There have been various threads over the past few years about cyclists riding dangerously in groups on PSPs. It is my assessment that most of this forum's participants are unlikely to be the offenders, so we all furiously agree with each other and the dangerous behaviour continues.
As I am travelling interstate today, I chose to cycle with my wife to the narrows along the Kwinana PSP and then head back home to Leeming. When heading south, 95% of the traffic was heading into the city and I came across three seperate large groups riding in pairs. As each approached, I clearly rose one finger and yelled single file. I was variously abused and one group chose to overtake five other riders who were in single file. So I was faced with a group of 15 -20 cyclists riding three abreast at over 30km/h coming at me (and I was abused!). I have had enough of this dangerous, selfish behaviour and whilst I ride defensively, there is virtually nothing I can do to avoid these maniacs.
With the number of cyclists commuting each day increasing, it is becoming more dangerous by the day, as impatient, ignorant hoons are constantly overtaking dangerously in the path of oncoming cyclists. These are not isolated incidents, I see them every time I ride on that PSP.
I consider it at least as dangerous as riding on the road and am considering avoiding the Kwinana PSP all together - I will take may chances on the road where most traffic is keeping to their side of the road and heading in the same direction. This is a sad indictment, as the PSPs are supposed to be safe havens for cyclists.
I am no casual, inexperienced cyclist. I ride 10,000km per year and lead a group shop ride every Saturday.
I have reported the incidents to the police in the hope that there might be some education and enforcement on the PSPs but I suspect I am dreaming.
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"However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results" - Winston Churchill
Can't say much other than I see exactly the same thing every day on the Kwinana PSP. It's to the point where I look forward to my turn off at Canning, since I actually feel safer riding on the road than I do on the PSP, especially north of Mt Henry. That's about the only good thing that has come out of all the detours on the PSP south of Leach is that most of these guys tend to turn not go any further south than Mt Henry at the moment.
I guess there really isn't much that can be done, unless we get something like the bike cops actually sitting along the path and ticketing people for riding abreast/riding unsafe, which we all know will never happen. I'm not a Strava user, but if there are Strava segments on the PSP, they should probably all be flagged, or at least the ones that have almost constant pedestrian traffic (basically Murdoch northwards). I'd imagine not having the lure of a KOM would probably make a huge difference with these riders who can't understand the concept of a shared path.
If they're already flagged, then I guess we'll probably just have to wait until someone gets seriously injured or killed before anything happens, unfortunately. I've already been hit twice (luckily just light grazes) by people taking blind corners on the wrong side at full speed, and can't even count the number of near misses.
Some people can be arrogant, selfish, rude and completely inconsiderate when it comes to roads and shared paths.
Their chosen form of vehicle is irrelevant.
This occurred to me as I was stopped at a T-junction on the weekend with my daughter on the tag-along. A [patient] driver in the middle lane had stopped and was waving me through the intersection, when someone came tearing up on his LHS. I had seen him coming, so hadn't started moving. But it made me think anyway. Some people can be so considerate and others the complete opposite.
Ah well. What can you do?
I see it all the time as well and I think a lot of the time its because people don't know you aren't allowed to ride 2 abreast. They see there is enough room in their lane for 2 wide and think its safe.
So I think better education on the rules and enforcement is required before you will see any change. And that realistically wont happen until a major crash happens in my opinion.
+1 to all the sentiments echoed here...i had the same issue on Saturday on the Kwinana PSP at the spot the current weekly detour due to works is on...riders coming from the opposite direction two abreast and nonchalantly drifting out of their lane! and yes, i have also come to the conclusion that i prefer the road with the cars!
I too am fed up. But it is not group riders that that garner my concern, just bad riders. The ones that get to me are those informal roups that sort of form and breakup constantly - I see far too much slicing and dicing and double and triple passing in those.
Over four years I have travelled that path around 250 days a year during the busy time (commuting). I can add most weekends to that too. I see the full gamut of riding along that section.
I diffentiate betwwen those "organised" groups and those that just sort of morph into and out of existence from people trying to prove something to strangers or just want a bit of company or are trying to suck up someone else's work rate. Many of these are in my bad-rider class.
My observations are that (organised) group riders are higly predictable and, to approaching riders, highly visible. And by and large, they do not cut it any finer than many singles and pairs. When they do cut it close their line is held and no-one tries to pass in unpredictable or dangerous ways. Which is pretty amazing as they certainly do NOT have much ability to suddenly stop or change direction. Perhaps that explains why they do ride predictably. If I see an approaching group I just ensure that I am well to the side until they pass.
