licence has been obtained. That means a 65 year old driver hasn't looked at the road rules for nearly half a century. Is it any wonder many drivers don't think bikes are allowed on the road? Most of those drivers don't understand the basic road rules! A drivers' licence is a privilege, but we treat it as a right.

That's enough opinion from me for this post. Stay tuned for more though ... ;)

Oh, and I need to say that I live in Perth - probably the most bike friendly capital city in Australia, so I realise I have it pretty good here. We have excellent bike freeways (at least, south of the river, anyway) and good quality, wide roads to get around on. I grew up riding in Melbourne before it also became a very bike-friendly city, so I've seen the other side too.

Cheers,
Graeme
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Postby simonn » Wed Aug 27, 2008 1:07 pm

"In Australia, it's the norm to never use the road rules again after the drivers' licence has been obtained."

Fixed that for you.
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Postby Kalgrm » Wed Aug 27, 2008 1:42 pm

Yep - my bad simonn. Thanks for the correction. :lol: :lol:

Cheers,
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Postby eliza » Wed Aug 27, 2008 4:30 pm

Hi Graeme,
I'll try to respond briefly to your points this time
...because my day at work today was terrible due to my spending so much time last night on this discussion!!!
(i'm a teacher and i was ill prepared!)

You said:
"My answer was aimed squarely at the apparent divergence of your two ideas: holding a CM in Brisbane AND needing bike lanes to get there. Don't you see a problem with wanting both options?"

I say:
Simply, I don't. I don't see that painting a line on the road and having a bicycle symbol or two on it makes it any less "road". Nobody needs bicycle lanes to ride a bike, but having allocated space for bicycle riders to use whilst riding their bikes is preferable... you yourself prove my point?!

You said:
"When you also raised the need for bike lanes after expressing a desire for drivers to share the road, I believed something needed to be said. There's no point getting drivers to share the road if you're not going to use the road."

I say:
As above, painting lines/symbols on it doesn't make it any less "road".

You said:
"Personally, I completely disagree with riders breaking road laws."

I say:
Alright, since you're asking for my opinion...! :D

You said:
"To block the lawful travel of other road users simply to "prevent the mass from being disrupted" is breaking the law."

I say:
I guess so.
But is that it? Is that the whole argument? Is there no complexity in laws? Are laws never wrong? Don't we have politicians battling it out in government debating laws all the time? which ones are right, which ones are wrong, which one's need to be tweaked here and there?
You need to think historically here: can you think of any 'laws' that have ever been wrong?

Obviously i am not advoacting the adoption of a law that says "other road users must always be blocked in order to allow the cyclist to get through".
But the argument structure that "it's a law = it's wrong" is simplistic and ahistorical.

As for the point of the example you gave:

You said:
"To block the lawful travel of other road users simply to "prevent the mass from being disrupted" is breaking the law."

I say:
The word 'simply' is being misused here.
The mass is the whole point of the whole exercise, so, yes, i'd say it's pretty important to keep it together.
How can that be done? For the most part drivers allow the mass to pass undisturbed. However there is the occassional driver that doesn't want to, for whatever reason, but sometimes aggressively. It is for these drivers that corking is necessary.

Why? Let's think for a just a second "outside the double triangle [of law]" about the safety of CM riders.
100 riders are riding peacefully along. Nobody is corking any of the minor intersections along the way.
One agro car driver decides he might try to sneak his way into the mass, and, because there is no one corking, succeeds!
Now we have 100 riders with 1 agro car driver in the midst.
Sound safe?
I say not.

You said:
"To proceed through a controlled intersection (eg traffic lights) without obeying the controls is breaking the law."

I say:
Yes, but again it's the same point. It's paramount to keep the mass together.
Situation: We are all riding up to a traffic light and 20 people get through while the other 80 get stuck at a red.
Well, what happens...? You have 20 riders ahead, 15 cars that have turned into the street behind them and are now in the "middle" of the mass, and behind those cars another 80 riders.
That should illustrate the point of breaking that law.

You said:
"To ride a bike more than two abreast unless overtaking is breaking the law."

I say:
I guess.
But do you imagine that that law would change if there were more riders on the road? Imgaine if there were so many riders on the road that they wouldn't all fit into the bike lanes?!
Would we still have to ride single file?
Probably not.
This is the glorious situation during CM and this is why people ride two, and more than two abreast during CM.

You said:
"And I won't even go into the terrorism which occurs when a driver enters the mass by ignoring an illegal "corking"."

