open topic, for anything cycling related.
I spotted this article this morning and assumed that it would be up here for discussion. What bothered me was the generalisations - specifically it is only the solo lycra wearing cyclist, never the bunch cyclist, never the commuter or recreational cyclist, never the pedestrian.
Courtesy is key but I also see a planning aspect in here. With sports cycling (specifically road cycling) town planners should also carefully construct facilities that consider the nature of cycling in the area. If the area/route caters primarily for recreational cyclists then compact paths may be ok though I find the share paths to be quite small and see value in wider paths and even seperation (line markings or even physical seperation of paths is required).
People love to say and think they are in the right - "I have a right to be standing here on this path" or "I have a right to ride along this path and not be blocked". Clear pedestrian and cyclist seperation can solve problems and improve safety. They are not the be-all and end-all though can help.
+1. As an example of the above I was cycling on a shared path recently (in Lycra) and saw a walker moving towards the path from the grass so I slowed and yelled out "bike". The walker didn't acknowledge this and I yelled again and again. He walked straight onto the path in front of me (but I had slowed to avoid him). Wired for sound of course and couldn't hear a thing. All too common.
I'll also note that a commonly used road by commuters near me has non-lycra wearing riders going through red lights or riding on the footpath (illegal in NSW) at a ratio of ten to one versus their lycra wearing fellow cyclists.
It's funny, really. She has a right to use the path, but the instant she chose to stand in the middle without moving, she created a hazard. If she is carrying an umbrella on a dry day without much cause for rain, she will really struggle to justify how she hit a cyclist. Interestingly, if she aggressively hits someone with the umbrella, she just bought a trip to the emergency room if they have the slightest testosterone tendency. Bit of a brain moment here - blokes riding at 45-50kmh tend to be working that macho out of their system. These are precisely the people who will remove her face if she tries to attack them with an umbrella.
Her comment about "yes I know this is a dangerous bit of path" just proves she's an idiot. The cyclist stopped because they were annoyed, but also concerned about her. If you really don't care about the person you almost hit, you won't warn them. You won't let them realise that someone else is going to collect them eventually if their behaviour doesn't change. Some people have never walked the share path, they just don't understand the risks. To know the risk of being "in the way" and do it anyway is arrogance far greater than the cyclist travelling quickly.
This is pretty much the generalisation that keeps getting perpetuated. IMO the author is using it for a bit of writers flair, I'd find it hard to believe this is a completely true observation.
I agree with this completely. Ride to the conditions ... and the conditions are children, dogs, people possibly wandering on the "wrong side" of the path around the next blind corner.
I commuted on the road for 3 ish years and now am living near a bike track so I have commuted on the bike track for about 9 months.
One interesting observation I have is that more people walk on the path (not to work, just for a walk) at the time which will get me into work at 8:30 (just a but earlier due to changing and all that). When I am a bit late for work and get in by 9 or 9:30 the number of walkers have gone down massively.
Are we missing the meaning of 'shared pathway', like a shared road, the motor vehicle has to travel at a speed that it can avoid hitting a pedestrian, 40kph or faster is not a speed that you can avoid hitting a pedestrian.
If cyclists keep on with the attitude that pedestrians must get out of the way, then what will occur is that either a speed limit (with enforcement) will be imposed or they will ban cyclists from 'shared pathways' they will become footpaths (as the laws in NSW currently are).
Both cyclists & pedestrians have rights, they also have some responsibilities, if cyclists are going to use shared pathways as a strava racetrack, then expect the pedestrians to complain, unfortunately they'll win in the end (the loudest groups always do).
I agree with an earlier sentiment about having segments on shared pathways, it just encourages a certain amount of people to do the wrong thing, in the end all cyclists could be penalised.
If cars regularly roared past you on a suburban backstreet at 100kph then what would be your thoughts? That's what a lot of pedestrians are seeing of us as a group, they won't remember the nice one who slowed, rang a bell/tooted a horn, waved, said good morning, nup they'll remember 'that one on the race bike riding like he was escaping the hounds of hell'.
