Should seniors ride on footpaths

ebikerdiary
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Should seniors ride on footpaths

Postby ebikerdiary » Tue Sep 25, 2018 9:05 am

Peak cycling advocacy groups support regulatory change to allow ALL cyclists to ride on footpaths. The sheer scale of such change, as seen through the community's eyes and those of the Pedestrian Safety Council, probably means that we are stuck with the status quo for a very long time. However, an incremental approach targeting the least threatening demographic group of riders could pave the wave for subsequent change.

The recent raising of the legal footpath riding age to 16 was on the basis of safety. Seniors (defined as those eligbile for a NSW Seniors Card ie, 60+) are arguably at higher risk on roads. They also tend to be recreational riders who cycle off-peak and in good conditions. If you were a mother with a child and/or pushing a pram, or a disabled person on a walking frame, would you feel safer seeing a group of 16 year olds approaching on bikes or a group of Seniors?

The commonsense answer is that senior riders have the life experience to value safety, be considerate of other users, and not be in a hurry. Their presence in many suburbs is also a form of neighborhood watch, and they tend to provide examples of courteous riding for others.

So the question I am testing here is should the peak advocacy groups concurrently pursue an incremental policy for seniors as part of a longer term strategy for all cyclists. There is a simple Yes/No survey on ebikerdiary.com that asks "Should Seniors be allowed to ride on Footpaths". Open discussion here would be much appreciated to air various viewpoints.

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Re: Should seniors ride on footpaths

Postby Scott_C » Tue Sep 25, 2018 4:28 pm

WA went from under 12's only to open footpath riding in one step 18 months ago with 0 drama since. If there is an organised group of older riders in place to argue for a partway step then it might make sense but if you are having to manufacture an interest group it seems like a waste of time. I understand that the current NSW Gov have taken an irrationally anti-cyclist agenda so concentrate efforts on getting the opposition transport spokesperson onboard to make an electoral commitment for open footpath riding (a trial should be acceptable, once the change is made it will be a non-event and be quickly forgotten about.)

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Re: Should seniors ride on footpaths

Postby Mububban » Tue Sep 25, 2018 4:56 pm

Yes, but I'd push for all cyclists being able to ride on footpaths, like WA in the post above, rather than this subgroup and that subgroup, but not THAT subgroup.
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Re: Should seniors ride on footpaths

Postby eldavo » Tue Sep 25, 2018 5:01 pm

You made the mistake of following NSW policy and giving it oxygen. Kill it til it's dead. Don't take statistics to a knife fight.

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Re: Should seniors ride on footpaths

Postby AdelaidePeter » Tue Sep 25, 2018 5:17 pm

If I lived in NSW and parliament was to vote on it, and that was the only option tabled in parliament, I'd certainly prefer they'd vote "yes" to "no". But bicycle groups should push for all ages to be allowed to cycle on footpaths. There's no reason to assume this is hard to make happen - I believe all other states and territories, except Victoria, have allowed in the last few years; and it works just fine.

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Re: Should seniors ride on footpaths

Postby Jmuzz » Tue Sep 25, 2018 6:16 pm

Title should add (NSW, VIC) since they are the only states this applies to. The rest have already allowed everyone.

For NSW seniors can currently get a doctor's certificate.
The conditions aren't really clear

250.1A.a
the rider is carrying a medical certificate that states a medical practitioner believes the rider should be allowed to ride on the footpath because of a medical condition the rider has

medical condition means a medical condition that makes it impractical or unsafe for a person who has the condition to ride a bicycle on the road.


Really most seniors should qualify, since lots of age related conditions justify "impractical or unsafe".
The police can't really question it, just needs a doctor to give it.
Reduced balance, vision, flexibility, reflexes, heart rate, cramps.

If the cycling groups published guides for seniors and doctors it would help those seniors get a certificate without needing legislation.

The more Medicare time is wasted on certificates and evidence that everyone with age related conditions can qualify the more reason to just give seniors card holders a free pass in legislation.

