The Safety Enquiry thread

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Thoglette
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The Safety Enquiry thread

Postby Thoglette » Thu Sep 21, 2023 1:59 pm

Every once in a while there’s a government enquiry into the safety of cycling on roads causing much smoke and noise, with all sorts of witnesses, before everyone packs up, goes home and carries on regardless.

This time round it’s the Victorian Govt and the quoted “voice of cycling” is
Brett Lancaster ..a former professional racing cyclist, Olympic gold medallist and a Tour de France stage winner.
Later “Rhianon Norton from the Shepparton Cycling Club” points out the stupidity of building roads without at least a decent sealed shoulder,

ABC report
Road safety inquiry warned of risks faced by cyclists, student drivers at hearing in country Victoria
Stop handing them the stick! - Dave Moulton
"People are worthy of respect, ideas are not." Peter Ellerton, UQ

warthog1
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Re: The Safety Enquiry thread

Postby warthog1 » Thu Sep 21, 2023 2:43 pm

This statistic stood out to me.
But despite his decades of experience on a bike, he avoids riding on the road.

"I feel very unsafe, to be honest," he said.

"I stick to bike paths mainly and steer away from the road as much as I can."

According to data from the TAC, 109 bicycle riders have been killed on Victorian roads in the last 10 years, including 11 in the last 12 months.
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g-boaf
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Re: The Safety Enquiry thread

Postby g-boaf » Mon Oct 02, 2023 6:32 pm

warthog1 wrote:
Thu Sep 21, 2023 2:43 pm
This statistic stood out to me.
But despite his decades of experience on a bike, he avoids riding on the road.

"I feel very unsafe, to be honest," he said.

"I stick to bike paths mainly and steer away from the road as much as I can."
You’d be surprised how many pro cyclists have that feeling riding here in Australia. I won’t name them but some I’ve spoken with at various times have been extremely rattled by very close passes.

They are often just as affected as we are.

I’ve ridden on roads a few times with them on a route I would normally avoid only for the reason of some feeling of safety having another rider there. Otherwise I’d go a different (longer) way.

Reasonably wide sized shoulders would make things a bit safer, but I prefer off road linked paths around my area - you can go quite far on them.

Overseas in Italy or France I don’t mind riding on the roads, there are no problems with the traffic.

Although we will be told soon there are no problems here in Australia either… (as was said recently).

warthog1
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Re: The Safety Enquiry thread

Postby warthog1 » Mon Oct 02, 2023 6:50 pm

g-boaf wrote:
Mon Oct 02, 2023 6:32 pm
warthog1 wrote:
Thu Sep 21, 2023 2:43 pm
This statistic stood out to me.
But despite his decades of experience on a bike, he avoids riding on the road.

"I feel very unsafe, to be honest," he said.

"I stick to bike paths mainly and steer away from the road as much as I can."
You’d be surprised how many pro cyclists have that feeling riding here in Australia. I won’t name them but some I’ve spoken with at various times have been extremely rattled by very close passes.

They are often just as affected as we are.

I’ve ridden on roads a few times with them on a route I would normally avoid only for the reason of some feeling of safety having another rider there. Otherwise I’d go a different (longer) way.

Reasonably wide sized shoulders would make things a bit safer, but I prefer off road linked paths around my area - you can go quite far on them.

Overseas in Italy or France I don’t mind riding on the roads, there are no problems with the traffic.

Although we will be told soon there are no problems here in Australia either… (as was said recently).
It isn't improving either imo. Device and in car display distraction, is making us less safe, as is increased traffic and driver density.
Dogs are the best people :wink:

opik_bidin
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Re: The Safety Enquiry thread

Postby opik_bidin » Tue Oct 03, 2023 12:53 pm

Must be worse as NIMBYs block upzoning and dense housing, so more suburbia gets built, and previously quiet roads are now filled with cars of the suburbia dwellers.

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g-boaf
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Re: The Safety Enquiry thread

Postby g-boaf » Tue Oct 03, 2023 9:27 pm

Sometimes off road isn't much safer either:

Apologies for the 2GB link, but: https://www.2gb.com/trail-bike-hoons-te ... -cyclists/

tpcycle
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Re: The Safety Enquiry thread

Postby tpcycle » Wed Oct 04, 2023 1:35 pm

Cycling safety enquiry?