Yes a group of twenty riders can be a bit intimidating. But twenty separate riders at different times also adds an element of uncertaintly and risk. I just happen to observe that (organsised) group riders are better than many riders, group or otherwise.
IMO there needs to be at least as much focus on path conditions/design than on whether or not they are allowed under the regs to do so.
I would like to see an upgrade to the PSP south of the narrows to Canning bridge. That section is not consistenmntly wide as newer infrastructure and has been crumbling at the edges for years. For quite understandable reasons this is a popular group riding route that is also busy with a range of cyclists, peds, kids, dogs, skaters and what have you none of which willchange.
For the record I am not a group rider, which to those who know me will be pretty obvious.
Unchain yourself-Ride a unicycle
My suggestion to stealthbike is that if the aproaching group is identifiably two-file then it will be probably be an organised group ride who are predictable (though fast) but also far less able to accomodate quick changes to speed than you. In which case accept the situation and move over a bit for the moment. Those groups seldom go anywhere excpet where you can anticipate them going.
On the other hand if they are a motly lot with no discernable order then, like you, my anxiety levels go up.
Unchain yourself-Ride a unicycle
When they widen that section to make it safer to ride two abrest you might find groups riding 3 abrest or singles overtaking two abrest groups
solution, more police with tazers
really all it needs is what they do on the freeway, put a barrier between the opposing flows of traffic so they cant collide head on
having ridden south on a tues morn a few weeks back with all the group rides + commuters coming the other way, its not something i'd like to repeat very often! i was astounded with the volume of traffic heading north - when i came back around & headed north, i just latched onto the back of a group ride, was far too dangerous to considering passing anyone
If they are "...less able to accommodate quick changes to speed..." then they are riding too fast for the conditions.
These are shared paths, not training venues.
They are also in contravention of the WA Road Traffic Code
109. Keeping a safe distance behind vehicles
Except when overtaking and passing, the driver of any vehicle
shall, when following another vehicle, keep such distance
behind it as will enable the driver to stop the vehicle in an
emergency with safety, and without running into the vehicle in
front of him or her.
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I'll lend a hand.
emailed to Minister for Police and Road Safety
"I would like to refer you to this thread.
Cycling traffic has increased significantly over the past few years and as with all communities we too have a rogue element that flout the law and put other users at risk.
I urge you to do something before someone is seriously hurt if not killed.
I thank you for your consideration of this matter."
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I have heard of, read here, and seen the different traffic on the weekends, and would not discount the mob issue and greater traffic of the OP.
A very good point in the OP that road riding we are not faced with the same dangers, as traffic is travelling the same direction.
Relatively this can mean a PSP 30+30 = 60kph impact speed head on bicycle to bicycle collision, compared to whatever nasty scenarios people find on the road (like a car turning left into you, Rabobank could offer his healing view on the two options).
Just today at work I was comparing bicycle safety against scenario of a colleague's urine soaked clothes from catching the train, another colleague threw up some bad/inconclusive but not good stats for Melbourne/Sydney bike fatalities and serious injuries. I noted my commute is wholly PSP's from end of my street from home to street corner of the office block for work, and for me identified intersections (20km north of CBD portion) and head on collisions as the two most common and dangerous things I encounter.
Time to re-visit that insurance topic again...
As i have said in the past on this issue I think education is a get thing. Things will change but will do so slowly as teh concept of riding to conditions slowly sinks in.
Part of that education (passive) would be two put some signs at say narrows bridge and canning bridge for PSP users travelling in both directions pointing out the relevant rules. leave it up for say 6 months with a warning that at some stage they will be enforced. Many will read the sign and take it on board, others will dismiss it but I am sure that the majority will take the information on.
Then after a reasonable period of time start enforcing cos it is not as if riders can escape easily. The PSP between Canning and narrows has limited points of entry and exit - bit like setting up a booze bus set up where cars are funnelled in and cannot turn off. For those that dismiss the information and warnings once they entered the 'funnel' there is no escape. They can be issued with a formal warning (not a fine)m but on subsequent digressions whack em with a fine.
I would expect that only few will be fined in the end.
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I like this approach and agree with you that education is a good first step. I think many people don't deliberately break the rules, but just don't know them.
It's not just this stretch - I was taken out by a gent coming around a corner who veered onto the wrong side of the path (head down, both earphones on) under Powis Street as I headed North in the morning. Was not too much I could do as I was on a recumbent high-racer and not feeling especially confident to veer into oncoming vehicular traffic. Suffice to say the gent concerned was carted off to hospital in an ambulance with broken ribs/concussion, and I was continued on to work but ended up at a physio for four weeks and not riding for two of them.
