Letter to Warringah Councillors

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Letter to Warringah Councillors

Postby trailgumby » Sat Feb 04, 2012 12:38 pm

This subject came up again in the Moron Motorists thread, so thought I'd share what I sent to my local councillors:

Sent: Saturday, 26 November 2011 1:13 PM
To: '[email protected] '
Cc: '[email protected] '; Norman Monshall
Subject: FW: Bicycle Lane in the Door Zone at Aquatic Drive Allambie Heights

Dear Staff and Councillors,

In June this year I wrote to you regarding “car door zone” bike lanes in Warringah, and the safety concerns I hold in regard to their implementation.

It appears the Victorian Coroner shares my concerns.

In relation to James Cross’ death, The Age today quotes Coroner Heather Spooner who said Cross' death was entirely preventable. ''It has highlighted a very significant public safety hazard, particularly in high-risk areas where car dooring is responsible for many injuries to cyclists,'' she said

Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/national/cycli ... z1elaMb4nI

A similar death occurred in New Zealand earlier this year where Jane Mary Bishop, 27, a British nurse was killed in almost identical circumstances. In her case it was reported she anticipated the door opening at the last second and swerved to avoid it, but was crushed by a following truck:

Read more: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/artic ... d=10712712

The staff response to my email below <not included in this forum post for the sake of brevity> was unsatisfactory. It conveyed an unrealistic expectation of cyclists’ ability to anticipate and safely respond to vehicle door openings, and a failure to understand that the obligation to avoid the collision rests entirely with the vehicle occupant under NSW and Australian road rules. I found the justification of Aquatic Drive’s lane implementation as being in line with the Bike Plan disappointing. Far from being well-accepted by the cycling community as asserted in the response, there is ample evidence to show they are controversial.

Please find attached updated photos, taken between 12:08 and 12:09 today.

I implore you please to take a more sympathetic view of cyclists’ valid concerns with the implementation of bicycle lanes adjacent to parked cars, and cease new implementations.

Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/national/refle ... 1nzd7.html

There are other, more appropriate cyclist safety measures available that improve safety for pedestrians, residents and the community in general, with little adverse impact on motorists.

Regards,

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by BNA » Sat Feb 04, 2012 2:18 pm

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Re: Letter to Warringah Councillors

Postby Aushiker » Sat Feb 04, 2012 2:18 pm

Well written. Hopefully you get a positive response and at least in the future more thought put into cycling infrastructure.

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Re: Letter to Warringah Councillors

Postby KonaCommuter » Sat Feb 04, 2012 3:39 pm

I like it.


Maybe you could consider putting in a link to that video from a camera mounted in a taxi showing the dooring over in the US? Tell them that this is what you want them to design bike paths to avoid? Maybe also put in pictures of protected bike lanes?
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Re: Letter to Warringah Councillors

Postby trailgumby » Sat Feb 04, 2012 4:09 pm

I received a sympathetic response fro two councillors and an invitation from her to meet with others, but that seems to have withered on the vine.

Will follow up later this week now that they will have returned from summer holidays.
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Re: Letter to Warringah Councillors

Postby Mulger bill » Sat Feb 04, 2012 5:12 pm

Gawd, and I thought Royal Parade doorzones were bad :o

What's with the teeth markings? Nothing like that down here IME.
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Re: Letter to Warringah Councillors

Postby trailgumby » Sat Feb 04, 2012 5:17 pm

Mulger bill wrote:Gawd, and I thought Royal Parade doorzones were bad :o

What's with the teeth markings? Nothing like that down here IME.

School zone. Speed limit drops to 40 km/hr from 8:00 to 9:30am and 2:30-4pm on gazetted school days.

You'd be taking your life in yoru hands riding past there at those times with distracted school mums picking up their precious little darlings.

These schools zone things are a pain, especially the time-of-day thing. Better in my view would be to have 40km/hr 24x7.
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Re: Letter to Warringah Councillors

Postby il padrone » Sat Feb 04, 2012 5:24 pm

trailgumby wrote:These schools zone things are a pain, especially the time-of-day thing. Better in my view would be to have 40km/hr 24x7.