Some good common sense responses above. here's my 2 bob's worth sent in to the Age newsdesk... will I get published? :
Re: Jane Caro, Opinion, The Sunday Age January 13.
http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/societ ... 2cmbt.html
Here’s yet another anecdotal “Cyclists Are Dangerous To Pedestrians” article. Anecdote is not data. This is a point Jane Caro, as a researcher knows very well. Let’s have a little look at the actual data, shall we?
Of 279 road deaths in 2012, 35 were pedestrians. 35!
In the period 2003 – 2012, two thousand, eight hundred and fifty seven people were killed in road fatalities (TAC). Of these, 71 were cyclists killed by motor vehicles. 435 were pedestrians. Of the pedestrians, one, just one, over that whole ten year period, was unfortunately killed by a cyclist in 2007.
During its 52-day summer enforcement campaign beginning November 16, Victoria Police detected 75,985 traffic offences:
5045 disqualified and unlicensed drivers; 6559 unregistered vehicles; 2863 drink-drivers; 24,709 speeding offences; 3299 seatbelt offences; 6077 mobile phone offences; and they also impounded 472 vehicles. More than 1700 drink and drug drivers were taken off the road during Operation RAID alone, which ran for three weeks at the beginning of the campaign.
Cyclists are not dangerous to pedestrians – but motorists are demonstrably so.
Jane Caro, however, finds one lycra-clad cyclist who dares to actually stop, and discuss a common sense safety issue on a bike path. Outrageous. The letter of the law states that pedestrians have right of way on a shared path. This does not mean that pedestrians have the right to block the path for others. In practice it works very well, and for the huge majority of cases, cyclists and pedestrians treat each other with respect and courtesy. The reporting of one negative anecdote does nothing to maintain that thoughtful culture.
Caro is also well aware of the implications of demonising individuals based upon dress, whether it be Hasidic, hippy, haute couture, or God forbid, a young girl dressed to the nines and out at night. Here she contributes to the aggression and prejudice towards those who wear lycra – the most practical fabric for cyclists as it breathes well and does not hold moisture.
So here’s a little pot-boiler from this social researcher to keep the prejudice against cyclists alive. It is a prejudice that places the lives of cyclists everywhere at risk from aggressive motorists who believe that somehow anyone on a bike and wearing lycra is a scofflaw who deserves to be run off the road.
There is already a 20kph limit on the Bicentennial Bikeway and the Goodwill Bridge (actually it might be 15kph on the bridge). (Edit also on the Gateway Bridge, and the Kurilpa Bridge I think).
Pretty obviously, the only difference between the attitudes of some cyclists and the motorists they so frequently complain about is their choice of weapon - bike or car.
Last edited by RonK on Sun Jan 13, 2013 10:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
None of which excuses Ms Caro's offensive comments
Riding bikes in traffic - what seems dangerous is usually safe; what seems safe is often more dangerous.
What rubbish! These statistic show nothing about the incidence of injuries caused by collisions between cyclists and pedestrians, only that fatalities are rare. A injury need not be fatal to be traumatic and debilitating. No doubt a great many such incidents are never reported.
Even if you assume very little in terms of respect from any car on a road, it's still far less stressful on a busy road than a shared bike path to ride on if you like going a decent speed.
I hope they good good brakes for that T intersection
Not too long ago towards the end of last year one cyclist and ped were both put in hospital with life threatening injuries when the ped stepped out onto the road infront of a cyclist doing 35-40kph in the CBD. Only made the news because some reporter or something was on their way to work and passed it.
No I don't. As I mentioned, I doubt many such incidents are reported. And I don't think even fatal incidents would be included in the road trauma statistics if they don't happen on the road, just as off road trail bike fatalities are not counted.
The Police wouldn't want their stats messed up by non-road trauma.