I still feel more concerned on the PSP from other cyclists than cars on the road. These are the people who regularly pass wide on blind corners, overtake with little to no regard of on-coming traffic and do things that threaten my well-being as well as theirs.
This has chnaged my cycling behaviour to the extent that I would rather ride to work up the coast via Freo/Curtin Ave-West Coast Highway (44kms) two-three times a week than ride up the PSP (16.5kms) most days.
Not that kilometres difference is much for me, this is my attitude as well. More so for me as I ride against flow on the northern PSP and I am over the cyclists who seem to feel the need to "race" home in the afternoons with the sea breeze. Really surprised that there has not been more serious incidents on this section.
I only now take the PSP if I have to go to the City/West Perth or if the winds are going to be too much if I head down the coast.
IMHO it's not organised bunches that are the problem, it is that there are too many users for not enough path!
There are a lot of riders, and the path is not wide enough and has too many blind corners etc. I only really use that path on the weekends and avoiding the dog walkers, ultra slow pootlers, fast roadies, organised groups etc takes a lot of concentration.
I think it's a bit harsh to slam people for their behaviour on the paths when it is the terrible infrastructure which is causing most of the problems, the density of users is because there's no real on-road alternative, except if you want to pick your way through South Perth (as I would if I was with a big group). It would be awesome if the bike path could be widened and straightened out but there's a limited amount of space between the river and the freeway in a lot of places. A nice duplicated path on the inland side of the freeway would help - faster riders who are trying to get somewhere could use that and the ones who want to pootle along and enjoy the view could do so on the river side!
The South Perth PSP had plenty of issues until it was duplicated and peds and cyclists were separated. Now it's pretty damn good, it's wide and the sight lines are good. People will always be in a hurry to get where they are going. If we can build freeways and highways why can't we build proper infrastructure for bikes??
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It's not my fault I ride like a moron, it's the path's fault!!
No question that the path is inadequate for peak period use but that doesn't excuse the behaviour that goes on. It is quite possible to co-exist in harmony but of course it is at the expense of speed and there are always !! BAN ME NOW FOR SWEARING !! who think its their god given right to go fast on the path even when its not safe.
P.S. Just discovered this forum has an amusing swear filter
if you truly beleive there is a problem and that something should be done about it, then petition to the councils and local government for improvements to the infrastructure. Heck get into the organised rides (or key people at these rides) and get the groups aware of the safety issues.
Then use this forum to push your cause and get people behind you.
Then something is being done about it, rather than nothing.
And yes I know there are people on here that do something about it, there are some amazing role models here, but its not going to hurt to get more people on the cause.
Without ever being a group or elite rider I accept that there is a genuine need for those fast riders to be there. This seems to be at odds with other (the majority?) here who seem to subscribe to the belief that they just should not be riding fast or in groups.
saying that the path is NOT for them looks a lot to me like peds who believe that cyclists also do not belong on "their" paths. Why does everyone believe that their particular need is the one and only one that needs to be accomodated?
The situation is that there are a broad range of users who's legitimate needs are being accomodated poorly by inadequate infrastructure. And it will be getting worse as more take up riding.
The more pertinent issues to me are dealing with bad riders (groups are not, by definition bad) and dealing with inadequate infrastructure. So education and peer pressure on the bad riders. And political pressure on the government of the day. (Argybargy point.)
I may feel differently if I thought that fast and group riders were necessarily worse than the other idiots I see out there every peak hour. But I don't see that.
I had my first collision, with some significant cuts and slash and a bit of equipment damage a couple of weeks back by an inattentive mature and slow weekend rider btw. Who compounded it by not clearing space for other riders untill I had addressed the issue for him. Twice!
Devil's advocate - Perhaps fast cyclist could complain that all those peds and slow riders should move over to Melville Parade in Como. There is no more stopping them from doing so than there is stopping faster and group riders from moving off the PSP in Como.
Last edited by ColinOldnCranky on Thu Dec 13, 2012 3:48 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Unchain yourself-Ride a unicycle
Just to clarify, in case there's any ambiguity as to my views as posted previously, I have no problem with fast riders or group riders generally and I think they are perfectly welcome and entitled to use the path. The path was built to cater for their, among others, use.
The problem comes when people ride dangerously. When there is a high number of users on the path, particularly those of different speed, confidence and mode, you need to slow down. You can't treat it the same as the deserted sections south of Cockburn. This is especially critical when you're in a group and a crash is more likely if any quick braking or swerving is required.
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