BTAWA submission to Australian Bicycle Council re 'bents

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BTAWA submission to Australian Bicycle Council re 'bents

Postby fixed » Fri Mar 19, 2010 1:44 am

Bicycle Transportation Alliance of Western Asutralia were asked for comment regarding a proposal from South Australia to legislate for compulsory 1.5m orange flags for recumbents.
The Aust Bicycle Council will contribute to a report going to the Australian Road Rules Maintenance Group
The BTAWA response stems from this proposal:

South Australia recently repealed legislation that mandated certain dimensions for pedal cycles. Repeal of this legislation now means there are no controls over the length, width or height of pedal cycles or the load they carry.
I understand the Western Australia is now the only jurisdiction with legislation that deals with the dimensions of pedal cycles.
The Chief Executive Officer, Department of Transport, Energy and Infrastructure (the Department responsible for the administration of the road traffic legislation in South Australia) raised concerns about the visibility of riders of recumbent cycles.
While there are issues at times with regard to the visibility of riders of upright cycles, this is more about the suitability of the clothing being worn in certain conditions or the lack of appropriate lighting than it is about the cycle being within driver's line of sight.
The issue of recumbent cycles was discussed at the ABC meeting in Darwin in August last year and the minutes show-
17.2 Recumbent Bicycles legality in SA
Riding 3-wheeled recumbent bikes on roads or paths is illegal in South Australia where bicycles are restricted to a maximum width of 700mm. Advice was requested on what other jurisdictions have in place with regard to the legality of recumbent bikes.
Other jurisdictions:
· allow 3-wheeled recumbent bikes to ride on paths and roads i.e. there are no restrictions on the widths of bicycles
· do not legally require specialist visibility clothing to be worn or orange flags to be flown when riding recumbent bikes
· do not provide specific advice regarding specialist visibility clothing to be worn or orange flags to be flown when riding recumbent bikes
· do not have any road safety research specifically related to the road safety performance of recumbent bikes.
On the basis of these minute, no other jurisdiction mandates visible clothing or display of coloured flags.
I have been asked to pursue an amendment to the Australian Road Rules that would mandate the display of an orange flag on recumbent cycles to increase the visibility and safety of the rider and other road users.
I do not know if there definition of recumbent cycles has been developed or where it may be laid down and your advice in this regard would be appreciated.
If there is no definition I would suggest that a recumbent cycle would be one on which the rider assumes a reclining position and the seat is less than 600mm from the ground.
The proposal therefore is to define a recumbent cycle and to require the display of one orange flag at a height not less than 1.5 metres above the ground.
The purpose of this proposal is to enhance the visibility of recumbent cycle riders and to increase their safety.
I would appreciate your comments with regard to this proposal. Any suggestions to improve this proposal would also be appreciated.
The ARRMG meeting is in April but I need to finalise and circulate the proposal paper well in advance. Could I ask for your response no later than Friday 19 March 2010.


Here is the final submission from BTAWA
Submission to the Australian Bicycle Council / Australian Road Rules Maintenance Group regarding perceived visibility of recumbent bicycles and tricycles and other Human Powered Vehicles.

The Bicycle Transportation Alliance of Western Australia has been asked to provide comment on a proposal to increase regulation and legal compliance of human powered vehicles. This proposal appears to be based based on spurious and anecdotal experiential demand, rather than a clear scientific, needs analysis based objective response to an over-representation of recumbent HPV's in vehicle collisions, near collisions, lost time injury, hospitalisations and fatalities.

The Bicycle Transportation Alliance of WA (BTAWA) is Western Australian's largest bicycle advocacy group, with members and affiliate cycling organisations representing over 1000 cyclists. Established in 1993 from many long existing cycling groups, the BTAWA is dedicated to ecological sustainability, achieving public health improvement, advocating for increased and improved cycling transport infrastructure, and promoting everyday cycling.
An amendment is proposed to the Australian Road Rules that would mandate the display of an orange flag on recumbent cycles to increase the visibility and safety of the rider and other road users.
The proposal is to define a recumbent cycle and to require the display of one orange flag at a height not less than 1.5 metres above the ground.
The purpose of this proposal is to enhance the visibility of recumbent cycle riders and to increase their safety.
I would appreciate your comments with regard to this proposal. Any suggestions to improve this proposal would also be appreciated.


