Cycling in Sydney Australia
Here's a little piece from the very balanced, no agenda, SMH. I wonder why they bother but I guess they need something to stir up people's emotions to sell their newspapers.
It always amazes me how motorists whinge about bikes break road rules & pedestrians whinge that bicycles are dangerous pedestrain killers. And then we have cyclists whinging about other cyclists breaking road rules because it "gives cycling a bad image"? When really it's drivers that are the most dangerous to both bikes and pedestrians (killing over 200 pedestrians every year & seriously injuring / maining thousands more) and everyone breaks road rules regardless of their travel mode.
When I participated in the last 2 Super Tuesday bike counts, I didn't just count bikes. I also counted racer / commuter / schoolie / electric - male/female - helmet / no-helmet - pedestrians and anyone breaking rules. In both 2011 & 2010 it was the pedestrians who followed the rules the least - they didn't wait for the green man or crossed in "hazardous" situations.
The whole debate about safety & bicycles seems to revolve about enforcing the rules and blaming cyclists. But really the whole safety debate should be about who causes road deaths & injuries and what can be done to educate & encourage those people whatever mode they use. Plus of course enforce the rules for ALL road users based on the danger they present to other innocent people.
PS - what's the photo of the bike bridge got to do with bikes bowling over pedestrians??? Mustn't have had anything better to print.
Ride time ... cyclists fill the broad bike lanes all over Copenhagen. Photo: Johan Spanner
COPENHAGEN: Mikael le Dous has it in for cyclists.
A power plant engineer, he rides a bike himself, as do his children. He just wishes cyclists would behave.
"We call cyclists the plague of the pavement," he said.
Mr le Dous, 56, a bearded, animated man, doesn't just complain about delinquent riders. As the head of the Danish Pedestrian Association, which he founded six years ago, he has dedicated his spare time to doing something about them.
Armed with a digital camera and a video recording device mounted on the dashboard of his car, he photographs cyclists who ignore traffic lights, go up one-way streets the wrong way or plough through pedestrian areas without dismounting, gathering material to present to the authorities to argue for stricter surveillance of cyclists.
Sometimes, he says, the results of rider misbehaviour can be fatal. "It happens occasionally that you'll have an older woman, not hit but surprised and frightened by a bike so that she falls and maybe even dies," he said.
In a nation dedicated to cycling, however, Mr le Dous has been fighting an uphill battle. The association now has only about 160 members, with a meagre annual budget of a little more than $1900.
"We don't mind cyclists," Mr le Dous said. "We mind people who don't respect the law."
Every day, 55 per cent of Copenhageners travel to work or school on a bike.They fill the broad bike lanes that abound in the Danish capital which has a population of 1.2 million.
Mr le Dous looks enviously at a group he sometimes considers his nemesis, the Danish Cyclists' Federation. Founded in 1905 and boasting 17,000 members, the federation wields the enormous clout in Denmark on matters of traffic that automobile associations have elsewhere.
Frits Bredal, 46, a former television journalist and the federation's spokesman, said it was aware of anger over cyclists, but "bicycles are not just nice and cute; they will be, and should be, a central part of Danish transport policy, local and national."
Bike safety has improved recently, he said, thanks to a range of measures, including wider bike paths and educational programs. "Last year, we had the lowest number of traffic accidents ever, including the lowest number of fatalities involving bicycles," Mr Bredal said.
Like many in Copenhagen, Natalia Privalova, 37, an office manager, has two bikes.
Cyclists respect pedestrians, she said, then tempered the assertion by adding, "when they follow the rules".
"Of course," she said, "rush hour is another story."
So we should see it from this point of view and ride accordingly.
If only everyone did the Right Thing™ we would not have any problems with any public facility. The problem is that enough people do not, so we do, ergo the current rules.
"It is getting much more common in inner sydney of late."
I think the situation must have got pretty bad and complaints were made to Marrickville Council recently as over the weekend I notied some "No Cycling" signs along the footpaths Addison Road.
Unfortunatley, due to the size and positioning of the signs (the big "No Cycling" symbol is attached to telephone poles and lamp posts and very visible from the road. The smaller text about riding on the footpath underneath being less clear) it might give some motorists the impression that bikes should not be allowed on that section road.
Whether he was an Indian or not is irrelevant, and including such a detail tends to suggest that you feel it was relevant, which smacks of racism.
Aside from that issue, I sympathise with your frustration in that situation.
Yes good political point, I guess it was just the only detail I remembered & hence identified him by. An Aussie could just as easily have miss-interpreted the sign & driven as badly.
I don't really consider racism much or bother trying to be "politically correct". But if you take a good look at my photo you'll see my wife is full blood Papua New Guinean.
Here in Qld bikes are allowed on all footpaths unless signposted otherwise such as in malls. It has NOT lead to a mass of ped complaints about bikes. In fact most complaints are received in the beachside areas on shared paths or very narrow bridges - not normal skinny footpaths.
Whenever you overtake a cyclist or a ped on or off road, simply call out "coming past on the right" in a nice tone so that people know you are coming and where to expect you so they don't jump the wrong way & into your path. It's better received than a bell which some people misintepret as meaning "get out of my way".
This was a loony article which was just filler and I didn't get too upset about it.
But the reason cyclists are always targeted is because we occupy a liminal zone, literally and metaphorically. We are neither one (walking) nor the other (driving). We can't be properly classified, and as we all know the rules are so ambiguous we can't be properly regulated either. Some of us enjoy this outlaw status, our behaviour reflects that and that muddies the picture further. Until we reach more critical mass I don't think this will change.
True. But I think this one (footpath riding) is in a small set of absolute musts, for going forward in NSW
BTW, I won't be there. I am in another subset, slight car-bullying tendencies.
But it is clear this is right and needed.
I do a ride in NZ each year and ended up signing up to email newsletter of CAN (Cycling Advocates' Network of New Zealand). Clearly they have very similar issues as faced by Australia. They are re-promoting a campaign about redlights. Interesting for comparison purposes, ideas, and impact.
The article in the SMH was just a short version of an article in NYT. I saw it in the montreal gazette on Sept 17.
The point is that the original article was more positive. I have a hard copy but it is not on the montrealgazzette site. It also has a better and very positive picture.
I really wonder why and how the SMH got it and altered it. Very strange. If our resident herald mate wants to see the original just ask. A slewth operation might give some interesting results!