Cycling Safety Seminar 30-Nov

Equipment and On Road Behaviour, Laws and Rules. Cycling Promotion and Advocacy

Cycling Safety Seminar 30-Nov

Postby KenGS » Tue Nov 29, 2011 5:31 pm

At Richmond Town Hall Victoria
Details at http://iteanznovember2011.eventbrite.com/
ITE ANZ – Cyclist Safety Seminar – Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Cyclist Crashes up 70% in last 5 years !!

The purpose of this Seminar is to tease out the safety and related issues with respect to Cyclist safety and confidence when being overtaken by motor vehicles. The current law requires drivers overtaking a vehicle (cycle) to:

· overtake a vehicle (the driver) must pass the vehicle at a sufficient distance to avoid a collision with the vehicle or obstructing the path of the vehicle

ITE ANZ has invited presenters from various fields of expertise and advocacy to discuss aspects of the issues.

I've registered
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by BNA » Tue Nov 29, 2011 5:35 pm

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Re: Cycling Safety Seminar 30-Nov

Postby The 2nd Womble » Tue Nov 29, 2011 5:35 pm

Only 75 seats filled so far so if you're keen to attend I'd encourage it
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Re: Cycling Safety Seminar 30-Nov

Postby jules21 » Wed Nov 30, 2011 9:16 am

signed up.
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Re: Cycling Safety Seminar 30-Nov

Postby KenGS » Wed Nov 30, 2011 6:43 pm

I was going to ride in but steady rain and strong winds caused me to take the train. I was expecting the panel to be evenly split between pro and anti but I came away thinking they were mostly pro with a notable exception being Garry Brennan of BV.
My take aways were:
There is flap all good data on bicycle accidents
It really would not be that hard to write up suitable road laws for a minimum passing distance
There are not enough cyclist deaths for the authorities to give it any attention
In Melbourne the injury rate is rising despite increasing cyclist numbers :shock:

I got in a question about getting a metre space through road positioning but that is hampered by the "keep to the far left" rule. Well that's what I was trying to ask but it came out as a rather incoherent blather. :oops:

I think my favourite panelist was Nick Szwed who argued the case for a minimum passing distance as a way to provide guidance to drivers on what safe.

Also caught up with Marilyn Johnson after where she related the cost issues of getting good data. Mentioned how someone on this forum had calibrated his camera to be able to accurately determine the passing distance of cars and how some have been successful in having TINs issued using camera evidence.
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Re: Cycling Safety Seminar 30-Nov

Postby jules21 » Wed Nov 30, 2011 7:12 pm

sorry i didn't organise to say hello ken - i rushed out of work and got there a bit late. i thought it was a well run forum with good arguments for and against.

i got the impression that some people didn't feel the rule would be enforceable or practical for motorists, or that it would make much difference - most cycling crashes are apparently not caused by being passed too close. on the other hand, others saw it as making a statement to motorists about cyclists' rights to use the road and be passed at a safe distance. in principle, i support that (i think everyone does).

but i think the discussion quickly turns into a broader one on cyclists' rights and the need for broader recognition of that. i think that's what many people really want from a safe passing rule, more than just a greater distance between them and passing cars. as i saw it, the question - and there was some dissent on the proposed 1m rule, both from gary brennan of BV and some audience members - was whether cycling advocacy efforts would be better focussed on the broader issue of cyclists' rights and motorists' awareness of them, or on the specific issue of a 1m rule?

on a sombre note, the story of scott peoples, and i've heard it before, is both very moving and so frustrating. but i think klaus mueller erred in using that case - a 1m rule probably wouldn't have helped scott.

strangely, no one turned up and started demanding cyclists pay rego. figure that one out :mrgreen:
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Re: Cycling Safety Seminar 30-Nov

Postby The 2nd Womble » Wed Nov 30, 2011 7:20 pm

Gary Brennan was the only key player that had a negative view according to Boyd Fraser who did much of the organisation for this. Why did he bother. Why does he ever?
Boyd asked him (I think it was Boyd) if he represented the views of BV's membership, to which he replied "No, no I don't".
Theres not much to read into that BV members.
I'll be jumping on the BV forums later tonight.
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Re: Cycling Safety Seminar 30-Nov

Postby jules21 » Wed Nov 30, 2011 7:26 pm

The 2nd Womble wrote:Boyd asked him (I think it was Boyd) if he represented the views of BV's membership, to which he replied "No, no I don't".

womble, what he meant was that BV takes positions on matters that it sees are in its members' best interests, rather than just solely on what the most popular view is. without taking any position on the safe passing rule, i support that approach wholeheartedly. one of my favorite quotes is from steve bracks - "people would vote for free beer". what he meant was, the populist position isn't always the best or correct one. credible bodies (govt, cycling groups) show leadership, they don't just follow the views of their constituents.

gary got it right on that (again, i'm not commenting on whether he was right to oppose the safe passing rule specifically).
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Re: Cycling Safety Seminar 30-Nov

Postby KenGS » Wed Nov 30, 2011 7:35 pm

Gary Brennan said that BNV is an evidence based organisation and that there is no evidence for justifying a 1m rule. I was quite disappointed in his presentation which said absolutely nothing of value. I think he should have provided counter evidence or even mentioned at least one thing that was a higher priority but didn't; so I was left thinking he just being a naysayer.
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Re: Cycling Safety Seminar 30-Nov

Postby jules21 » Wed Nov 30, 2011 7:51 pm

i think that's a fair point. i'd like to see BV do more of that.