The view of the BTAWA is that any amendment to the Australian Road Rules should be based on sound empirical evidence, responding to an identified need, with clear safety outcomes a defined goal. So we would ask the following questions and make comment:

1. The proposal to define recumbents does appear to largely redundant. "Recumbent" can be defined as 'lying down, either prone or supine', any such HPV would therefore require the passenger/engine to assume that position.
2. Exactly what percentage of cyclists do recumbents represent in differing jurisdictions?
3. What needs analysis has been conducted to determine that such changes to legislation, regulation or code of practice are urgently needed, justified or even desirable? Without a comprhensive needs analysis any such move for greater regulation would be precipitate.
4. Has there been any empirical evidence that compulsory addition of an orange flag at a height of no-less than 1.5m above the ground will deliver guaranteed and deliverable safety and health outcomes? Why 1.5m and not 1.3 or 1.8m?
5. Within the totality of vehicle collisions, near-collisions, lost time injury, hospitalisations and fatalities are recumbent riders disproportionately over-represented?
6. Have recumbent riders and recumbent manufacturers’ been consulted on this matter?
7. Has any social or cultural analysis been conducted to determine any reduction in cyclist participation rates through compulsory addition of an orange flag? What are the public health outcomes from any possible reduction in participation rates?
8. What benefits are anticipated to result from any such change for 'other road users'?
9. To what extent has overseas experience been sought to avoid us ‘reinventing the wheel’?
10. It is very important that any proposed changes to "increase visibility" avoid the massive legal challenges that occurred via the change to Australian Design Rule ADR 19/01 subsequently modified into ADR 19/02 regarding compulsory motorcycle 'lights on'.

It is the view of the BTAWA that issues of visibility should be applied equally to all road users. It is easy to enact changes to small select and easily separated and segregated groups that appear to have little political significance, but much harder to make unpopular changes to larger more politically active groups even when there is clear empirical evidence that such a change would be of benefit to the community (for example slower urban speed limits).

The term ‘cyclist’ covers everything from a child with trainer wheels, BMX mounted youth, upright shoppers, tourists, vacationers, through to the carbon framed racers wannabes.

The BTAWA acknowledges that there are significant numbers of cyclists in all of these groups who may appear to place themselves at greater risk by wearing inappropriate and less visible options for clothing for the traffic conditions they are negotiating, and more obviously, riding at night with non existent or inadequate lights. This is not a phenomenon that can be overcome through regulation without consultation.

The BTAWA is of the view that rather than create yet more dubiously enforceable legislation, a cycling awareness education campaign would be far more effective coupled with increased expenditure for cycling infrastructure whilst making other less sustainable transport options more expensive - acknowledging the triple bottom-line impact of fossil-fueled transport options on public health and neighbourhood connectivity.

The BTAWA is of the view that such an awareness campaign would emphasis ‘rider responsibility’ of which being visible to other road users would be a part coupled with strong awareness campaigns for all road users.

The most effective safety feature for cyclists is to have more cyclists cycling everyday, to make cycling ordinary.

The more cyclists there are, the more other road users have an expectation of seeing and negotiating with cyclists. Any statutory change should be viewed from the aspect ‘Will this encourage or discourage cycling’? Will this make cycling safer? Is there any basis for this proposed change?'

Any change that discourages cycling must be regarded as undermining their safety. On those grounds and with the complete lack of empirical evidence being presented to justify this proposal, the BTAWA would oppose the amendment.

The BTAWA appreciate being kept appraised of any proposed changes to cycling infrastructure, legislation, regulation or code of practice.

The BTAWA appreciate the opportunity to comment on any such a proposal and look forward to doing so into the future.
BTAWA
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by BNA » Fri Mar 19, 2010 10:38 am

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Re: BTAWA submission to Australian Bicycle Council re 'bents

Postby Poiter » Fri Mar 19, 2010 10:38 am

It's a good response.
Can we mandate that all cars are painted fluoro orange as well?

