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I_wanna_Shed
10th April 2010, 11:23 PM
I'm getting on a rant here.... and is probably only going to be read by cyclists here.

Unfortunately, in the news today is another death of a cyclist on the M5, who was run over by a truck while cycling in the breakdown lane. (The truck is apparently from the same company as another truck that killed a man who was pulled over in the breakdown lane on the M7 just weeks ago).

The M5 section where this tragedy occured has a wide breakdown lane, one I would consider plenty wide enough to cater for cyclists 2 wide, while keeping clear of traffic. Now, I would never ride along a main freeway, although for some reason I am (almost) comfortable riding down other roads with a 100kph limit with much, much less of a shoulder, but not even 1/20th of the volume of traffic. I guess I see this risk as being less.

I have just returned from a week in the Perth/Fremantle region. It seemed everywhere I drove, there were very well marked bike lanes on all major roads, or cycle ways off the road (like the M7). This, I believe, explained the amazing difference between the drivers' attitudes towards cyclists in Perth compared to Sydney.

Likewise, in Perth I didn't see one cyclist running a red light, riding between lanes at red traffic lights, and the usual bulls**t you see in Sydney. I only saw one cyclist riding the wrong way up a one way street, and that was a German tourist.

Now I don't want my comments here to reflect upon today's accident, but the cyclists' behaviour in Perth seemed way better than those in Sydney.

Sit in a Sydney CBD street for an hour and see exactly what I mean. Bicycle Couriers no doubt seem the worst. But then there are commuters riding in the left hand lane of a major road, riding two wide, doing 40kph in an 80 zone. Arguably, they may be within the law, but that doesn't mean its correct. Physics says mixing a puny bicycle with a car, bus or truck means the cyclist will come off second best. Although it may be legal, why put yourself in that large risk area? This scares the hell out of me when on a bike - why take the risk?

I know of cyclists who believe that they 'own the road'. They quote the laws that say they can do this and do that, but in my view they are bringing on their own troubles. Funnily enough, these cyslists seem to be on the receiving end of the most road rage from drivers. There are times when it is safest to take up the whole lane, and I do it when needed (eg: coming up to a small roundabout I ride in the middle of the lane. The first time I stuck to the left I nearly got cleaned up by a truck's trailer on the entrance to the roundabout when he went past me. In scenarios like this, delaying a motorist by 10 seconds means alot less than my life).

I guess my point is, all road users need to learn to share the road, give space to each other (the majority of car drivers don't even give enough space to other cars for goodness sake!). How do we achieve this? That's the billion dollar question. The first step should be changing drivers' and cyclists' attitudes (but again, how?).

I think Perth's solution of wide roads with clearly marked cycle lanes goes a very long way towards harmony on the roads.

Ok ok, rant off!

Nathan.

Carry Pine
11th April 2010, 07:00 PM
Nathan,

Great that you can have a rave and get it off your chest.
Reading the Herald over the last few months, it is pretty well accepted that Sydney drivers and riders have a 'mentality'. This is brought on by the frustration of being held up in traffic and taking incredible amounts of time to get to work each day. Fully agree with what you said about the couriers- I see it happen every time I'm in Sydney.

What amazes me is the number of accidents with trucks that run over cyclists in the break down lane. This happened on the M7 where one of our triathletes was killed.
On Southern Cross Drive, a car's gearbox accidently went into 'park' after passing some cyclists. Dare you to put your car into 'park' while driving along!

Being an 'old bu%$er' I guess I can understand a lapse of concentration and not being able to see a lone cyclist without a light, maybe looking into the sun. But some of these accidents involve many cyclists all done up in bright clothes, flashing lights etc. Maybe these drivers are on mobile phones or doped up? The Australian lady who died recently overseas was in a group of 60 that the car hit.

Even in Bowral, truckies insist on passing within 30cm (a foot) which scares the sh^%t out of me. I could reach out and touch the vehicle. Tradies love to come up behind and blast the horn while the apprentice yells at you through the passenger window.