Does that mean cyclists should expect the introduction of higher fines, more laws and other draconian anti cycling measures to be introduced in the name of safety? Seems to be the well trodden tradition of these things. Maybe they could be a world leader and introduce mandatory licencing and registration or the compulsory wearing of hi-viz.

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Re: The Safety Enquiry thread

Postby Mr Purple » Wed Oct 04, 2023 2:01 pm

The solutions are pretty straightforward. But the political will doesn't exist to actually implement them. As cyclists we are in a very small minority, and for some reason we are one of very few minorities that can be openly discriminated against.

The issues I have with riding on the road can be summarised in two areas - road design and driver behaviour.

Road Design
I have a 21km commute to work, it largely has plenty of room for cycling in the wide shoulders, but whatever bike infrastructure exists consists solely of green paint with a bicycle painted on it. But I can't ride to work on a weekday because I will die. Simply because there is probably a total of 500m in that 21km where the shoulder literally disappears to nothing, and forces me into traffic in a 70 or 80 zone.

This happens a total of four times in 21km - two of these times can be fixed by painting a strip of yellow paint down the curb to stop people parking there. How is that even remotely acceptable? This is a major arterial road which sees quite a few cyclists, and sheer lack of will has made it impassable for a guy that rides 300km a week.

Because there is no coordinated approach to road design at a state, federal or local level, it needs to be a mandatory requirement of every road upgrade that it include a safe space for active travel. Preferably this would be a separated lane, however at least give us metre of extra shoulder if that isn't possible. It takes approximately 30 seconds to look at a road and realise your design is forcing cyclists into direct conflict with traffic.

Motorist Behaviour
At the moment there are a number of motorists who look at cyclists and see them as an obstacle. This manifests as narrow passes and failure to give way. Only last weekend I had a car look directly at me and pull out from a side street - if I hadn't braked I would have gone through her open driver side window. She saw me, acknowledged I was there, and did not recognise me as something that she needed to give way to.

Motorists not only need to see cyclists, they need to fear us. The need to realise 'hey, if I hit this person I'm either going to jail or not driving for a very long time'. At the moment they receive exactly the same penalties in hitting and killing a cyclist as if they'd hit and caused minor panel damage to a car.

We absolutely need presumed liability. Given a motorist is at fault 80% of the time a cyclist is hit, I'm pretty sure the remaining 20% can support their case if they truly weren't at fault. Also none of this 'you get the same penalty regardless of the consequence' bulldust. I can see the legal reason for that but it must be legislated that if you kill or seriously injure someone through your neglect you are far more liable than if you cause a minor bingle.

Also motorists need to see driving as 'not a right' but a privelige. Part of that is sorting out our active travel so cycling is a viable option. But every day I see motorists behaving in such a way that you can immediately tell if their licence was immediately cancelled indefinitely our roads would instantly become a much safer place.

My safety experience is that if you meet bad road design and a bad driver at the same time, you die. So I avoid all bad road design if I can, and I avoid areas where I know the drivers are terrible. The sad thing is this rules out the Brisbane River Loop (King Arthur Terrace and the State Tennis centre couldn't be designed better to mince cyclists, and the drivers are the most arrogant sods you'll see in Brisbane) which is allegedly our cycling highlight in Brisbane.

But as above, just as they did after the recent cyclist death on Cootha (almost certainly caused by a speeding motorcyclist on the wrong side of the road from what I've seen) the general public will blame cyclists for our own lack of safety. Because they once saw a guy on a bike run a red light or something. And the police will continue to crack down on 10km/hr speed limit enforcement for cyclists because 'safety'.

Politics is 90% theatre so nothing will ever get fixed.

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Re: The Safety Enquiry thread

Postby warthog1 » Wed Oct 04, 2023 2:47 pm

^^yes as you say, we are such a minority that there is no electoral penalty for continuing to legislate against us and marginalise us further.
If left to politicians the chance of presumed liability coming in is zero. It simply will nor happen in my lifetime. :|
I agree with your statement about the possible consequences of bad road design paired with a bad driver.
Bad road design is very commonplace as is bad driving.