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Re: BTAWA submission to Australian Bicycle Council re 'bents

Postby Kalgrm » Fri Mar 19, 2010 10:10 pm

To be fair, I think all Ferraris, Toyota MX2s, Nissan NSXs, Lamborghinis, Mazda MX5s and so on should be fitted with safety flags. All these cars (and others) are lower than me on my high racer 'bent, and as such I have trouble seeing them in heavy traffic.

Yep, safety flags on all low vehicles! That's the answer to the most pressing safety issues on our roads. :roll:

BTW, I obviously fully support the BTA's response.

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Re: BTAWA submission to Australian Bicycle Council re 'bents

Postby just4tehhalibut » Sun Mar 21, 2010 4:08 pm

I think that all electric-powered vehicles should also have continuously operating airhorns, to deal with the danger of running a silent engine on urban streets. Given the noise issue this should also mean that these vehicles not be operated outside the hours of daylight.
I think that all performance vehicles driven to a Friday night raceway meet be required to stay at said meet for no less than 2 hours after the finish of the event, to discourage hoonism.

.... you get the drift, there's lots of proto-sensible statements people can make where it really comes down less to a care and concern than a biased view. This bias in regards the proposal at hand needs to be addressed directly, it is rot and will lead to further rot. As a cycling community we've already let it slide regards the helmet laws and the myriad funding cuts when some roadworks goes near over budget (such as the now never-to-be-built bikepath from Kwinana along the rail line to Rockingham) and we shouldn't let another nail go into the coffin. So a tighter response please.

As a trike rider on a low Greenspeed I've seen cars nearly as low as my trike, never heard any catcalls about 'where's your flag?' yet I have to put up with the abuse because it is perceived that I'm in a lower social class because I ride a bike/trike. Prime example was in Vic Park, coming towards some traffic lights on Shepperton Rd and I turned left a block before this onto a sideroad, I got a block down that road when some driver who'd been stopped at the lights coming the other way had stopped in the middle of the intersection where I turned and screamed out about 'where's your flag?' Depending on where I ride and conditions I don't always need a flag, obviously this guy saw me from a block away without one and it was never about the flag. He hadn't even driven within a block of me let alone past me. I think something similar is in the works with this flag proposal, just someone being a jerk.

Some responsibility for actions is required, the helmet laws discouraged so many new riders and had consequences beyond the safety aspect (and yes I ride with a helmet and think that it has saved my life twice now in DF accidents). I would think that one unintended consequence for the SA legislation would be against upright adult trikes. Here in Perth we have trike builders and shops who will be affected, we have a good market here for trikes as the roads and terrain are trike-friendly and this flag thing is an ignorant attack on all that.

Please, BTA, tighten your aim when you fire off the response.
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Re: BTAWA submission to Australian Bicycle Council re 'bents

Postby Kalgrm » Sun Mar 21, 2010 10:12 pm

just4tehhalibut wrote:Please, BTA, tighten your aim when you fire off the response.

In what way would you suggest we tighten the response?

Cheers,
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Re: BTAWA submission to Australian Bicycle Council re 'bents

Postby bradwoodbr » Mon Mar 22, 2010 1:35 pm

Thanks BTAWA - a good response to support safe reucmbent bicycle riding.

Perhaps your response can include constructive comment on:
The actual minimum size of a flag,
The use of lights (blinking/solid/multi-directional) and their minimum height above ground level as an alternative to a flag.

However,
In my years of riding a medium and now a low height recumbent, in a wide range of cycling environments,
installing a flag is of questionable secondary safety and I hope the decision to use one is always left up to me.
For example: Cycling gloves are not regulated, they make cycling safer and more comfortable and
as riders we have free choice to use or not use them. Next time you are out, count how many cyclists
you see wearing or not wearing gloves.