I agree it should just be everyone, they can still use a blacklist system in bust areas.

I don't think it is worth making a huge amount of noise about right now though.
Let the other states like SA gather some more statistics from their fairly recent introduction and then it is harder to argue.
Last edited by Jmuzz on Tue Sep 25, 2018 6:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Should seniors ride on footpaths

Postby human909 » Wed Sep 26, 2018 9:17 am

I wasn't quite sure where to post this so I figured this was the best spot:

A Senator's partner was hit and injured by a mobility scooter and this is what we end up with
Fears mobility scooters being used to dodge booze bus Senate inquiry hears
Earlier:
Senate committee to investigate mobility scooter safety concerns

As Dylan Alcott (a paraplegic radio presenter) commented, how else is he to get home from the pub? Crawl?


Meanwhile pedestrians and cyclists are killed on our roads every day because nobody is willing to address the elephant in the room. DRIVER BEHAVIOUR.

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Re: Should seniors ride on footpaths

Postby find_bruce » Wed Sep 26, 2018 10:22 am

As a strategy, I agree that incremental improvements is a good one, but in this case I think the increment is that of the other states & territories.

Personally I am not going to invest energy in campaigning for the right to ride on footpaths because I think they create the illusion of safety rather than actually improving rider safety.

Statistically the most dangerous place for riders is at intersections & riding on the footpath turns every driveway into an uncontrolled intersection. Posties are allowed to ride on the footpath, whether by bicycle or low powered motorbike & far more collisions occurred at driveways than on the road

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Re: Should seniors ride on footpaths

Postby AdelaidePeter » Wed Sep 26, 2018 10:26 am

human909 wrote:I wasn't quite sure where to post this so I figured this was the best spot:

A Senator's partner was hit and injured by a mobility scooter and this is what we end up with
Fears mobility scooters being used to dodge booze bus Senate inquiry hears
...


Ah yes, the massive toll of mobility scooters...

pedestrians killed by mobility scooters 2000-2017: 3 (source: ABC link above)

pedestrians killed by bicycles 2000-2017: about 18 (Bureau of Stats gives 10 from 2007-2016, and I extrapolated using average of 1 per year)

pedestrians killed in road crashes 2000-2017: 3661

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Re: Should seniors ride on footpaths

Postby fat and old » Wed Sep 26, 2018 1:14 pm

human909 wrote:I wasn't quite sure where to post this so I figured this was the best spot:

A Senator's partner was hit and injured by a mobility scooter and this is what we end up with
Fears mobility scooters being used to dodge booze bus Senate inquiry hears
Earlier:
Senate committee to investigate mobility scooter safety concerns

As Dylan Alcott (a paraplegic radio presenter) commented, how else is he to get home from the pub? Crawl?


Meanwhile pedestrians and cyclists are killed on our roads every day because nobody is willing to address the elephant in the room. DRIVER BEHAVIOUR.


Don't worry, the scooter dudes are no different from anyone else

Stakeholders also raised the issue of personal responsibility, arguing safety was not the sole responsibility of the scooter driver.
"Stakeholders argued that pedestrians not watching where they are going, people texting or talking on phones, bicycles and skateboards travelling too fast, and vehicles blocking footpaths can also pose a danger," the inquiry report found.


It's always someone else's fault :lol:

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Re: Should seniors ride on footpaths

Postby Jmuzz » Wed Sep 26, 2018 2:00 pm

Are mobility scooters subject to drink driving the same as bicycles and horses are?

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Re: Should seniors ride on footpaths

Postby human909 » Wed Sep 26, 2018 2:09 pm

Jmuzz wrote:Are mobility scooters subject to drink driving the same as bicycles and horses are?


Check your local road rules. I believe they mostly fall under non motorised road user provisions and thus the majority if not all alcohol related laws do not apply.