Personally I don't see the problem with time-related zones. Living as I do near one that is 24/7 it is a touch ironic to be restricted to 40kmh at 11.30pm on a school holiday night. If we want safety 24/7, make it 24/7 throughout all residenntial streets as de facto.... ditch the 50kmh zone totally.
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Re: Letter to Warringah Councillors

Postby trailgumby » Sat Feb 04, 2012 5:38 pm

il padrone wrote:
trailgumby wrote:These schools zone things are a pain, especially the time-of-day thing. Better in my view would be to have 40km/hr 24x7.

Personally I don't see the problem with time-related zones. Living as I do near one that is 24/7 it is a touch ironic to be restricted to 40kmh at 11.30pm on a school holiday night. If we want safety 24/7, make it 24/7 throughout all residenntial streets as de facto.... ditch the 50kmh zone totally.

Would be in favour of 40km 24/7 though residential streets, 30 would be better and in line with European practice.

With the time zones thing it's just too easy to forget, especially if you get used to going though a particular location at a particular speed like you've mentioned at 11:30pm on a non schoolday night. I tend to associate allowed speeds with particular areas and other visual clues rather than times of day and driving through the affacted areas rarely I suppose I'm finding the adjustment in habits a bit difficult. Fortunately on the couple of occasions I've realised too late there was no enforcement on site or I've realised before crossing the camera's detection path.

That said, it's the law and its there for a reason so just gotta deal with it.
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Re: Letter to Warringah Councillors

Postby il padrone » Sat Feb 04, 2012 6:02 pm

trailgumby wrote:That said, it's the law and its there for a reason so just gotta deal with it.

....and there are signs :idea:

Get continually amazed/dismayed/disgusted on encountering roadworks signs and slowing to the posted speed (be it 80, 60 or even 40kmh), only to have tools on the rear bumper - flashing lights and flying by at 100 :roll: :evil: Like they can't see the sign ???

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Re: Letter to Warringah Councillors

Postby Mulger bill » Sat Feb 04, 2012 8:14 pm

Our time set school zones have that many signs preceding and through them that they're impossible to inadvertently get it wrong. They're so in yer face that a lot of people will do 40 at all times.
...whatever the road rules, self-preservation is the absolute priority for a cyclist when mixing it with motorised traffic.
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Re: Letter to Warringah Councillors

Postby ft_critical » Sat Feb 04, 2012 8:34 pm

Hi TG. Aquatic Drive. Why choose that road? I is a low traffic road that ends in a dead end. It is like 1km long? You could easily ride that in the middle of road without a car behind you nearly always?

Compare that to High St Willoughby... I guarantee a door open event every second day on that road - different council I know.
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Re: Letter to Warringah Councillors

Postby il padrone » Sat Feb 04, 2012 9:05 pm

Oxford wrote:whilst I would support it wholeheartedly, no point lowering suburban limits to 40 or 30 when the 50 is already unobserved and almost entirely unenforced presently.

Sadly, yes for some. It may be better adhered to in Melbourne perhaps. But the folks buzzing along a side street at 65, when they hit that kid on the bike.... and pt him in a coma. The police will measure the skid marks, talk to witnesses. Soon enough they'll figure you were speeding. The dangerous drving charge will count badly for them in future.

No solution of course. I tend to think such offences should be treated as criminal charges, not traffic offences.
Last edited by il padrone on Sat Feb 04, 2012 9:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Letter to Warringah Councillors

Postby CommuRider » Sat Feb 04, 2012 9:05 pm

Mulger bill wrote:Our time set school zones have that many signs preceding and through them that they're impossible to inadvertently get it wrong. They're so in yer face that a lot of people will do 40 at all times.