Selection about where and when to ride is very important to minimise one's chance of being hit with the potential horrible outcomes that may entail.
There will be no significant legal penalty for the driver. There is no compulsion for driving behaviour to improve.
Getting off busy roads at busy times is the only logical choice imo.
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MichaelB
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Re: The Safety Enquiry thread

Postby MichaelB » Wed Oct 04, 2023 3:24 pm

Mr Purple wrote:
Wed Oct 04, 2023 2:01 pm
The solutions are pretty straightforward. But the political will doesn't exist to actually implement them. As cyclists we are in a very small minority, and for some reason we are one of very few minorities that can be openly discriminated against.

The issues I have with riding on the road can be summarised in two areas - road design and driver behaviour.

Road Design
I have a 21km commute to work, it largely has plenty of room for cycling in the wide shoulders, but whatever bike infrastructure exists consists solely of green paint with a bicycle painted on it. But I can't ride to work on a weekday because I will die. Simply because there is probably a total of 500m in that 21km where the shoulder literally disappears to nothing, and forces me into traffic in a 70 or 80 zone.

This happens a total of four times in 21km - two of these times can be fixed by painting a strip of yellow paint down the curb to stop people parking there. How is that even remotely acceptable? This is a major arterial road which sees quite a few cyclists, and sheer lack of will has made it impassable for a guy that rides 300km a week.

Because there is no coordinated approach to road design at a state, federal or local level, it needs to be a mandatory requirement of every road upgrade that it include a safe space for active travel. Preferably this would be a separated lane, however at least give us metre of extra shoulder if that isn't possible. It takes approximately 30 seconds to look at a road and realise your design is forcing cyclists into direct conflict with traffic.

Motorist Behaviour
At the moment there are a number of motorists who look at cyclists and see them as an obstacle. This manifests as narrow passes and failure to give way. Only last weekend I had a car look directly at me and pull out from a side street - if I hadn't braked I would have gone through her open driver side window. She saw me, acknowledged I was there, and did not recognise me as something that she needed to give way to.

Motorists not only need to see cyclists, they need to fear us. The need to realise 'hey, if I hit this person I'm either going to jail or not driving for a very long time'. At the moment they receive exactly the same penalties in hitting and killing a cyclist as if they'd hit and caused minor panel damage to a car.

We absolutely need presumed liability. Given a motorist is at fault 80% of the time a cyclist is hit, I'm pretty sure the remaining 20% can support their case if they truly weren't at fault. Also none of this 'you get the same penalty regardless of the consequence' bulldust. I can see the legal reason for that but it must be legislated that if you kill or seriously injure someone through your neglect you are far more liable than if you cause a minor bingle.

Also motorists need to see driving as 'not a right' but a privelige. Part of that is sorting out our active travel so cycling is a viable option. But every day I see motorists behaving in such a way that you can immediately tell if their licence was immediately cancelled indefinitely our roads would instantly become a much safer place.

My safety experience is that if you meet bad road design and a bad driver at the same time, you die. So I avoid all bad road design if I can, and I avoid areas where I know the drivers are terrible. The sad thing is this rules out the Brisbane River Loop (King Arthur Terrace and the State Tennis centre couldn't be designed better to mince cyclists, and the drivers are the most arrogant sods you'll see in Brisbane) which is allegedly our cycling highlight in Brisbane.

But as above, just as they did after the recent cyclist death on Cootha (almost certainly caused by a speeding motorcyclist on the wrong side of the road from what I've seen) the general public will blame cyclists for our own lack of safety. Because they once saw a guy on a bike run a red light or something. And the police will continue to crack down on 10km/hr speed limit enforcement for cyclists because 'safety'.

Politics is 99% theatre so nothing will ever get fixed.
Fixed it for you.

Sadly, you are very polite and 100% correct.

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elantra
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Re: The Safety Enquiry thread

Postby elantra » Sat Oct 07, 2023 3:40 pm

Mr Purple has hit the nail on the head. And our other correspondents have given it a bit of an added polish.

I think that we sometimes get preoccupied with the fallibility’s of human (driver) behaviour.
But road design plays a big part really.
We sort of accept that most roads have been there a long time and so often accept them on the basis that they were designed in a different era and perhaps at a time of greater technological and financial constraints.
And we often assume that the roads being constructed NOW or in the near future will be more beneficial for vulnerable road users ….

But I suspect that I am dreaming - certainly in my neck of the woods there is plenty of evidence that roads are being designed and built - as we speak - with token or no consideration of any thing other than fast and furious motor vehicles !