Note in many states there are not alot of restrictions on drinking and cycling. The laws are normally separated as a bicycle is not a motor vehicle. (Eg, I've confidently cycled past booze bus checks after several beers. I've also received a traffic infringement after many beers. I haven't been concerned about being breathalyzed. :wink: )

Oh, and as far as horses go, my horse doesn't drink. :wink: :P

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Re: Should seniors ride on footpaths

Postby AdelaidePeter » Wed Sep 26, 2018 2:32 pm

human909 wrote:
Jmuzz wrote:Are mobility scooters subject to drink driving the same as bicycles and horses are?


...
Note in many states there are not alot of restrictions on drinking and cycling. The laws are normally separated as a bicycle is not a motor vehicle. (Eg, I've confidently cycled past booze bus checks after several beers. I've also received a traffic infringement after many beers. I haven't been concerned about being breathalyzed. :wink: )
...


Maybe different from drink driving, but drink cycling is still an offence:
* in NSW https://www.smh.com.au/national/dont-ge ... -67pb.html
* in Qld https://www.qld.gov.au/transport/safety/fines/cycling
* in SA https://www.sa.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf ... ooklet.pdf
I didn't check the other states.

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Re: Should seniors ride on footpaths

Postby human909 » Wed Sep 26, 2018 3:00 pm

AdelaidePeter wrote:Maybe different from drink driving, but drink cycling is still an offence:
* in NSW https://www.smh.com.au/national/dont-ge ... -67pb.html
* in Qld https://www.qld.gov.au/transport/safety/fines/cycling
* in SA https://www.sa.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf ... ooklet.pdf
I didn't check the other states.


I wouldn't rely on anything but the relevant legislation. I won't go through it all but a quick cherry pick example:

In South Australia.
"47—Driving under the influence
(1) A person must not—
(a) drive a vehicle; or
(b) attempt to put a vehicle in motion,
while so much under the influence of intoxicating liquor or a drug as to be incapable
of exercising effective control of the vehicle."


This doesn't specific BAC nor does it give the power to allow a BAC sample to be taken. It does vary from state to state.

Likewise for NSW.

Vic has:

Drunkards behaving in riotous or disorderly manner
Any person who, while drunk—
(a) behaves in a riotous or disorderly manner in a public place;
S. 16(b) amended by No. 127/1986 s. 102(Sch. 4 item 27.1).
(b) is in charge, in a public place, of a carriage or a horse or cattle or a steam engine—
shall be guilty of an offence.


I'll be as sober on my bicycle machine as I am on my cattle and steam engine! :mrgreen:

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Re: Should seniors ride on footpaths

Postby AdelaidePeter » Wed Sep 26, 2018 3:35 pm

human909 wrote:
AdelaidePeter wrote:Maybe different from drink driving, but drink cycling is still an offence:
* in NSW https://www.smh.com.au/national/dont-ge ... -67pb.html
* in Qld https://www.qld.gov.au/transport/safety/fines/cycling
* in SA https://www.sa.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf ... ooklet.pdf
I didn't check the other states.


I wouldn't rely on anything but the relevant legislation. I won't go through it all but a quick cherry pick example:

In South Australia.
"47—Driving under the influence
(1) A person must not—
(a) drive a vehicle; or
(b) attempt to put a vehicle in motion,
while so much under the influence of intoxicating liquor or a drug as to be incapable
of exercising effective control of the vehicle."


This doesn't specific BAC nor does it give the power to allow a BAC sample to be taken. It does vary from state to state.


So you're saying that the criteria, when on a bike, is not whether you are over 0.05, but whether you are "under the influence" ?

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Re: Should seniors ride on footpaths

Postby human909 » Wed Sep 26, 2018 3:49 pm

AdelaidePeter wrote:So you're saying that the criteria, when on a bike, is not whether you are over 0.05, but whether you are "under the influence" ?

Yes, in most cases. Though it varies from state to state. In SA and NSW that seems to be the case. In VIC it is also the case but the law isn't even to be found the road safety legislation.