Some councils here just place speed bumps in the way which isn't good for my car but quite effective. The speed limit signs get out of control at times. 70, 60, 50, 40 in a 100m stretch is a major disservice.
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Re: Letter to Warringah Councillors

Postby ekib » Sat Feb 04, 2012 9:26 pm

Good work Trailgumby,

A suggestion and a question.

Maybe you could invite all your councillors to go a guided bicycle tour with you. Simply guide them along every questionable bike lane in the area. After they dodge a couple of car doors, they will get the message! :)

And the question is for any and everyone on the forums. Does anyone know, has anyone every been fined by police anywhere in Aus for opening a car door and injuring a cyclist? :?:

Ekib, a fellow door zone avoider, and bicycle lane/car door critic.
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Re: Letter to Warringah Councillors

Postby trailgumby » Sat Feb 04, 2012 10:18 pm

ft_critical wrote:Hi TG. Aquatic Drive. Why choose that road? I is a low traffic road that ends in a dead end. It is like 1km long? You could easily ride that in the middle of road without a car behind you nearly always?

Compare that to High St Willoughby... I guarantee a door open event every second day on that road - different council I know.

Yep, know it. Willoughby sounds like the shopping strip in Rhodes. :roll:

I ride down that road because at the western end of the Aquatic Centre car park there's a footbridge over Wakehurst Parkway and it gets me across from Allambie Road to Warringah Road avoiding the two worst intersections in the area when I'm heading out to work at Sydney Olympic Park.

Remember, I was intentionally knocked off my bike by a hater at one of those intersections late 2009 and hospitalised. I've had close calls at other times with intentional close shavers, anyone from bogans in utes to mums in Taragos. Usually only happens when the bike hate is being stirred up in the media, but the consequences can be dire. So I prefer to avoid those locations on weekdays.

As you'll see from the photos, though, it's not always low traffic. These shots were taken on a weekend and it was busy enough at this time. At peak times, the road can be a car park as everybody starts and leaves work, especially of an evening.
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Re: Letter to Warringah Councillors

Postby queequeg » Sat Feb 04, 2012 11:12 pm

il padrone wrote:
trailgumby wrote:These schools zone things are a pain, especially the time-of-day thing. Better in my view would be to have 40km/hr 24x7.

Personally I don't see the problem with time-related zones. Living as I do near one that is 24/7 it is a touch ironic to be restricted to 40kmh at 11.30pm on a school holiday night. If we want safety 24/7, make it 24/7 throughout all residenntial streets as de facto.... ditch the 50kmh zone totally.


I found it extremely annoying in QLD with the school zones. In NSW, all school zones are from 8am to 9:30am and from 2:30pm to 4pm. However, driving/cycling around QLD, I noticed that every single school zone had different times that it was in force, so you had to basically read every single sign to know whether it was in force or not. Even though I have kids, none of them are school age either, so I wouldn't have the foggiest idea when it is an official school day or not. That also changes from state to state. I went to Uni on the gold coast and would frequently be going through a time warp because of the daylight savings time zone madness.
At the moment I am commuting outside these times, so it doesn't affect me. I arrive at work at 7am and leave at 4pm, so I don't have to deal with school zones.
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Re: Letter to Warringah Councillors

Postby ft_critical » Sat Feb 04, 2012 11:39 pm

trailgumby wrote:As you'll see from the photos, though, it's not always low traffic. These shots were taken on a weekend and it was busy enough at this time. At peak times, the road can be a car park as everybody starts and leaves work, especially of an evening.


Nope, sorry, I think it is BS. That is a lite indust area, all downhill. I drive it at least every weekend on the way to the pool. And ocasionally to Lollipoplayland. You can easily ride on the road, claim the lane as you so regularly post , and not hold up anyone. No cycle hater took you out there, so it is not related.

I think you are wasting the councils time.
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Re: Letter to Warringah Councillors

Postby simonn » Sun Feb 05, 2012 7:40 am

ft_critical wrote:
trailgumby wrote:As you'll see from the photos, though, it's not always low traffic. These shots were taken on a weekend and it was busy enough at this time. At peak times, the road can be a car park as everybody starts and leaves work, especially of an evening.