I wasn't going to reply to this - as it us just pointless, everyone has militant views on this. But, here goes...
Simple fix - build dedicated veloways and BAN pedestrians from them.
And on shared paths - put signs clearly stating that people MUST stay left unless overtaking. Also sign-post rules preventing riders going two-abreast, and also banning walkers/runners from walking two or more abreast.
Speed doesn't make any difference - I was going about 15km/h today on a short commute and had the four ladies taking the entire width of the WIDE shared path... How is that sharing the path?
I've also had the dumb dumbs with the headphones not watch where they are going. Also had the young mum with her picnic blanket set up on the shared path, and the little baby crawling along beside the path! (I was totally shocked).
I stay left if I can, unless overtaking or avoiding bombs left by dogs... I'm pretty considerate - but by virtue of what I wear, I'm not??? Utter nonsense! That upsets me, as does the lone cyclist talk. I tend to prefer riding on my own, so I take some exception to that.
On the whole, most pedestrians I come across do the right thing as do most of the cyclists (lycra wearing)I see. Some bike riders (ie, non-Lycra wearing, motorised bicycles, etc) on the other hand, some of them aren't so courteous. I tend to ride one route a bit and see many of the same people all them time, often stop and talk to some of them (off the path).
This is too safe - and it doesn't sell newspapers by creating anger and controversy! Perhaps I can write some sort of aggressively anti pedestrian article that advocates attacking pedestrians under the guise of opinion writing and freedom of speech? I wouldn't though, it goes against every value I have. But you can see what they are doing though.
I'm totally non aggressive, so it's never something I'd ever do.
Last edited by g-boaf on Sun Jan 13, 2013 11:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Just a note that we CAN keep this discussion friendly.
She has expressed an opinion, she is entitled to have an opinion & to express it. You may not particularly agree with her opinion, in fact you may have an entirely opposite opinion, you are also entitled to have & express your opinion, I also have an opinion & have the right to express it as well (my opinion may very well be closer to your opinion than to her opinion), who's to say which is 'right' or 'wrong', but then opinions can't be 'right' or 'wrong' except to the one who possesses it (in their case it is totally right), that's what makes us individuals, we all think a little different from each other.
The point she raises (in my experience & opinion) is a valid one, I have seen many cyclists pass me quite quickly on crowded shared pathways, as I stated earlier, if you're doing 40+kph & have to dodge pedestrians then you may be presenting the type of image that she is highlighting. I do NOT concur with her way of dealing with the issue, what I'm saying is their has to be some tolerance & respect from all users of shared pathways.
At 4am it's probably fine to ride at 40,50,60 kph along a shared pathway, but to do it in peak user times (peak commute periods & those morning/afternoon weekend times) when a lot of people are trying to get in their exercise/sabbatical/recreation is just asking for issues to be raised.
You have the right to write a counter piece & send it to the press, this is how people like Ms Caro work, they write inciting articles & regularly submit them. From time to time press editors will run such articles, especially if there's a slow news day or nothing really stimulating is occurring. Want to win the argument with someone like that, then write an opposing piece, pick her arguments apart one at a time with facts, clearly distinguish fact from opinion, ensure that you clearly phase an opinion as exactly that, play it out in the public arena, but what you also need is for most (hopefully all) to show that they're not lyrca wearing mass murderers, but just nice regular people out riding a bike, a confrontation requires more than one person, if we all modify our habits a little, then we'll no longer look like the 'bad guys'.
Writing an opposing piece, picking apart her facts or inciting people to violence just makes us all look as bad as the opinion writer is.
The only way to address them is to give in completely. Let the shared paths become shared for pedestrians only and then they'll fight among each other. The walkers will then turn their anger to the runners, or the dog-walkers, etc.
She shouldn't have a right to stir up violence. By her statement of sticking an umbrella towards us, you can bet that someone will actually do that. The author of course won't take any responsibility for it. She'll sit back in her armchair, looking smug.
Excellent responde Riddley.
