Cycling in Sydney Australia
As a 60km a day commuter I am starting to believe that roads are becoming a safer place than bike lanes in rush hour. In the 5 years that I have commuted I have noticed more dangerous and inconsiderate riding and more incidents as a result.
Don't get me wrong, I think bike lanes are great, but as more people use them, more people seem to lack common sense and courtesy. At least on the road there are rules, and I expect drivers to do stupid things.
In the last few weeks::
I don't want to start an argument here, but if you're going to use a cycle lane then apply some common sense and courtesy. If you want to get to work earlier, leave home earlier, do not try to gain 10 seconds by cutting corners, riding too fast for your ability, or not giving way at crossings, etc.
Perhaps bike lanes need part time policing, the RTA needs to do some educational marketing, or we as riders have to remind ourselves and one another.... I do not know the answer, but I do get frustrated that people cannot ride safely, particularly after the government has invested in bike lanes. Think about it, if bike lane accidents increase, then how will that fair in promoting investment in bike lanes in the future?
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Yes, I got hit by one crossing a pedestrian crossing when there last September. All the other cyclists stopped, he didn't. Fully rammed me and then just cycled off... no expression of "sorry" at all.
If the government builds substandard infrastructure, and we all ride on it to 'support their efforts', we are then sending the message that substandard infrastructure is just fine. If we refuse, but we still ride, we send the message that it's not good enough.
I like the sentiment, but when gov builds substandard roads, hospitals, schools etc. are we meant to refuse to use them too? Just to show 'em like? ;-)
well put Kylie
I agree with you Kylie, it makes me angry to watch politicians spending our money (not theirs!) building substandard and sometimes dangerous new infrastructure to attract "green" votes from non-cyclists.
Particularly if these politicians spend their lives being chauffeured around in publicly-funded cars.
This has gone a little off topic but let me respond. I think we agree there can be idiots on roads and bike lanes and are dressed in a multitude of clothing. The issue of using the bike lanes is a tricky one. I don't think the issue is weekend cycling. Drivers are more than happy to give me plenty of space on the road on my Saturday or Sunday morning ride starting up Pacific Highway or down Epping Road bus lane. The problem comes during commute times and the traffic jams form. During these times, I think it's fair for a driver to question why someone is using the road/bus lane and not the purpose built cycle lane. I would certainly get very angry if I saw a driver use the bike lane for a short cut (I've actually seen this happen on Epping Road).
The government test the success of the cycle infrastructure by "counting" the number of cyclists who use the cycle lane. It's that dumb. If they see a steady rise in the number of users then they'll have a valid reason to build more, especially if they see a similar drop in the number of car journeys into the CBD. We have to give them that reason. Surely the utopia is bike lanes everywhere, with lots of cyclists everywhere, spilling onto the roads and massively outnumbering drivers? I think then we can ride where we want, taking up entire lanes, then we get the Danish style bike lanes:
We've got to get the bike lane infrastructure in place, use it where possible, grow the community to the point where we spill out onto the roads and then finally claim the roads and world domination :-).
Does this world you speak of mean I can skate wherever I want? ;-) If so I'm in. I like the idea, not sure it's possible in Sydney.
Bit of a legal definition issue there. Bikes are classed as normal vehicles, hence legally able to take a lane anywhere there is not a very specific BIKE LANE sign (vary rare indeed and do not apply to cycleways).
Skateboards dont enjoy that legal definition. Skate on though...
I think it's fair for a driver to question why someone is using the road/bus lane and not the purpose built cycle lane. I would certainly get very angry if I saw a driver use the bike lane for a short cut (I've actually seen this happen on Epping Road).
The difference between those scenarios is that one behaviour is legal, the other is illegal. Guess which.
The test of success for road infrastructure, which includes cycle lanes, is the total number of cyclists using the space available. The more cyclists, particularly women, the better.
Infrastructure should be designed on the basis that "every road is a bicycle road".
Neil Alexander wrote:
Infrastructure should be designed on the basis that "every road is a bicycle road"
I agree but that's the very opposite of what's happening in the City of Sydney at the moment.
Pedestrian space, parking lanes and turning lanes are being converted to short lengths of bike-only lane, with chaotic 10Km/hr shared space in between.
This is inevitably causing a huge backlash against cyclists, particularly if (like me) they still want to ride on the road.
I also want to (and do) ride on the road. But I know people who simply will not do it. Yet otherwise they would ride to work.
I have been to cities, Montreal is the best example, where there are several 20 year old separated bike paths but now most people ride everywhere. It is a phase and I believe we should firmly support it.
It's a bit hard to start from scratch in the middle of Sydney. The bikeways which have been retrofitted to Sydney streets have resulted in a huge upsurge in cycling and the only backlash against cyclists has come from vested interests and media types pushing their own agendas and looking for ratings or newspaper sales.
Personally, I think driver behaviour is improving ever so slightly and gradually as cyclist numbers increase. A lot of how you interact with other road users such as motorists depends on your own attitude. Smile, acknowledge politeness from drivers, don't react to the perceived slights from those who come too close by accident, just be ready to avoid.
As Noelbike says, we should all support the Council and Clover for their policy which is recycling Sydney.
But where is this pedestrian space which has disappeared under bike lanes, Antonia? Sure a few parking spaces have gone to make way for moving bicycles, a bit like clearways remove stationary vehicles to make way for moving ones on crowded roads. But I haven't seen too many footpaths turned into exclusive bicycle roads. In my time on earth I have seen many footpaths usurped by both moving and stationary cars.
The main transport problem in this city is the number of cars, usually carrying only one person. That is what needs to be turned around. Taking space away from them will mean more space can be allocated to cyclists and, as a consequence, pedestrians will also have more space.
Sorry Neil I should have been clearer. It's the idiots who ride through the 10Km/hr shared space at 30Km/hr or more who cause most of the problems here in Redfern and Surry Hills. Much of these shared zones used to be pedestrian space but some riders now treat them as dedicated cycleways and don't slow down or give way.