Not a whole lot different from being drunk in public. Most states have at least one if not several laws against this. But you really need to be demonstratively drunk and causing an issue to get plod's attention. And like I mentioned earlier, I was pulled over by the cops and I certainly wasn't under 0.05. :oops: But of course there are far more heinous offences that cyclist may commit and get fined for. :wink:

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Re: Should seniors ride on footpaths

Postby AUbicycles » Wed Sep 26, 2018 4:36 pm

I feel that is many circumstances, all riders, regardless of age should be able to ride on the footpath. A small problem of this is abuse / danger and common sense would suggest that if a bunch of rod cyclists all cram onto a footpath with speeds over 30kmh, this may not be appropriate. But it also clearly highlights a problem because the same riders are getting abused when they cycle on the roads. Moving to the footpaths is an attempt to get out of harms ways so suggests that the existing infrastructure solution is not safe enough for all users.... so there are bigger problems.

There will also be an expected backlash - from the same people who argue that children and teens should be on the roads and just 'deal' with the semi-trailers.

But because Australian politics is mostly backwards and the politicians are unfortunately putting their own political interests ahead of the population they are meant to be serving (another prime minister anyone... more political infighting?), then small steps and immediate steps to allow bike riders to ride in safety is a way of creating change... even if it is not the perfect solution.

While I think that the laws should not be age based and should allow all riders on the footpaths (with appropriate speeds and common sense) - a focus on Seniors is one approach to raise the issue and also gain support of Seniors interest groups who may have some political influence.

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Re: Should seniors ride on footpaths

Postby ebikerdiary » Wed Sep 26, 2018 5:07 pm

Thanks for your contribution AUBicycles; its great to see the discussion get back on topic.
In NSW, seniors are defined as those eligible for a Seniors Card, which is 60+ years of age. The community at large would not see this group as threatening pedestrian safety; generally speaking, they are highly safety conscious and not in a hurry. They would happily trade a lower max speed for the right to ride without fear of cars. Many older cyclists have packed up their bikes because the roads are too scary. Using public footpaths would have health benefits that impact on the 'aged budget' sector and quickly show that the sky is not going to fall down because of senior riders. Incrementally, it becomes easier to move on other fronts to widen access to public resources. After discussion with Bicycles NSW, they are fine with the statement "Bicycle NSW supports seniors being allowed to ride on footpaths as it does for all age groups wherever safe separated cycling infrastructure isn't available". This shows that you can support one group at the same time as supporting change for all.

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Re: Should seniors ride on footpaths

Postby fat and old » Thu Sep 27, 2018 6:27 am

All well and good. I hardly think that promoting footpath use for seniors based on the possibility of

Reduced balance, vision, flexibility, reflexes, heart rate, cramps.


is going the endear the idea to most pedestrians. Try another tack.

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Re: Should seniors ride on footpaths

Postby mikesbytes » Thu Sep 27, 2018 9:50 am

human909 wrote:I wasn't quite sure where to post this so I figured this was the best spot:

A Senator's partner was hit and injured by a mobility scooter and this is what we end up with
Fears mobility scooters being used to dodge booze bus Senate inquiry hears
Earlier:
Senate committee to investigate mobility scooter safety concerns

As Dylan Alcott (a paraplegic radio presenter) commented, how else is he to get home from the pub? Crawl?


Meanwhile pedestrians and cyclists are killed on our roads every day because nobody is willing to address the elephant in the room. DRIVER BEHAVIOUR.

The presenter on the radio station I listen to is wheel chair bound and he is concerned that his ability to go out for a drink will be stopped by this law and I see where he is coming from, I can walk to the pub, have a few beers and walk home but he will be denied this.

I suspect that what they are actually looking at is along the likes of a couple of people I have seen, who are perfectly capable of walking but want an easy way to get to/from the pub when some money has landed in their bank account. Its such a small number of people that it seems crazy to ban it.