Just a point of information.
A bit of bike path history, at least in Melbourne anyway.
A lot of the first bike paths, constructed in the early 80s were always intended mainly for cyclist use, as a safe alternative to busy roads. Knox City Council (with Minister Steve Crabb's help) were one of the first to get the ball rolling with their local path network. However no-one had the balls to set them aside as dedicated 'bike-only' paths. Lots of local people discovered they were pleasant for a walk too, and the walker numbers rose. Soon the paths were being described as 'shared paths', and cyclists were discovering the marvels of riding with dog-walkers and elderly citizens.
So actually the paths have changed from being mostly bikes only using them... to bikes/walkers... to "walkers own this path"
Riding bikes in traffic - what seems dangerous is usually safe; what seems safe is often more dangerous.
If your on a shared path you need to expect peds to do unexpected things, walk two abreast and listen to music. They live in a different world to us where meandering along a path puts them in a nice relaxed mood. What are we going to do, ban music, talking and exercising in pairs while talking?
I do the cooks river as part of my commute to work. I fit the 'lone wolf' description however I use a bell and I slow right down when passing. With the elderly, kids and peds that look like they aren't really experienced I really slow right down literally to jogging or running pace.
We have to slow right down, not 20kmph, but right down to running pace when passing. We have to always be able to stop within our line of site, if you cant then your going two fast around that corner. We also should make an effort to be friendly, thank people for moving across and reassure parents that your not a threat to their toddler 30m up the path peddling like mad and doing random changes of direction with his training wheels on. A simple 'good day for it' or 'he's doing well, he'll be off those training wheels soon' and you can see the fear in their faces replaced with relief as they realise you are nice and not about to try to get past the little fella until he well out of harms way.
imo unfortunately this stereotype is as accurate as the commo/hilux ute driving tradie stereotype. It's up to us to reverse this stereotype, we cannot expect peds on shared paths to always be aware of us approaching from behind, they will always be entitled to listen to music and they will always walk two abreast chatting. I see nothing wrong with that and believe it is up to us to make allowances for this and be polite while doing it.
Yeah, good luck with gettin' that off the ground
Even more luck will be needed to get a ban enforced.
Annnnnnd, in the extremely unlikely event of both actually happening, (you'd have a better chance of winning Powerball, solo, for 8 consecutive weeks) I give it no more than six months before the outraged twitterings of scofflaw pedestrians (horrifiedly supported by 'Arold Scrulooses fax machine) convince our concerned (with their electoral numbers) political leaders that the best solution to this problem will not be greater enforcement but conversion of said Veloways to Principal Shared Paths for all.
Problem Solved (or redefined)
EDIT: Beaten by Pete (again)
...whatever the road rules, self-preservation is the absolute priority for a cyclist when mixing it with motorised traffic.
London Boy 29/12/2011
I think everyone is getting hot under the collar for no reason. Or just trying to inflame a non-issue. Read the umbrella remark in context. The article is written in a light, ironic sense, and the umbrella comment is written in that light as well. Anyone with an ounce of intellegence would realise that the columnist has no intention of actually taking an umbrella on her morning walks. She has a far more effective weapon; farewelling hubby in the middle of the path!
FWIW In principle I agree with her sentiments about inconsiderate cyclists. I have also been a victim both on and off the bike. (I'm a slow transport rider). Almost been knocked off by a speedster on the SHB, shaved within an inch of my life by group rides, been forced off the bike by oncoming groups who don't move to their side of the path etc. Dress is irrelevant, however the offenders generally tend to be wearing lycra. But that's to be expected, as most of the cyclists I see are lycra wearing. The term "Lycra" just give people a short-cut handle to describe a group of people that behave badly. It could be red hair (sorry Julia), or blue eyes (sorry Sinatra). Once again the actions of a few taint the reputation of many.
Il Padrone said it very well - and I was hoping he'd reply in that fashion. Puts the author's article in an interesting light.
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