Thursday, June 28, 2012

BeachRoadCyclingNoStoppingZones Does “a few” rogue or hoon cyclists really equal three? by Pete Dowe

The newspeak usage of the phrase “a few” is one of the ways in which the cycling community excuses and deliberately underestimates rogue or hoon cycling behaviour.
Hell Ride! How can CycleSport Victoria defend it?
The cycling community then argues that because of the behaviour of a only “a few” or “the few” cyclists (three?) nothing should be done in terms of cyclist identification, law enforcement, nor behaviour modification.
But are there really only 3 hoon or rogue cyclists in Melbourne that are also very busy boys, hard at it, breaking road rules day and night, working overtime in order to create “a perception” of a larger law breaking cyclist problem?
Or is the rogue cyclist element considerably larger than three cyclists?
Vic Roads estimate that 5% of cyclists are what they term a “catch me if you can” or hoon category, which will habitually, recklessly break all the road rules for cyclists including run red lights.
In a high volume cycling environment such as Beach Road on a Saturday where there are 10,000 cyclists, the “catch me if you can” hoon cyclist element would be 500 cyclists or 5% of 10,000, much more than “a few” or three hoon cyclists.

This type of “catch me if you can” hoon element is exemplified by the Hell Ride
Hell Ride Jan. 28th 2012
Ban Hell Ride!
Hell Ride! How can CycleSport Victoria defend it?

The Police submission to Coroner Graeme Johnstone’s Inquest into the Death of James Gould noted that enforcement measures were used over the years “to combat the problem (of rogue cycling), however the measures largely failed due to the number of riders, lack of identification, both personal and vehicular, and non cooperation” 

“The cyclists do not carry identification…There is no requirement for registration of bicycles, which would provide a means of identification” 

In relation to the Hell Ride: “The sheer number of (Hell) riders (up to 250) Hell Ride Jan 28th 2012 makes interception of individual offenders difficult” 

“Police solos are the only method of keeping up with and intercepting cyclists, but cars are required to back up the solos and provide a safe corridor” 
Victoria Police submission to Coroner Johnstone's inquest, op.cit.

nb A Senior Police Officer informed me that he believed red light running by cyclists on Beach Road on Saturdays could be eradicated by constant blitzing using five Police solo motorcycles and one Police car until the problem ceased.

“Talking about the Hell Ride and other regular weekly faster training rides on Beach Road. Racing on the road is not on, no matter who you are. Cyclists don’t like to see motor vehicles speeding on the road and the same applies to them.” Bicycle Victoria as previously stated on its website

“It is important that all cyclists riding in bunches on public roads...not race or treat the ride as a race and thus take unnecessary risks” CycleSport Victoria and Amy Gillett Foundation submission to Coroner Johnstone’s inquest into the death of James Gould.

But Hell Riders and other regular weekly faster training riders are not the only rogue cycling problem on Beach Road. Beach Road Cycling Problems, Preparation, Enforcement

Inexperienced, careless and unprepared riders present hazards for themselves and others on the road:
“Probably 80 to 90 per cent of cyclists that are on Beach Road today have a very low set of skills.” Marcel Lema, Beach Road Cyclists, Stateline 1/9/2006

“Beach Road bunch cycling requires more skill than just riding a bike. Inexperience with bunch cycling contributes to difficulty stopping at traffic signals, difficulty overtaking and non-compliant behaviour on the part of both motorists and cyclists. 

“Non-compliance recorded over the last 18 months Beach Road Mayhem One Accident too many

included racing on suburban roads, the running of red lights, the takeover of both lanes on Beach Road, the movement contrary to law over the middle line by motor vehicles, 
poor lighting and peloton sizes well over the code of conduct's Code of Conduct for Training Cyclists

To reiterate, 80-90 per cent of 10,000 riders or 8-9,000 poorly skilled bunch cyclists is much more than three cyclists or “a few” or even “the few”

It would appear that …”a large cohort of cyclists on Beach Road at weekends are males over the age of 30, who returned to cycling having not regularly cycled since adolescence.” *

“The evidence establishes that there can be difficulties, especially for inexperienced cyclists, in stopping safely when traffic lights are red, when they are riding in bunches.” * 

“Riding in bunches is an acquired skill which many cyclists returning to cycling do not possess.” *

“No formal training programs to develop bunch riding skills were found during this review (of bunch cycling)…and there are no minimum requirements for cyclists to achieve before riding on the road in a bunch.” Monash University Accident Research Centre

*CycleSport Victoria and Amy Gillett Foundation submission to Coroner Johnstone’s inquest into the death of James Gould.

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