Perhaps this topic would also fit in the greyhound thread as there aren't enough disabled people to impact voting so they aren't a concern
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Re: Should seniors ride on footpaths

Postby human909 » Thu Sep 27, 2018 10:48 am

mikesbytes wrote:The presenter on the radio station I listen to is wheel chair bound and he is concerned that his ability to go out for a drink will be stopped by this law and I see where he is coming from, I can walk to the pub, have a few beers and walk home but he will be denied this.

I suspect that what they are actually looking at is along the likes of a couple of people I have seen, who are perfectly capable of walking but want an easy way to get to/from the pub when some money has landed in their bank account. Its such a small number of people that it seems crazy to ban it.


Agreed. And lets not forget that one of the very few pedestrians that have been injured by these motorised pedestrians was a senator's partner. :wink:

Drunk scooter riders, drunk cyclists, drunk pedestrians can present increased risk towards others. But realistically it is so small that it shouldn't be an issue. It doesn't warrant restricting people's freedoms. But this is Australia the nanny state.

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Re: Should seniors ride on footpaths

Postby find_bruce » Thu Sep 27, 2018 12:29 pm

The law in NSW defines a persons in a a motorised wheelchair that cannot travel at over 10 km/h on level ground as being a pedestrian.

Walking is 5 km/h & 10 km/h is a slow jog

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Re: Should seniors ride on footpaths

Postby g-boaf » Thu Sep 27, 2018 5:26 pm

human909 wrote:I wasn't quite sure where to post this so I figured this was the best spot:

A Senator's partner was hit and injured by a mobility scooter and this is what we end up with
Fears mobility scooters being used to dodge booze bus Senate inquiry hears
Earlier:
Senate committee to investigate mobility scooter safety concerns

As Dylan Alcott (a paraplegic radio presenter) commented, how else is he to get home from the pub? Crawl?


Meanwhile pedestrians and cyclists are killed on our roads every day because nobody is willing to address the elephant in the room. DRIVER BEHAVIOUR.

How many cars are on the road? How many mobility scooters are out and about on paths? I'll guess probably more cars. So of course the cars are a much harder target, their owners and lobby groups will get cranky, and these ones can vote as a group to get rid of politicians.

So politicians will naturally pander to motorists, while those with disabilities or old age will get treated poorly.

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Re: Should seniors ride on footpaths

Postby Jmuzz » Thu Sep 27, 2018 6:34 pm

find_bruce wrote:The law in NSW defines a persons in a a motorised wheelchair that cannot travel at over 10 km/h on level ground as being a pedestrian.

Walking is 5 km/h & 10 km/h is a slow jog


I think that's fair enough, and even fair if the scooter/wheelchair is capable of more but is not observed going any faster.
So long as they are only travelling at pedestrian speeds it's fair that they are a pedestrian.

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Re: Should seniors ride on footpaths

Postby fat and old » Sat Sep 29, 2018 11:27 am

Jmuzz wrote:
find_bruce wrote:The law in NSW defines a persons in a a motorised wheelchair that cannot travel at over 10 km/h on level ground as being a pedestrian.

Walking is 5 km/h & 10 km/h is a slow jog


I think that's fair enough, and even fair if the scooter/wheelchair is capable of more but is not observed going any faster.
So long as they are only travelling at pedestrian speeds it's fair that they are a pedestrian.


I don’t agree.

https://www.aidacare.com.au/products/mo ... l-scooter/

That’s a typical unit. Note the weight, 101kg. Add on a conservative 60kg for pax and you have something at 160kg passing a doorway at 10kmh with the front at shin height. Do the physics on a strike situation and I can’t see this being “the same” as a ped. Further, that one will do 12kmh standard, faster with bigger batteries....

https://www.aidacare.com.au/globalasset ... _guide.pdf

I have no idea on what is popular among the mobility set but if they’re anything like ebike users more power would be popular.

I cannot see how these are legal on a footpath and bicycles are not (Victoria).

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