I don't mean to hijack the thread, Nathan. I guess I share your frustration in not knowing how to remedy this problem.

Graham

opelblues
11th April 2010, 08:45 PM
Hey? is it a rant or is it pointing out the facts

My father hammered the road rules in to me as a kid and I never forgot; mind you I break them from time to time, as you can see I live in Mackay, Queensland.
One of the cities were the car dealers have removed the indicators from cars, trucks, motorbikes and vans - their a extra after you buy

Anyway here is a extract from the Transport Operations (Road Use ManagementóRoad Rules) Regulation 2009 - Queensland

Bicycle riders not to cause a traffic hazard
The rider of a bicycle must not cause a traffic hazard by moving into the path of a driver or pedestrian.

Travelling in or on a wheeled recreational device or toy on a road

(1) A person travelling in or on a wheeled recreational device or wheeled toy on a roadó
(a) must keep as far to the left side of the road as is practicable; and
(b) must not travel alongside more than 1 other pedestrian or vehicle travelling on road in the same direction as the person, unless the person is overtaking other pedestrians.

Can I overtake to the left?
Bicycles can overtake to the left of a vehicle unless:

the vehicle is signalling to turn left
it is unsafe to do so.
A cyclist must give way to a vehicle that is signalling to turn left and driving in front of the cyclist.
Section 141(2) of the Queensland Road Rules applies.
Can I ride across a crossing?
No. Cyclists are not permitted to ride across a road on a pedestrian crossing, children's crossing, or marked foot crossing. This includes pedestrian crossings situated at traffic lights.
Cyclists should dismount and wheel their bikes across the crossing.
Section 248 of the Queensland Road Rules applies.
Can I ride on a road or footpath?
Bicycles are permitted to travel on the road, and also footpaths in certain circumstances.
Cyclists must use a bicycle lane unless it is impractical to do so.
When riding on a footpath or shared path, the rider must keep to the left and must give way to any pedestrian on the path.
Cyclists must not ride on a footpath where there is a NO BICYCLES sign.
Local governments have laws that may override the above regulation.
Part 15 ó Additional Rules for Bicycle Riders in the Queensland Road Rules applies.

TP1
11th April 2010, 10:06 PM
I
I have just returned from a week in the Perth/Fremantle region. It seemed everywhere I drove, there were very well marked bike lanes on all major roads, or cycle ways off the road (like the M7). This, I believe, explained the amazing difference between the drivers' attitudes towards cyclists in Perth compared to Sydney.

Likewise, in Perth I didn't see one cyclist running a red light, riding between lanes at red traffic lights, and the usual bulls**t you see in Sydney. I only saw one cyclist riding the wrong way up a one way street, and that was a German tourist.


Nathan.

The authorities need to recognise that bicycle users are here to stay and their numbers are increasing. They must be accommodated in the road designs to promote safety and to encourage more people to exercise.

However, the best systems don't guarantee respect by the bicycle users. Where I live in Perth, there are cycle ways which are simply not used by the bicycle "jocks". This is because they think they can go faster on the main roads. Of course the faster they go, the harder they fall.

TP1
11th April 2010, 10:16 PM
Nathan,


Being an 'old bu%' I guess I can understand a lapse of concentration and not being able to see a lone cyclist without a light, maybe looking into the sun. But some of these accidents involve many cyclists all done up in bright clothes, flashing lights etc.

Even in Bowral, truckies insist on passing within 30cm (a foot) which scares the sh^%t out of me. I could reach out and touch the vehicle.

Graham

It isn't just bicycles, the drivers attitude extends to motor cycles and any vehicle smaller than theirs. It is a tragic fact that if you ride a motor scooter for example, you will not be noticed by many drivers and when you are, you will not be treated as a road user with equal rights. A mate of mine has a scooter and a Harley Davidson. He says people cut him off all the time on the scooter, and he was rear ended by a car once. With the Harley, they mistake him for a bikie, and only then give him the respect he needs on the roads.

nihilism
11th April 2010, 10:29 PM
We do have the bicycle couriers with a death wish in perth. I've even witnessted on two seperate occasions bicycle couriers avaiding the police because they know they've broken the law.