Nope, sorry, I think it is BS. That is a lite indust area, all downhill. I drive it at least every weekend on the way to the pool. And ocasionally to Lollipoplayland. You can easily ride on the road, claim the lane as you so regularly post , and not hold up anyone. No cycle hater took you out there, so it is not related.

I think you are wasting the councils time.


Well... I used to drive/ride past it every week day for ~9 years when I used to work in a nearby road. Trailgumby is not wrong. At peak times it is pretty busy.

The fact that it is downhill probably does not meet the "practicable" test and would certainly not satisfy the bogan test in any case. It is also, oddly enough, only downhill in one direction.
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Re: Letter to Warringah Councillors

Postby Aushiker » Sun Feb 05, 2012 10:09 am

ft_critical wrote:
trailgumby wrote:As you'll see from the photos, though, it's not always low traffic. These shots were taken on a weekend and it was busy enough at this time. At peak times, the road can be a car park as everybody starts and leaves work, especially of an evening.


Nope, sorry, I think it is BS. That is a lite indust area, all downhill. I drive it at least every weekend on the way to the pool. And ocasionally to Lollipoplayland. You can easily ride on the road, claim the lane as you so regularly post , and not hold up anyone. No cycle hater took you out there, so it is not related.

I think you are wasting the councils time.


Not all riders are as confident as you seem to be and may not be comfortable claiming the lane. Heck a read of these forums even shows that. Personally I think we should support efforts to get better cycling infrastructure for ALL.

Maybe it would be more helpful to highlight your own efforts so we can learn from them since you see this as being a waste of Council's time? I for one would be interested in what you have done as as examples of more constructive lobbying for better infrastructure. Sharing hopefully leads to be better approaches to the issues.

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Re: Letter to Warringah Councillors

Postby trailgumby » Sun Feb 05, 2012 11:15 am

ft_critical wrote:
trailgumby wrote:As you'll see from the photos, though, it's not always low traffic. These shots were taken on a weekend and it was busy enough at this time. At peak times, the road can be a car park as everybody starts and leaves work, especially of an evening.


Nope, sorry, I think it is BS. That is a lite indust area, all downhill. I drive it at least every weekend on the way to the pool. And ocasionally to Lollipoplayland. You can easily ride on the road, claim the lane as you so regularly post , and not hold up anyone. No cycle hater took you out there, so it is not related.

I think you are wasting the councils time.

And I think you're missing the point...

The issue as I see it is that the Council got plenty of feedback from cyclists into their bike plan that door zone bike lanes are a hazard and not wanted (10-20 comments against compared to two in favour (one by a motorist) if my memory is correct). Yet the WMC traffic section is ignoring that input and still implementing them.

This particular instance is a few corners from where I live and it's my view that they are completely unnecessary in this location... but there are others such as those in Curl Curl and the one descending into the two roundabouts where Allambie Road ends and joins with Kentwell that are worse.

Sure, when the lanes are parked out like in the photos I ignore them on the basis that the risk of dooring renders them impracticable and I claim the lane... but motorists (and there are plenty of bogans in Warringah) either don't understand or don't care about the risks they pose and legal out we have, and get sh!tty and impatient and sometimes abusive.

Many casual cyclists from my observation feel compelled to use them, either despite the risks or in ignorance of them, or because of a lack of confidence as Aushiker notes.
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Re: Letter to Warringah Councillors

Postby r2160 » Mon Feb 06, 2012 7:00 am

ft_critical wrote:
trailgumby wrote:As you'll see from the photos, though, it's not always low traffic. These shots were taken on a weekend and it was busy enough at this time. At peak times, the road can be a car park as everybody starts and leaves work, especially of an evening.


Nope, sorry, I think it is BS. That is a lite indust area, all downhill. I drive it at least every weekend on the way to the pool. And ocasionally to Lollipoplayland. You can easily ride on the road, claim the lane as you so regularly post , and not hold up anyone. No cycle hater took you out there, so it is not related.