Today I was riding with some mates at Currumbin in South East Qld. We were explaining to a visiting cyclist that this road was used in the 2018 Comm Games Road racing and TimeTrial course and is possibly the most popular cycling route on the whole Gold Coast area.

It had work done on it in the lead up to the 2018 Games but this did not include any significant effort to give it a consistent continuous shoulder, or in fact to ameliorate the number of pinch points where it becomes damn narrow !

Right now there is a big upgrade on a perpendicular intersecting arterial called Stewart Rd.
It’s now a very major road, very unsuitable for riding bikes on, very !
The legions of local road cyclists have always generally avoided this road, because it has high speed entry/exit points onto the motorway and the speed differential with even a powerful road cyclist is intimidating.

So the upgrade of Stewart road has almost been completed. Fair enough, roads get upgraded, that happens.
But why oh why have they put a green painted bicycle lane on it !!!
All they had to do was ask some “locals” if this would be a useful addition to the road plan.
Obviously they didn’t because it is unlikely to get any use because it makes an unattractive, dangerous few km of road no more attractive and no safer,
In fact it’s probably less safe now because an additional part of the road has gone to being multilane with a more smooth flowing entry onto the motorway - with a crazy green painted cycle lane sandwiched between the motorway on-ramp and the 2 straight ahead lanes. My senses tell me that this is extremely dangerous.

Dunno how much effort and money went into designing this but to state the bleeding obvious it would have been much better spent on a bit of shoulder creation along the nearby road that cyclists actually use a lot.
It’s a telling example of how roads get designed according to all sorts of protocols which have little connection to inspired thinking
Apologies for the length of my post !

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Re: The Safety Enquiry thread

Postby Mr Purple » Mon Oct 09, 2023 12:00 pm

Ran into a good example of this on the weekend - Compton Road near Karawatha Forest heading East.

Pretty cyclist heavy environment, and at this point the far left lane ends and merges into the two existing lanes. Uphill and in a 70 zone. There are marked bike lanes before and after, so they obviously expect cyclists to be there.

This is what happens:

Image

That raised curb for the bus stop starts about 30m down the hill. There is a tree in the way stopping you getting onto the verge (I'm always on my gravel bike through here, so an option for me). I'm not coordinated enough to reliably bunnyhop the vertical curb and there is not a ramp cut into it anyway (literally the one thing that could make this safe for cyclists).

I have gone this way twice, and never again. Both times I was almost killed by a motorist passing me as I attempted to merge. There is literally no safe way of negotiating this 50m section as a cyclist short of getting off your bike and lifting it onto the footpath. It is the perfect collision between awful road design and idiot motorists (being in Logan).

How any traffic engineer can look at this and think 'it's fine' beggars belief. Literally all they had to do was cut a ramp into the curb and continue the footpath another 20m or so. But I bet it didn't meet some standard for a 'safe footpath' so the alternative is to force all cyclists into high speed traffic uphill.

Yes, I am an expert in 'claim the lane'. But both times I attempted that before this intersection someone tried to drive through me anyway. Despite having a completely empty lane to move over into.

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elantra
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Re: The Safety Enquiry thread

Postby elantra » Wed Nov 15, 2023 10:52 pm

Probably appropriate to post this recent Federal Government media release under this topic.

https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/ ... -australia

Quite interesting, but the media release could be accused of glossing over some important details:

It’s called the “Safer Vehicles Freight Package” and implies that it is now legal to buy and operate a truck on Aussie roads that is 5 cm wider than it used to be - but any such vehicle must have a number of fitted safety features such as extra mirrors / sensors/ cameras to monitor potential blind spots, etc (see official document)

However you don’t have to be Einstein to realise that the number of these “new” models available to purchase is likely to be “very few” for a considerable period of time.

Does this mean that any brand new truck of the traditional width (2.5 metres) put on the road anytime after the first of October does NOT have to have any of these new features ???

If so then it is a bit of a halfhearted effort.
Because for sure the vast majority of new truck registrations for the foreseeable future are going to be vehicles which are “only” 2.5 metres wide.

And you can imagine how many thousands of large trucks are currently operating on our roads that presumably are under no obligation to have any of these new features added on.
And the working lifespan of most trucks is similar to a car, approximately 10 to 20 years.

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