In WA it is illegal to ride on the freeway and there is a cycleway nearby. I haven't seen anyone try riding on the freeway. I have seen cyclists riding over a bridge near my house which is clearly sign posted no pedestrians or cyclists. There is a pedestrian footpath on the other side of the railing.

haggismuncher
11th April 2010, 10:52 PM
About 6 years ago I emigrated to Australia by bike, yes all 22,00km of the journey from Scotland. 23 countries, 3 deserts, The Alps, The Himalayas, Landslides, 2 war zones, SARS, elephants on the road, danger of tiger attacks, blah, blah , blah

And by far the worst place to cycle was urban Australia. The open hostility and agression was really frightening. Remember, I am including Iran where the National Roadtoll tops 100,000 per year and navy blue headlights are the norm. It also includes Holland where bikes are given right of way at roundabouts.

Most people with common sense agree that we should be encouraging cycling.

But bike lanes in the UK and Australia are pretty much a joke in most cities, they start and then they stop 50m later. In North London I once cycled 3km and used 20 different bike lanes. The national cycle body runs a photo comp for the most stupid cycle path, my favourite ended with a power pole slap bang in the middle.Take Hobart, there is a huge bridge to get from one side to the other. A flight of stairs at one end and huge metal boxes jutting out into the 1m wide cyclepath.

Strangely, only in Australia do people get upset by cyclists going down the lanes of traffic in a jam, London and Paris would grind to a standstill if they all sat patiently breathing in CO and sitting at the back of the queue. Only in Australia and New Zealand do cyclists have to wear a helmet, can you imagine the uproar if it was suggested that car drivers did the same?

Perhaps the problem isn't our view of cars/bikes but much deeper in our collective pschycology.

Chris

TP1
11th April 2010, 11:36 PM
And by far the worst place to cycle was urban Australia. The open hostility and agression was really frightening. Remember, I am including Iran where the National Roadtoll tops 100,000 per year and navy blue headlights are the norm. It also includes Holland where bikes are given right of way at roundabouts.


Chris

Its not all the motorists fault, but I agree as Aussies we need to change our attitudes. The thing is, very few people ride bikes here through necessity, as the do in Europe and Asia. Traditionally, people riding on Aussie roads are often doing it as training for some event, to beat their previous record for whatever, or are simply riding hard for exercise. As a result their attitudes tend to be a much more aggressive than say kids riding to school.

Add to that the risks taken by cyclists in weaving in and out of traffic and getting the occasional "tow" from vehicles, and you have a number of drivers being put offside in the first instance.

Dont get me wrong, I would love a society that used bicycles, mopeds and scooters much more - like in parts of Europe. To have that however, we need to get a broader spectrum of people on the road. Having said that, there was a distinct decline in bicycle usage following the introduction of the compulsory use of helmets. I know its controversial, but we will not get many more people on their bikes with that law still in place

Cruzi
15th April 2010, 09:30 AM
We have many, many cyclists here, there are good, bad and plain ignorant ones.

There is enough paths here to do a 65 odd km lap on dedicated cycle paths, there is more but we have not explored that far yet. We ride on them at least 3-4 times a week. Every time whilst we are riding these paths, there are still cyclists on the thin single lane road slowing traffic and often give the finger when I point out where the cycling lane is.

There are also cyclists that use the winding, undulating to hilly roads, most are pretty good they keep left, wave you around when they can see further up the road than you, but there are others that sit 3-4 wide and refuse to make room at any time.

There are also cycle groups that go in big group rides, got caught behind a bunch one day for 25k's in a 100k zone, they were spread over 5-600m without gaps for a car to slot into, to eventually overtake them, it took nearly 2k's of straight road, they had turned a 30 min drive into an hr. That road has no shoulders, blind corners and very limited overtaking, in a twist, a lady was killed late last year overtaking a group of cyclists on that road, had a head-on with a tipper.