I think you are wasting the councils time.


ftcritical,

The law states that where a bicycle lane exists, a cyclist is required to use it. That means, to claim the lane means that the cyclist is breaking the law

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Re: Letter to Warringah Councillors

Postby ft_critical » Mon Feb 06, 2012 11:47 am

Aushiker: I have only written to council on improving the Roseville Bridge infrastructure. So I am not an advocate for cycling by any means.
TG: fair enough, I did miss the point. I guess I think picking a more obvious travesty of cycling infrastructure was what I was trying to say, not that your doing something is bad at all.
r2160: isn't that road rule, unless it is impractical to do so? I don’t ever ride in the door zone. I don’t even filter stopped traffic in the door zone of a bike lane. And I haven’t got any grief for not doing so.
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Re: Letter to Warringah Councillors

Postby Aushiker » Mon Feb 06, 2012 12:03 pm

ft_critical wrote:Aushiker: I have only written to council on improving the Roseville Bridge infrastructure. So I am not an advocate for cycling by any means.


How did it go? Get anything positive from it?

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Re: Letter to Warringah Councillors

Postby ft_critical » Mon Feb 06, 2012 12:08 pm

Aushiker wrote:
ft_critical wrote:Aushiker: I have only written to council on improving the Roseville Bridge infrastructure. So I am not an advocate for cycling by any means.


How did it go? Get anything positive from it?

Andrew


To be honest, the contact was excellent - same council Warringah. They were going to put it in the bike plan. But, then a paired back version appeared in the plan. And... with all things, I have been too busy to follow up on how implementing that and improvements to Wakehurst Parkway (sorry all local references) have gone. I might get an update I think. Thanks for the reminder.
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Re: Letter to Warringah Councillors

Postby trailgumby » Mon Feb 06, 2012 12:29 pm

ft_critical wrote:Aushiker: I have only written to council on improving the Roseville Bridge infrastructure. So I am not an advocate for cycling by any means.

Unfortunately this travesty is not within Council's remit to fix. If it was, they would be on it, as it has been identified in their bike plan as a particular problem area (I was one of severral to raise it). Write your complaints on this one to the RTA.

When I was regularly commuting to SOP, I used to complain about twice a year about the overgrowth and missing pavement panels from the bridge (say hello Middle Harbour), highlighting the risks to them if someone was injured. It took Downer Works about 6 weeks to email me back saying it was on their program for the following week for the vegetation. Pavement panels were fixed folowing day.

So your complaints will be heard and accumulated, even if they do get filed in the "too hard" basket in the short term.

ft_critical wrote:TG: fair enough, I did miss the point. I guess I think picking a more obvious travesty of cycling infrastructure was what I was trying to say, not that your doing something is bad at all.

You're dead right, there are more obvious issues. What got up my nose big time on this one was the timing: I thought they'd got the message loud and clear when seeking responses to the Bike Plan that these things we wanted no more of, it's even documented in the appendix of responses, yet shortly after the release of the Plan, here's a brand new one! Arrrgh! :roll:

And then what got up my nose even more was the Council traffic section head's response (well outside the 10-day window by the way) indicating he clearly had no idea about bikes, and suggesting that riders should somehow "anticipate" doorings. The photos are more representative of the time I was there on a Saturday morning, but I sent them becasue they capture the issue visually very well and impactfully.

I've had some support from the Greens councillor Christina Kirsch, the mayor, and Jason Fallinski, but not much traction yet. Council staff are largely a law unto themselves if they choose not to take direction from elected reps.

ft_critical wrote:r2160: isn't that road rule, unless it is impractical to do so? I don’t ever ride in the door zone. I don’t even filter stopped traffic in the door zone of a bike lane. And I haven’t got any grief for not doing so.


Correct, there is a qualifier in the NSW and Australian version of the relevant rule that provides an out on the basis of practiability. I take the view that any safety hazard including risk of puncture provides an out.
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