Saturday, November 26, 2011

A network of safe cycling routes is needed across Melbourne.

The tragic death of James Cross while cycling (Age 26/11) highlights the urgent need for a safe cycling network across Melbourne.

Improved driver education and a statutory one-metre distance between cars and bikes would help reduce "dooring" and other car-bicycle impacts.

However, many people don't use bikes for local trips and travelling to the city because they don't feel safe on our roads, even if they have rudimentary bike lanes on them.

Building dedicated cycling routes and separating bicycle lanes from cars would encourage many people to cycle who otherwise wouldn't and would greatly improve safety for those who already do.

We need a network of bicycle routes across Melbourne with safe separation between bicycles and cars.

We also need "strict liability" - an automatic assumption in law that responsibility rests with the less vulnerable road user. This is widely implemented in Europe, and means that responsibility for road accidents cascades down the chain from trucks to pedestrians. E.g. trucks -> cars -> bicyles -> pedestrians.



gaby jung said...

so true, I would be cycling at least local if it would be safe

gaby jung said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Grant said...

The big problem with the 1 meter distance between motor vehicles and bikes is that most of our roads just are not wide enough for this to take place. On many major roads there is not even room for a bicycle lane to be added. For example in the SE suburbs, Nepean Hwy is battling to be able to handle traffic it currently carries (there is a purpose built bike track along the outer grass verge, but rarely used by cyclists) and there definitely not room to give 1 meter clearance between vehicles and bicycles. This is even made more a problem with large trucks having to use left lane. Beach Rd is also a problem, with bicycles at times having to use the left lane, resulting in a number of accidents each year. As for giving cyclist priority, it is virtually impossible for a vehicle driver to avoid hitting a cyclist if there is a threat of 2 vehicles colliding. A drivers brain will automatically aim for the smaller object (cyclist) to try to avoid an accident. I was informed of this by Police after being bowled off a motor cycle.
In my view the only solution is to keep bicycles to minor roads where fast moving vehicles are less likely to be driving. This was the general rule taken by State Govs in the 60's and 70's to reduce accidents between bicycles and motor vehicles (remember a 150kg of bicycle and rider will never win an argument with 1500kg+ motor vehicle).
Anyway after trying to ride on suburban roads barely able to carry 2 lanes of traffic at times, my bicycle is retired in the garage.