There are also ignorant road users, cutting close to them, tail gating them etc, etc.

But if you are getting abused all the time, the only thing in common between you and the abusers, is you.

Luddite
15th April 2010, 09:46 PM
Hello all.

Interesting thread. I did not want to let it past without a comment.

I am 45 years old and have riden for fitness and raced since I was 23, so I have a few miles under my wheels.

I am every day more and more annoyed by the incredible stupidity of a minority of cyclists. I drive and ride in Sydney and continually scratch my head at the rubbish some cyclists do. Why does a cyclist think he can go through red light? Why does he think it is Ok to ride up footpaths and then skip back on the road to slow down the cars and trucks that had carefully passed him on roads made way too small for sharing? Why, beacuse there are heaps of transient cyclist wankers trying to asert some of their misplaced authority on the community. He wants to break as many rules as he can, then shouts at motorists to respect him as a road user.....what a donkey.

It outrages me that I follow the road rules and then get abused by the other lunatic minority that drive cars. Why? Beacuse they think I am the goose that rides through red lights and hops footpaths.

I wish the police would throw the book at cyclists doing the wrong thing, it makes my recreation time so much harder and frankly it frustrates motorists by slowing them down.....Sydney is too slow already.

Oh, and finally, if you live in the west or north west, get on the cycle way alongside the M7. Great piece of work. There should more places like it.

Anthony

corbs
17th April 2010, 12:15 AM
There are idiots on both sides of the fence. Australia's attitude towards riders as a whole needs to change though. I have had some awesome experiences with car drivers but these are generally the exception rather than the rule. At all times when I'm on the bike I'm also keeping an eye out for another idiot that wants to kill me. I have been on the bonnet of cars a couple of times, both were when the car tried to get past me prior to turning left and didn't make it (didn't stop them from turning left though:-).

As a bike rider I would love to shove a stick through the spokes of pretty much every bike courier (at speed). The damage they have done to the image of bike riders is hard to undo.

billbeee
17th April 2010, 09:25 AM
I agree with Chris, (haggismuncher)
I've ridden plenty in the UK and Europe and all over S.E.Asia. Give me riding in Saigon city centre in the middle of the day than riding on any of our major roads.
By far the worst drivers I have ever come across in relation to their attitudes to cyclists are the Aussies. I guess it stems from the fact that the last two or three generations have been brought up owning cars from their teenage years. When listening to the average Aussie driver talking about cyclists it is almost as though they see us as a lower life form.
Still, what else can you expect from the home of "Vee Eight SuperCar Racing" and the rev head culture.

I've even had ferals on a rural road chuck full beer bottles at me. (and I didn't have a high enough gear ratio to catch the shitheads!). :)

Cheers
Bill

Luddite
17th April 2010, 09:33 AM
I've even had ferals on a rural road chuck full beer bottles at me. (and I didn't have a high enough gear ratio to catch the shitheads!). :)

Cheers
Bill

That proves your point, doesn't it? What sort of lunatic throws full bottles of beer!

Seriously though, I agree with your comments....car culture frowns upon the cyclist, however some of the turkeys on bikes make it easy to be disliked. It is a catch 22 situation. Lots of wrong on both sides.

Anthony

I_wanna_Shed
17th April 2010, 09:50 AM
I've been reading this with interest.

I think most people have also summed up very well what I was trying to get across. From these posts, everyone has the correct cyclist attitude, which would also reflect the 95% of cyclists in the country (courier cyclists have been left out of that made-up stat, I don't want them to skew the stats too much!).

Drivers' attitudes in Australia do seem different from the world, and like has been said, this would be due to the culture of owning big cars since your teens, and driving everywhere (from across the country to a quick dash down the shops). This makes any lesser form of travel unthinkable (including public transport).

I've noticed that around here, if an idiot does something to you on the road its only a matter of time until you ride past their house with their car in the drive. Other cyclists have said they report the car rego to the police, which they actually do follow up on. But with people who already have this mentality, I think it would only stir them up and result in them hassling cyclists more :doh:.