I say:
I don't get your point here.
Who is the terrorist? the driver, or the corker?
And do we really need to use the word "terrorism/t"?

You said:
"To expect drivers to be sympathetic to the cause of bike riders after being delayed whilst trying to return home to their families is naive, in my opinion."

I say:
You can read the post i wrote previously about my experience riding in Toronto.

You said:
"It may have been tolerated in Vancouver (which by your own admission is a bike friendly city), but to think it will help Aussies consider riding a bike instead of driving their bloody V8 utes and "family cars" is folly."

I say:
I never stated that it was my objective through CM to get Aussie V8 ute drivers riding bikes?!
I'd be happy if they did though obviously... :lol:

You said:
"You're new to Brisbane, so perhaps you should take some time to learn a bit about the culture before you strive to change it."

I say:
I've just moved permanently to Brisbane, but i am not 'new' to it per se.
I am also not new to Australian culture.
Nor am I new to car culture.
Nor am i new to Australian [city] car culture.
Thus i'd say I'm 'qualified' enough to participate in discussions, activities and the like that aim to alter the culture in which i live.

However i would encourage the active participation of everyone in the society in which they find themselves, whether "qualified" or not.

You said:
"Remember my first post where I said I was playing the Devil's Advocate? In case you aren't familiar with the term, it means I agree with what you're saying, but I'll take the other side of the discussion for the sake of making the discussion more interesting".

I say:
Yes i am familiar with the term.
And i think this has been and continues to be a valuable discussion, which i thank you for.
(despite my hideous day at work today).

However i sometimes find it frustrating when folks who ARE allies in the "cause" (here: bike riding) find it necessary to challenge for the sake of challenging.
It's a bit like: we basically want the same things, so why not discover and work with our commonalities instead of arguing over our (often minor, often theoretical) differences.

And in that spirit,
i'll leave it there

Cheers,
E
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Postby eliza » Wed Aug 27, 2008 4:31 pm

well that wasn't very brief was it! :P
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CM Brisbane

Postby Ricco » Wed Aug 27, 2008 6:40 pm

8) Great debate guys.

Keep it up, interesting to see everyones issues come to the surface, sorry opinions being expressed. :wink:

With a bit of luck petrol will get so dame expensive, and just maybe tech. won't provide a realisitic alternative, and everyone would then have no option than to ride bikes!

Problems solved :P :lol:

In the mean time I'd love to be in the CM rides.
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Postby Kalgrm » Wed Aug 27, 2008 6:54 pm

eliza wrote:well that wasn't very brief was it! :P

:) No, and I understand how the answers can become way longer than intended. I'm guilty of doing it myself, on numerous occasions. I've got a bad feeling this one might just be another .... :)
You wrote:painting lines/symbols on it doesn't make it any less "road".

It does if you drive a car. It makes it less of a road by an amount equalling precisely the width of a bike lane.

For every point (except one*) about breaking the law I raised, you have countered that it's for the good of the CM: to prevent it from being disrupted. For some reason, the mass must remain undisturbed for it to be effective. There is no validity this line of reasoning. The CM is not a sanctioned event, complete with permits and police escorts who control the traffic. It's a gathering of individuals, each of who must obey the law.

So what if cars get into the mass legally? They are allowed to do that. It's called sharing the road, which, I believe, is the reason for hold a CM in the first place.

You wrote:The mass is the whole point of the whole exercise, so, yes, i'd say it's pretty important to keep it together.

If the whole point of the exercise is to do something which can't be done legally, then the exercise should not be held (at least, not without a permit to carry it out and the appropriate controls in place.)

Is there some rule in the CM which says riders at the front who are separated from the main group by lights can't pull over (safely) and wait for their companions to catch up once they get through the lights (legally)? Doing so would keep the mass together without breaking any laws.

You wrote:Why? Let's think for a just a second "outside the double triangle [of law]" about the safety of CM riders.
100 riders are riding peacefully along. Nobody is corking any of the minor intersections along the way.
One agro car driver decides he might try to sneak his way into the mass, and, because there is no one corking, succeeds!
Now we have 100 riders with 1 agro car driver in the midst.
Sound safe?

Sounds safe to me, at least, for the 100 riders. Maybe not for the agro driver, but that's up to him to drive to conditions. Every day when I ride on the road, I'm passed by dozens to hundreds of drivers. It's extremely rarely that I feel unsafe. Why would I feel threatened by one driver when I'm with 99 other riders?
You again wrote:Yes, but again it's the same point. It's paramount to keep the mass together.
Situation: We are all riding up to a traffic light and 20 people get through while the other 80 get stuck at a red.
Well, what happens...? You have 20 riders ahead, 15 cars that have turned into the street behind them and are now in the "middle" of the mass, and behind those cars another 80 riders.
That should illustrate the point of breaking that law.