James Holgate from VicRoads did pose a number of questions about how the rule would work. he didn't shut the door on the proposal, but he did outline some of the questions that would need to be answered before it could be confidently taken forward as a rule.
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Re: Cycling Safety Seminar 30-Nov

Postby The 2nd Womble » Wed Nov 30, 2011 8:05 pm

KenGS wrote:Gary Brennan said that BNV is an evidence based organisation and that there is no evidence for justifying a 1m rule. I was quite disappointed in his presentation which said absolutely nothing of value. I think he should have provided counter evidence or even mentioned at least one thing that was a higher priority but didn't; so I was left thinking he just being a naysayer.

He also mentioned that only a small minority of cyclists are passed with insufficient room or hit by other vehicles, so a law change is unnecesary. Don't all laws exist to govern the minority? Tell a victim's family it isn't worth it?
And what evidence based support is there for indicating for 3 seconds before executing a turn, or for most of our current road rules? No, they are there because they simply make sense. Not allowing a cyclist room does not make sense but BNV is content with this. Wish I could ask Mr Brennan what evidence supports the current rule. Finally, Mr Brennan doesn't consult with his membership on anything let alone 1m. If I was a BNV member I'd be asking why not, particularly when former heads of Vic Roads, industry peers, traffic engineers ét all support the proposal.
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Re: Cycling Safety Seminar 30-Nov

Postby jules21 » Wed Nov 30, 2011 8:49 pm

to be clear - in principle, i rather like the idea of requiring motorists to pass me at speed, at a minimum distance.

but one of the 'problems' that was highlighted was the circumstance of heavy traffic, in which 1m clearance just doesn't exist. i ride through such traffic every day, in the CBD. would those motorists all be breaking the law, with a 1m minimum passing rule? it would seem so. doesn't that make the rule impractical?

it's important to play devil's advocate with these issues. i don't mean to be provocative, but i do get the feeling that some cyclists' attitude to that issue is "stuff them, that's their problem". unfortunately, i don't think that is the best way to progress the proposal.
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Re: Cycling Safety Seminar 30-Nov

Postby jules21 » Wed Nov 30, 2011 8:59 pm

also, i was worried by some obvious factionalism at play at today's forum. having attended a couple of motorcycle safety forums (back when i was riding them), my plea to cycling lobbyists is not to go the way of the motorcycle lobby - which is the most dysfunctional shambles i have possibly ever seen, and dominated by so much in-fighting that it's a small miracle if anyone ever gets the time to do something positive for actual riders.

if you've got issues with BV - and that's fine, it's a free country - standing up at a public forum to air them is probably not the best way to go about that. cycling is still struggling for credibility against a far more powerful and organised car lobby. the last thing cycling needs is for its representative bodies to descend into in-fighting, distracting from what really matters and needs to get done.
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Re: Cycling Safety Seminar 30-Nov

Postby The 2nd Womble » Wed Nov 30, 2011 9:06 pm

I agree that there does need to be compromise Jules. We only have to look at other countries though to see that with the rule in place, their corner of the world doesn't implode. It can be a safe and practicable law. We need an major education campaign to make it work and enforcement to help it stick.
As mentioned many times recently though, both sides must give and take. Otherwise we're all doomed. To that end, we have actually formed a working relationship with Australlian Cycle Skills, who teach new cyclists the skillset that allows them to be safe, confident and respectrful on the road. We wish they could teach everyone who needed it, new or experienced.
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Re: Cycling Safety Seminar 30-Nov

Postby KenGS » Wed Nov 30, 2011 9:56 pm

jules21 wrote:but one of the 'problems' that was highlighted was the circumstance of heavy traffic, in which 1m clearance just doesn't exist. i ride through such traffic every day, in the CBD. would those motorists all be breaking the law, with a 1m minimum passing rule? it would seem so. doesn't that make the rule impractical?

I understood from Andrew O'Brien's presentation that it's possible those motorists are already breaking the law today by overtaking you in the same lane. Adding more ambiguity doesn't help but we need to recognise that the existing laws are also far from perfect

jules21 wrote:it's important to play devil's advocate with these issues. i don't mean to be provocative, but i do get the feeling that some cyclists' attitude to that issue is "stuff them, that's their problem". unfortunately, i don't think that is the best way to progress the proposal.

Agree. You want to be sure there are no unintended consequences that we would regret later.