To stir the pot, I find the worst culprits P platers, and I hate to say it, ute drivers or tradesmen. I know stereotypes shouldn't be spoken about, after all, when I'm driving, I'm one of the 'bogans' in a V8 Commodore who go to the V8Supercar races :B. So whether that is true or not is debatable.

Thanks for your comments,
Nathan.

TP1
17th April 2010, 12:46 PM
I

To stir the pot, I find the worst culprits P platers, and I hate to say it, ute drivers or tradesmen. I know stereotypes shouldn't be spoken about, after all, when I'm driving, I'm one of the 'bogans' in a V8 Commodore who go to the V8Supercar races :B. So whether that is true or not is debatable.

Thanks for your comments,
Nathan.

As decent people go, Aussies are no worse than others and probably better than many. However, the issue with bicyclists isn't really about how Aussie drivers perceive bicycles - its how they are only trained in and have experience with cars. Cars is all they know and its the norm. Its not like other countries where there are a host of motorcycles, scooters, mopeds and bicycles for every day commuting. Anything else is foreign to most Aussies which explains why they are not on the lookout for bicyclists and do not know how to react when they eventually do see them.

Believe me, its not specifically bicycles that Aussie motorists do not know how to handle. Borrow a 50cc scooter ( no special licence needed) and ride it on the roads and you will suddenly become invisible to many because you are not in a car.

Therefore, until we use more 2 wheel alternatives than just bicycles, and use them genuinely for commuting (not primarily for training or exercise ), I doubt that attitudes of the masses will be able to change.

Oh, and the references to Saigon proves my point - over there two wheel travel is a necessity for those who do it and it is accepted as such by the rest of the road users.

rustguard
6th June 2010, 04:24 PM
Its funny how many people like to blame negative motorist attitudes on the minority of cyclists who run red lights and bike couriers. 95% of motorist would never have anything to do with a bike couriers as they are mostly in the cbd's of citys. this is especially true for 'tradies and bogans in commodores' who are often the worst ofenders when it comes to aggression and poor driving against bikes.
the whole cyclists have no respect for the road rules is a red herring thrown up by motorist to justify their irrational hatred of cyclist traffic.
the real reason they hate cyclists is because they are forced to slow down a bit and move over in the lane. They are unable to blame all the cars on the road for the traffic congestion as that would be blaming themselves. hence the cyclist is the perfect scape goat who even though there are hundreds of thousands of cars jamming up the streets and delaying cars journeys by an hour often they love too abuse the cyclist for making them slow down and loose 4 seconds off their journey; And as they sit for 4 minutes at the traffic lights just up the road stuck on the red because there are so many cars going through the intersection, all they can think of is the dam cyclist who slowed them down for 4 seconds, who has now caught up and is legally filtering past them on the left hand side. Those Mongrel cyclist who are lawbreaking bike couriers shouldnt be allowed on the road cause they hold up the traffic!!!!
I'll add anther group to the bike hazzard list-
Housewives in big 4WD's

nihilism
7th June 2010, 03:19 AM
Since someone decided to open up that can of worms, I am a "tradie", I drive a ute, it's full of tools and has ladders on the roof. I also do a lot of work in the cbd and i do a lot of km every year (one year doing service work i did 40000km).
I see a lot of people doing stupid things on the road, i like to think this makes me a better driver, i don't want to drop down to their level.
What really iritates me is all the "office" people i see driving into and around the city in peak hour, filling up all the carparks, just because they're too good to catch public transport. I wish i could take public transport but people get upset when you get on the train or free CAT bus with a 3m set of steps and a 20kg bag of tools. Instead i have to park up to 2km away from where i'm actually working and push a trolley down the footpath full of tools and dodge all the pedestrians that are too busy sending an sms while they're walking to avoid my 3m steps.
Don't even get me started on bicycle couriers, in Perth not only do they run red lights and break the law, they avaid the police when signaled to stop by heading up malls and laneways.
Why do they need to make the ceilings in office buildings so bloody high anyway?...