Same law, same answer from you, but no further clarification of why the law should be broken by the riders. Please explain why 100 riders should be allowed to break the law which governs all road users alike, whether they be drivers or riders.

The law hasn't been temporarily suspended for you just because you want to ride as a group. What would happen if I and 99 of my closest car-driving friends also wanted to hold a Critical Car Mass? It will be fun! We'll be wearing funny hats, we'll toot our horns, we'll dress our cars up and we'll all tune into one radio station so the music will get everyone who is stuck at the lights into the party mood. And to really make sure we have a party, we'll do it during peak period on a Friday! Should we be allowed to block all traffic until every one of us has made it through an intersection? If you want equality, surely we must have the same access to the disobedience of the road laws. Does that sound fair?

Why do I use the word "terrorism"? Here's a definition of it from this source:
The unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence by a person or an organized group against people or property with the intention of intimidating or coercing societies or governments, often for ideological or political reasons.

What happens to a driver who gets into the middle of a CM? Do they have their windows smashed? Their paint scratched? Their aerials snapped off? Have they been dragged from their cars and beaten? (Here's a news story where that has happened in July 2008, in Seattle). Sometimes, a Critical Mass ride is terrorism because people feel threatened by the actions of the participants. That's why I intentionally used the word.

I read your post about the Torronto CM. You said the people waved from their balconies. How many people who weren't already home waved too? Getting tacit support from non-road users doesn't seem to bolster your argument that drivers are sympathetic to the cause. They aren't being inconvenienced by the traffic jam.

You wrote:However i sometimes find it frustrating when folks who ARE allies in the "cause" (here: bike riding) find it necessary to challenge for the sake of challenging.
It's a bit like: we basically want the same things, so why not discover and work with our commonalities instead of arguing over our (often minor, often theoretical) differences.

I'm with you 100% in trying to get drivers to share the road (or even to simply obey the road rules ...). I'm against you 100% if you think Critical Mass is the way to do it. I'm not challenging CM for the sake of challenging - I'm completely against the concept because, to do it, riders MUST break the laws they want drivers to obey (Critical Manners is a better option). My lifetime creed is "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you". I can't expect drivers to obey laws which I openly flaunt.

Cheers,
Graeme

* There is nothing wrong with a law that says "To block the lawful travel of other road users simply to "prevent the mass from being disrupted" is breaking the law." It's not a grey area - you can't block the traffic. It's not a complex issue. If you really want that law to change (don't know why you would ...) go and stand in the middle of the road, get yourself charged and fight the law in court. Laws are indeed sometimes wrong, but CM wasn't invented to change any laws.
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Re: CM Brisbane

Postby twowheels » Wed Aug 27, 2008 7:00 pm

Ricco wrote:8) Great debate guys.

Keep it up, interesting to see everyones issues come to the surface, sorry opinions being expressed. :wink:

With a bit of luck petrol will get so dame expensive, and just maybe tech. won't provide a realisitic alternative, and everyone would then have no option than to ride bikes!

Problems solved :P :lol:

In the mean time I'd love to be in the CM rides.


you're reading all this? could you please give a one screen summary?
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Postby MountGower » Wed Aug 27, 2008 7:23 pm

This thread may see Queensland leapfrog South Australia on the board. I should put a link to this thread in the general forum.
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Postby eliza » Wed Aug 27, 2008 7:41 pm

Hi Ricco,
Great to hear.
Your post gave me hope that this post is not JUST myself and Graeme going back'n'forth, back'n'forth.
Although it is...
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Postby eliza » Wed Aug 27, 2008 7:42 pm

Hi twowheels,
no, sorry, i can't give a one page summary...

but i can give a one page reply!
just a minute...
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Postby eliza » Wed Aug 27, 2008 7:43 pm

"This thread may see Queensland leapfrog South Australia on the board. I should put a link to this thread in the general forum."

NICE!
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Postby Kalgrm » Wed Aug 27, 2008 8:09 pm

MountGower wrote:This thread may see Queensland leapfrog South Australia on the board. I should put a link to this thread in the general forum.