One thing that wasn't mentioned is whether a 1m clearance has been tested in court to form a precedent or the reverse. That is, I'd imagine that if someone were charged with overtaking too close for safety, and it was less than 1m and a judge said that given the Vicroads recommendation, communicated to all drivers, that it is unreasonable to pass closer than 1m, then there is a precedent and no need to make it law - at least not in the specific circumstances. On the other hand, a judgement that less than 1m was safe would presumably require a law change or it could never be enforced.
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Re: Cycling Safety Seminar 30-Nov

Postby jules21 » Thu Dec 01, 2011 10:47 am

KenGS wrote:One thing that wasn't mentioned is whether a 1m clearance has been tested in court to form a precedent or the reverse. That is, I'd imagine that if someone were charged with overtaking too close for safety, and it was less than 1m and a judge said that given the Vicroads recommendation, communicated to all drivers, that it is unreasonable to pass closer than 1m, then there is a precedent and no need to make it law - at least not in the specific circumstances. On the other hand, a judgement that less than 1m was safe would presumably require a law change or it could never be enforced.


i think that's an excellent point. i would also be interested to know whether police were charging people for dangerous (close) passing - it won't even go to court unless they do. we know in the case of ellen richards, who opened her door on james cross, no charge was laid at all. although that was a different type of incident altogether, i suspect there is a reluctance of police to take these sorts of driving offences seriously. i'd argue that in that case (and i distinctly recall the point being made, or implied by the VicRoads speaker), that if that practice is continued, a rule (change) will probably have no benefit. in other words, perhaps it is really enforcement approach/attitudes that need to change?
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Re: Cycling Safety Seminar 30-Nov

Postby jules21 » Thu Dec 01, 2011 10:56 am

hey womble, i just wanted to say i really appreciate your passion and commitment to cycling advocacy. we need more people like you. but - and not aimed at you, but rather an observation of others i heard at the forum - i'd love cyclists to be unified in promoting cause. we all have independent ideas and views - that's fine - but unified in the sense of coming together in bringing those diverse views 'to the table' for a common objective.
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Re: Cycling Safety Seminar 30-Nov

Postby The 2nd Womble » Thu Dec 01, 2011 11:51 am

Th sounds like a challenge!
I propose a thread to identify the 5(?) issues concerning cyclists. Debate and refine till we have them, and then look at solutions. Again, debate & refine. The membership of BNA would represent a broad enough view of the cy ling community to be able to make headway. There is after all more to cycling safety than 1 metre
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Re: Cycling Safety Seminar 30-Nov

Postby KenGS » Thu Dec 01, 2011 1:48 pm

Great idea. Maybe best to start with a set of crash types and keep it to on-road involving motor vehicles
I had a look for some standard crash classifications and found http://crashstat1.roads.vic.gov.au/cras ... ndices.pdf
But it looks too complicated for this exercise so here is my starter for ten in alphabetical order - for refinement before polling:
1 Close shave/hit from behind/sideswipe (both going in same direction)
2 Dooring
3 Left hook (Car turning left on top of bike)
4 Merging at pinch points (islands, parked cars, roundabout entrance)
5 Right hook (Oncoming car turns right into bike)
6 Road condition (loose surface, potholes, tram tracks)
7 T-boned at intersection/roundabout
8 T-boned by car pulling out of driveway or car park

Maybe a multi-choice poll. Need to decide if you want to separate out "chance of happening" from "severity when it does" or just combine the two into "what do you worry about most" which is probably easiest to start with. Would also to be good to get a reason why it is a worry. For instance I'd vote 1, 4, 7 because:
1: I've got no control over the actions of the car and it happens a lot. Coming from behind makes it harder to manage.
4: Similar to 1 but I've got a bit more control over the situation if I'm vigilant
7: Happens a lot and even when you think the car has given way they can take off. But at least you can see what's in front.
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Re: Cycling Safety Seminar 30-Nov

Postby The 2nd Womble » Thu Dec 01, 2011 2:26 pm

Speaking of dooring for a sec, VicRoads have long since stopped selling their car door mirror stickers which read "look out for cyclists", so SCA is kicking 2012 off with these:
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We know cyclists are most at risk, but for the Plonk still hanging onto the door handle when the Taxi Bus collects it, there's a chance they'll get dragged out of the car, and I think that targeting cyclists with it will see less people want one. We'll be selling them for between $1-2 depending on the cost to produce.
It's a simple idea and even Chimp's learn with repetition. I saw a doco about them so I know that a Human with a drivers licence can do the same
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Re: Cycling Safety Seminar 30-Nov

Postby The 2nd Womble » Thu Dec 01, 2011 4:29 pm

I just watched this mornings Sunrise interview with Tracey Gaudry. Glad to see the 30m metre exemption of the 1 metre rule at intesctions mentioned :D - that SCA hatched 2 months ago mind you. We're less happy that someone else will claim the credit :? Yes we are jealous much
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Re: Cycling Safety Seminar 30-Nov

Postby jules21 » Thu Dec 01, 2011 4:36 pm

The 2nd Womble wrote:Glad to see the 30m metre exemption of the 1 metre rule at intesctions mentioned :D - that SCA hatched 2 months ago mind you.

that's the measure of success - when someone else is taking credit for your ideas.
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Re: Cycling Safety Seminar 30-Nov

Postby The 2nd Womble » Thu Dec 01, 2011 4:40 pm

Yeah well credit sucks
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