Until there is bonafide research and results on whether to wave a flag or not, it is all mere subjective conjecture and I am pleased
to see BTA will not sit by and let irrational regulation be created and imposed on recumbent cyclists, who are indeed, primarily cyclists.
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Re: BTAWA submission to Australian Bicycle Council re 'bents

Postby william » Tue Mar 23, 2010 10:19 am

I seem to remember reading in the history books of automobile transportation that a person had to walk in front of such vehicle (or horseless carriage) carrying a flag to warn people of impending danger to humans and mostly, horses.
Presidents, dignitaries and world leaders travel in vehicles with flags.
There is a flag on the moon to warn aliens it belongs to us.
We have the flags of nations on government buildings.
Ships have flags.
My little girl has a flag on her tag-along, because its pretty and her brothers don't have one and as she will say, nah! nah!

How many people take notice of these flags, Hmm?

My Corsa is a high racer and my head height is approximate to that of a Subaru Forester or Nissan X trail driver. Why would I need a flag. Even whilst commuting in traffic I can be seen easily. "I didn't see them" shouldn't be accepted anymore because the fact is, THEY DIDN'T LOOK.
If I had a low racer I would be more careful of my choice of roads or bike trails/lanes and would make sure I could be visible or position myself to be visible. I don't know any that don't do this. It would seem common sense to the smart rider and lets not pretend here, there are many different types of smart. In the words of Joe Keenan, "You will see a rabbit run across the road". Why not a low racer. Maybe we should have fluffy white balls bouncing on the rear instead.
Have they talked to any long hauling truckies about bicycle visibility. Those I know say high intensity LED lights are seen easier than a flag that points towards them offering a small profile and that on open roads they will see the LED lights long before they recognise its on a bike.
Maybe the person wanting these flags has been in a position where he nearly collected one because he wasn't concentrating on the road. Should there be any reference here to driver awareness also rather than warning cyclists they are in danger of "not being seen".
In this technology driven world drivers are constantly bombarded with distractions. Just look at the dash of some cars that have dangly things hanging from the mirror, a GPS as well and even those who think its cute to have small dolls stuck to their dash, (groan). Did I mention phones, drivers applying make up, trying not to spill hot coffee or eat that huge burger looking thing.
What statistics do the ABC have to support that a flag will override all these distractions and deliver courtesy to cyclists.

We could say that cars are a nuisance to cyclists on the roads and pedestrians are a nuisance to cyclists on shared paths so... Well in the real world my dream, or this one won't happen.

Just a small opinion.

William.
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trikes and lawful use of WA roads and shared paths

Postby chuckchunder » Sat Apr 10, 2010 8:23 pm

Hi

didn't notice this thread until today, should pay more attention!

For the information of WA tadpole trike riders.

The Aust Bicycle Council's advice that there is no impediment to the use of 'bent trikes on WA paths and roads is incorrect.

Regulation 6 of the WA Road Traffic (Bicycles) Regulations 2002 states that:

"A bicycle must be capable of being braked by either or both of the following means —
(a) an effective foot brake operated by turning the pedals in the reverse direction;
(b) an effective hand operated brake fitted to the rear wheel having the operating handle fixed in a position providing for convenient operation."

The only tadpole trikes I know of that are supplied with rear brakes as standard are KMX and ICE trikes, both from the UK.

Riders of tadpole trikes in WA should be aware that use of their tadpole trikes on WA paths and roads is not lawful (similar to not being lawful if the rear of your mudguard is not painted white, see Regulation 13). I realise that this is only a very small number of cyclists, but hope the BTA might keep this in mind when talking with WA legislators. I think it would be excellent to remove the Regulations in altogether, as they appear have done in SA.
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Re: BTAWA submission to Australian Bicycle Council re 'bents

Postby Chef » Sat Apr 10, 2010 8:44 pm

I was out on the PSP last Saturday and was almost cleaned up by a go-cart driver. Did not see it until the last second.
I can understand that you might not like the asthetics of a flag, but IMO they make you far easier to see.
Mind you - the ride was at dawn, and of the six or so that I saw, none of the go-carts had lights on - perhaps this would be just as benifical as the flag...
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Re: BTAWA submission to Australian Bicycle Council re 'bents

Postby Kalgrm » Sat Apr 10, 2010 9:59 pm

What were go-carts doing on the PSP? Did you report them to police?

Cheers,
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Re: BTAWA submission to Australian Bicycle Council re 'bents

Postby bradwoodbr » Sun Apr 11, 2010 2:50 am

Chef wrote:I can understand that you might not like the asthetics of a flag, but IMO they make you far easier to see.