... and I should shift it over to WA .... :wink: :lol:
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Postby MountGower » Wed Aug 27, 2008 8:10 pm

Get ready Eliza, the hoards are on the way. Soon, local forum supremacy will be ours, but you mustn't give in to them. Giving in will spell certain death and South Australia will remain in our rightfull place.
Last edited by MountGower on Wed Aug 27, 2008 9:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Kalgrm » Wed Aug 27, 2008 8:10 pm

Hey Eliza - at least we're providing some entertainment. Have you seen the number of views this thread has received? Lots of people sitting on the fence watching the parade go by ... :)

Cheers,
Graeme
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Postby rustychisel » Wed Aug 27, 2008 8:35 pm

Quiet night in Brisvegas then, is it?

Then again, when isn't it? :wink:

What's a CM in Brissie: 3 riders and a quick trip to the cells care of Joh's finest?
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Postby russellgarrard » Wed Aug 27, 2008 8:49 pm

I didn't pass the bar but I know a little bit, I know enough to know when your illegally searching my showtime...let's see how smart you are when the canine's come (Sorry, singing Jay-Z).

Easy way to keep the mass together without corking, if the lights turn amber, whatever cyclist's are going through on amber are to stop immediately JUST after the pedestrian crossing on the other side, this will legally prevent all cars and traffic from entering that intersection. When the lights for the cyclist's behind go green, we start riding again!

IT IS ILLEGAL FOR A VEHICLE TO ENTER A SIGNALED INTERSECTION IN QUEENSLAND IF THE ROAD IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE INTERSECTION IS BLOCKED BY TRAFFIC!
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Postby twizzle » Wed Aug 27, 2008 9:12 pm

Now, where did I put that popcorn....

IMHO - I've always thought (culturally) Aussies just aren't trained from birth to have the 'attitude' to carry out something like a CM. I'd also assumed that the cities where these demonstrations (that's what they are, aren't they?) were carried out were places with high traffic density and slow average traffic speeds - basically, places where drivers don't have an excuse NOT to notice other road users. As the average speeds increase, the 'think' time for drivers decreases and slow traffic (bicycles?) becomes more dangerous. I think this is why the 'bike bus' concept is safer as it's a bit harder to miss (fail to see) a bunch.

Do the conditions really exist in any of the major Australian cities (at the moment) for there to be some value in trying to mix cars and bikes?
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Postby MountGower » Wed Aug 27, 2008 9:15 pm

Regardless of our individual personalities, as a nation we are very phlegmatic. We'll have a CM ride .......... one day.
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Postby twizzle » Wed Aug 27, 2008 9:20 pm

MountGower wrote:Regardless of our individual personalities, as a nation we are very phlegmatic. We'll have a CM ride .......... one day.


Ba$tard - couldn't you have linked the word to a dictionary! :lol:
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Postby MountGower » Wed Aug 27, 2008 9:20 pm

twizzle wrote:
Do the conditions really exist in any of the major Australian cities (at the moment) for there to be some value in trying to mix cars and bikes?
Those conditions are probably what the more intelligent and well behaved CM riders are trying to achieve. At the end of the day, the fact that there are cars on the road is no excuse to leave your bike at home. There will always be cars on the road, but the truth remains that nearly every car journey in Brisbane could and should be made on a bike.
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Postby MountGower » Wed Aug 27, 2008 9:21 pm

twizzle wrote:
MountGower wrote:Regardless of our individual personalities, as a nation we are very phlegmatic. We'll have a CM ride .......... one day.


Ba$tard - couldn't you have linked the word to a dictionary! :lol:
Do a google search for "the four temperaments"
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Postby toolonglegs » Wed Aug 27, 2008 9:26 pm

or you could just move here and drive a tractor or a truck...
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Postby twizzle » Wed Aug 27, 2008 9:26 pm

MountGower wrote:twizzle wrote:
Do the conditions really exist in any of the major Australian cities (at the moment) for there to be some value in trying to mix cars and bikes?
Those conditions are probably what the more intelligent and well behaved CM riders are trying to achieve. At the end of the day, the fact that there are cars on the road is no excuse to leave your bike at home. There will always be cars on the road, but the truth remains that nearly every car journey in Brisbane could and should be made on a bike.


Agree... but wouldn't it be better to take some baby steps to get the ratio of bikes to cars up a little first? There are roads around here where, due to traffic density and high average speed, it's just not safe to ride unless you are pushing 40kph+. A cycle lane and the 'bike box' at the lights would seem to achieve more than having a small number of car drivers aware of what a cyclist looks like.

Did you see the Top Gear Transport challenge? I think that's the sort of slow traffic/high bicycle numbers that can make it work. I'm just not sure it can be done in any of our cities.
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