Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Cycling Code of Conduct for Training Cyclists Comments by Pete Dowe

Marcel Lema, of Beach Road Cyclists claims to be first with the voluntary Code of Conduct for Training Cyclists.

The Code calls for bunches no larger than 20.

Yet “Burridge, Lajbcygier and Marcel Lema argued to Bayside Council (2003) that any restrictions in (bunch) size should result in the acknowledgement that a bunch ride is a single vehicle and it should then be afforded the same rights on the road as a truck.”

“The obvious counterargument leads to bunch riders accepting the responsibilities of a truck including registration and licensing” Monash University Accident Research Centre (MUARC)

The Code was also cited by CycleSport Victoria President Klaus Mueller as a genuine response to the Death of elderly Mentone pedestrian, James Gould.

Yet in relation to the Code’s maximum bunch size of 20,
CycleSport Victoria President Klaus Mueller submitted to State Coroner Johnstone in his Inquest into the Death of James Gould that:

“Cyclists are constantly joining up with others and riding in bunches albeit that there is no arrangement to do so.
In other words
restricting or regulating the size of a bunch is a practical impossibility.”

CycleSport Victoria also told the Coroner “…it is important that all cyclists riding in bunches on public roads act in a way so that the bunch itself can operate safely by:
13.2 not racing or treating the ride as a race and thus take
unnecessary risks”

Yet the Code of Conduct for Training Cyclists allows
Racing by not proscribing it.
Racing is not mentioned at all.

I am not alone in believing the Code allows racing.

Sgt Arty Lavos of the Police, State Bicycle Co-ordination Unit who also had a hand in the drafting of the Code stated in The Mordialloc Chelsea Leader 31/12/07,
"In the past few years, the popularity of competitive cycling among more competent riders on roadways such as Beach Road has increased significantly"

Bicycle Victoria have plans to close Beach Road to all but local traffic.
Removing vehicle traffic seems a technical way of getting around the Coroner’s assessment that racing was inappropriate for public roads.

Origins of the No Stopping Zones proposal

The No Stopping Zones proposal on Beach Rd 6am—10am Weekends (aka Route 33 or the Clearway) was first floated to Bayside City Council by Beach Road Cyclists spokesman, Marcel Lema, in 2003.

“The (Burridge, Lajbcygier and (Marcel) Lema) report focussed on the importance of Bunch cycling from the perspective of a cyclist and the recommendations reflect only the interests of this group. “

“The authors Burridge, Lajbcygier and (Marcel) Lema, Draft response to Bayside City Council Bicycle Strategy 2003, concluded that the Bayside City Council had a “duty of care” to establish a safe cycling environment.

“The (Burridge, Lajbcygier and Marcel Lema) recommendations did not suggest that any modifications could be made to individual or collective bunch riding behaviour nor did they address the responsibilities of bunch riders with regard to their interaction with other road users.” Monash University Accident Research Centre (MUARC) Jan. 2009

“The size of a bunch may impact its safe stopping distance, speed and space the bunch occupies on the road.” MUARC

“Further research is needed to determine these characteristics and evaluate if there is a need to limit the size of bunches to improve the safety of both cyclists and other road users” MUARC

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