It is a well known fact that on a moving bike or trike, flags are best seen from the side view and do very little if anything to increase visibility of the bike or trike from the front or rear view.
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Re: BTAWA submission to Australian Bicycle Council re 'bents

Postby master6 » Sun Apr 11, 2010 9:01 am

Try a rotating flashing light on a 2 metre pole. Blue lighting would be nice.
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Re: BTAWA submission to Australian Bicycle Council re 'bents

Postby Joeblake » Sun Apr 11, 2010 6:25 pm

bradwoodbr wrote:
It is a well known fact that on a moving bike or trike, flags are best seen from the side view and do very little if anything to increase visibility of the bike or trike from the front or rear view.


I'd say that depends on the mounting pole. If it's a thin "whippy" fibreglass pole then the chances are the flag will be fluttering in so many directions it would be visible from most points of the compass, particularly on a bike. Trikes are more stable and tend to rock from side to side less, causing less whip.

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Re: BTAWA submission to Australian Bicycle Council re 'bents

Postby AusAce » Sun Apr 11, 2010 6:53 pm

I ride a lowracer in traffic and have not had any issues likely to cause an accident( though one guy said I need a flag( I thought about preaching the dangers of his cigarette to him))
Actually probably had more close calls on my Road bike.

On my motorcycle however, people are fixed on trying to hit it.

One/or 2 comments on flags- on the front would obstruct my vision, on the back I would already be past the side of the car by the time they saw it. ( I have thought about a large flag with the torso of a DF rider on it would be fun.)
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Re: BTAWA submission to Australian Bicycle Council re 'bents

Postby raptordesigns » Mon Apr 12, 2010 7:48 am

AusAce wrote:One/or 2 comments on flags- on the front would obstruct my vision, on the back I would already be past the side of the car by the time they saw it. ( I have thought about a large flag with the torso of a DF rider on it would be fun.)


I've sometimes wondered whether I should try out a front flag on the lowracer for use when riding on Beach rd with lots of DF bikes, mainly for better visibility when overtaking. As it stands right now, I generally yell "overtaking" and ring my bell, but I still get "F*ck! Didn't see you there, mate!" from plenty of the DF'ers as I pass even if they have glanced over their shoulder (doen't happen often) when they heard my little kid bicycle bell!
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Re: BTAWA submission to Australian Bicycle Council re 'bents

Postby william » Mon Apr 12, 2010 8:18 pm

Got to love those little bells.
I've recently been using a sports whistle. That makes roadies jump clean onto the footpath. At an intersection everyone looks around but most don't know where to look. My cute little bell doesn't get that kind of attention. Try it as an experiment sometime.
As for flags... Yep! My little girl still loves hers, puppy dogs, brightly coloured balloons and flashing lights of all kinds. I even had to put one on her bike because I have one or two and we only ride on paths and in parks.
I'll stick to my super Dinnotte 140l Lights.
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Re: BTAWA submission to Australian Bicycle Council re 'bents

Postby custard » Wed Jun 30, 2010 6:18 pm

william wrote:I seem to remember reading in the history books of automobile transportation that a person had to walk in front of such vehicle (or horseless carriage) carrying a flag to warn people of impending danger to humans and mostly, horses.


To give you an idea just how quickly WA moves on road rules, that one came off the books in the 1970s.

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Re: BTAWA submission to Australian Bicycle Council re 'bents

Postby Runjikol » Sun Oct 17, 2010 9:22 pm

It'd be nice if there was some legislative protection.
ie. Any driver who collides with a recumbent flying a flag as defined by law is automatically 'at fault'.
I mean, since the flag will protect them then, it must be so... :P
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Re: BTAWA submission to Australian Bicycle Council re 'bents

Postby Thoglette » Sun Oct 17, 2010 9:31 pm

Kalgrm wrote:To be fair, I think all Ferraris, Toyota MX2s, Nissan NSXs, Lamborghinis, Mazda MX5s and so on


Forgot X19 - mine was lower than the bonnet of the larger SUVs and was occasionally mistaken for a gap in the traffic.
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