Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Cycling Safety Cycling licences, route bans or better infrastructure? Inner West Courier Sydney May 13th 2014 Community Safety

Cycling licences, route bans or better infrastructure — what will it take to end cycling deaths on Sydney’s roads?

Marrickville resident and cyclist Alison Orme. Picture by Carly Earl
Marrickville resident and cyclist Alison Orme. Picture by Carly Earl Source: News Corp Australia
Could a licensing system save cyclists from dying on Sydney’s roads?
NSW Roads Minister Duncan Gay is convinced it could, but his suggestion that bike users be forced to hold a licence and even prevented from riding on some routes has outraged the cycling community.
So what is the solution? We spoke to Transport NSW, a cycling accident victim and a bike advocate to get the full story. Join the discussion and comment below and on the Inner West Courier Facebook page:
THE MINISTER: Licences, route restrictions
NSW Roads Minister Duncan Gay has raised the ire of the cycling community. Picture by Dam
NSW Roads Minister Duncan Gay has raised the ire of the cycling community. Picture by Damian Shaw Source: Supplied
Mr Gay opened a can of worms when he suggested that a licensing system and banning cyclists from some roads during busy periods could prevent cyclist deaths.
In total, seven people have died in NSW in cycling accidents in 2014, well above the average for this period.
A Transport for NSW spokeswoman said restricting bicycles from using certain roads could only be contemplated when alternative direct bicycle routes existed but that the department would investigate the bike licence plan.
“There are currently limited areas on the road network, such as in tunnels, where cyclists are not permitted to ride,” she said.
“The Minister for Roads and Freight has requested that Transport for NSW investigates the concept of licensing for bicycle riders. This will canvas experiences from other jurisdictions and internationally. Community and stakeholder consultation will be undertaken prior to any policy changes.”
THE VICTIM: More separate cycleways
Marrickville resident Alison Orme said better bicycle infrastructure was the answer. Pict
Marrickville resident Alison Orme said better bicycle infrastructure was the answer. Picture by Carly Earl Source: News Corp Australia
Marrickville bike enthusiast Alison Orme spent years cycling to and from her job in the city until she was hit by a car in January.
On a quiet Saturday morning, a motorist turned a corner and knocked the mother-of-three off her bike, leaving her with an injured wrist that has still not healed.
“I wasn’t doing anything wrong. I was brightly dressed and observing the road rules,” she said.
“It was more of an inconvenience for me compared to the recent fatalities but it has made me more aware of the potential impact of heavy metal cars on human flesh.
“I am still committed to cycling but it has also highlighted the need for more separated bike infrastructure.”
Ms Orme said Sydney should follow the lead of other bike-friendly, global cities such as London and Amsterdam and disagreed with Roads Minister Duncan Gay’s suggested licencing system for cyclists.
“The suggestion that cyclists should need a licence is very annoying because it distracts from the real issue, which is that we need better cycle infrastructure,” she said.
“World class cities are putting their money into bike systems to improve cycle safety … but unfortunately the State Government is trying to create antagonism between road users when we really should be able to travel harmoniously.”
THE ADVOCATE: Infrastructure, not registration
David Borella said Mr Gay’s comments were “misguided”. Picture by Danny Aarons
David Borella said Mr Gay’s comments were “misguided”. Picture by Danny Aarons Source: News Limited
BIKESydney president David Borella has slammed Mr Gay’s suggestions as “misguided” and “intentionally distracting” and questioned why Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian was absent from the conversation.
“Registration, licences and bans for cyclists just will not work. Everyone knows this. The rest of the world has already tried this,” he said.
“Cyclists are furious at Mr Gay’s consistent jocular and dismissive treatment of what’s happening at street level. Cyclists need safe, continuous off-road paths so that they don’t have to ride on these roads. Still, none exist despite all the talk.
“We need separated cycling infrastructure and safer road design that has a people-centric rather than vehicle-centric view.
“The simple idea is that you should count the number of people rather than the number of cars that are moved along a corridor.
“Already, the CBD cycleways are carrying more people than the roads next to them. This is according to the government’s own data-and the cycleway network isn’t even joined up yet.”


Comment by Pete Dowe

'Conspiracy of Silence'

VicRoads CrashStats recorded 24 fatal collisions involving cyclists in Victoria  

in which the cyclists were responsible for the crash during the 10 year period 2003- 2012.

Almost all of the deaths were caused by the rider failing to comply with the road rules.

22 deaths were cyclist fatalities which included 3 fatal collisions with other cyclists, and one death involving a Train.

Two pedestrians were also fatally injured by cyclists who failed to observe the road rules.

This data reaffirms the analysis in Bicycle Network Victoria's Report into Cycle Deaths in Victoria 2002.

The report concluded that cyclists who break the law are much more likely to be killed and seriously injured.

Cycling safety is both a behaviour and infrastructure issue.

The policy of cycling participation or 'any kind of cycling more often' sets no standard for cycling behaviour 

and deems any discussion of  cyclists' behaviour irrelevant.

i.e 'it doesn't matter how you cycle.' it only matters that you get 'on yer bike'.

It is argued that Any kind of cycling more often has been deemed to have health benefits through aerobic exercise re increased life span,

and that more infrastructure would allow more participation in cycling.

This single minded focus on infrastructure re cycling safety however dwells on motorist wrongdoing.

The terms of reference of the cycling participation policy are simply incentives/ disincentives to cycling participation, with motorist behaviour a disincentive.

The participation policy does not allow criticism of cycling behaviour.

As any criticism is also deemed a disincentive to cycling participation.

Knowledge of the risks involved in cycling so that one can engage in preventative risk reduction, 

or even make an informed choice as to whether one exercises/ travels on a bicycle, 

is also deemed a disincentive to cycling participation along the lines of 

"if you know the risks you may not take up cycling"

This policy of increased cycling participation has created a 'conspiracy of silence' 

in relation to tragic cycling accidents where the cyclist was responsible for the crash.

Instead of highlighting tragedies from carelessness as a community safety issue 

and saying "don't do this, you can get killed, or kill others"

The cycling participation policy says it doesn't matter how you cycle 

and that being subject to the law and law enforcement are a disincentive to cycling participation.

The cycling participation policy is ideologically unsound.

The conspiracy of silence re cycling fatalities where cyclists were responsible for the crash suggests no need for law enforcement.

The conspiracy of silence suggests that a cyclist can't hurt anyone and don't get themselves killed.

It would have you believe the big bad car apparently causes all cycling deaths and serious injuries.

The public believe the conspiracy of silence.

They have no choice.

 Political will to act on road safety is tied to community sentiment.

Why should the public not believe any kind of cycling is wonderful and even a morally superior activity?

Our Road Safety Authorities have remained silent.

Cycling has been outsourced to the vested interests and their memberships 

with the Road Safety Authorities taking little or no role in cycling.

Is it any wonder why unregulated cycling is a law unto itself?

Or that cycling is all just too hard to regulate?

And it is the cycling community who are victims of the cycling participation policy.

They did not create the conspiracy of silence.

They simply believe it.

Pete Dowe

Road Safety Advocate
May 14th 2014

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