Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Cycling Curbing the road wars between motorists and cyclists Susie O'brien Herald Sun JULY 01, 2014




Curbing the road wars between motorists and cyclists

Both motorists and cyclists have a duty of care.
Both motorists and cyclists have a duty of care.
I DRIVE and I vote.
The State Government doesn’t need to survey the public to find out what changes are needed to cycling-related road rules.
They just need to drive around and see what’s really going on.
They’ll see frustrated drivers who block cyclists, cut them off or open their doors in front of them.
They will also see cyclists who ride dangerously and disregard road rules.
With dozens of cyclists dying annually around the country, and thousands more injured, it’s clear we need urgent action to make roads safer. But cyclists must play their part.
For a start, the days of the anonymous cyclist must end. If every driver and motorcyclist needs to be identified via a licence plate, why should bikes be treated differently?
Since 2001, cyclists have been liable to the same on-the-spot fines as motorists for failing to obey traffic lights and stop signs. But if cyclists can’t be identified by red light cameras, what’s the point?
I’ll bet we’d see some very different behaviour by cyclists if they were more accountable.
Garry Brennan from Bicycle Network says laws must respond to the influx of cyclists, and there is a duty of care on motorists to be more careful.
But there is also a duty of care on cyclists.
This means cyclists must stop weaving in and out of traffic, crossing against the lights and holding up entire lanes of cars.
Not only does such behaviour put riders and drivers at risk, it breeds the contempt for cyclists which can be deadly.
I also do not want the pendulum to swing too far in favour of cyclists.
For instance, we should identify major routes that can safely accommodate riders via extra lanes and paths.
Some could have lower speed limits and be integrated with off-road bike paths.
But there are currently proposals around for the entire CBD to be zoned 40km/h just to make it safer for cyclists.
Surely this is too far. Unless cyclists own a car they don’t contribute as much to the cost of roads, so it’s hard to justify redesigning the entire system around their needs.
It is a bit rich for a minority of road users to want to change what the majority do. In any case, council figures show there has been a reduction — not an increase — in the accident rates of cyclists in the City of Melbourne.
Interestingly, a recent Monash University study found nine out of 10 cycling accidents were caused by drivers, not riders. Dooring in particular is a growing problem.
However, I’d argue that it’s too simplistic to just blame all drivers. Sometimes riders are unpredictable, may be breaking road rules, or may be difficult to see. This all contributes to the likelihood of accidents happening.
Bikes are supposed to have a white front light and a rear red light visible to 200m and a red reflector visible to at least 50m. Dozens of bikes I see every day are breaking these rules. Cyclists are also increasingly mounting cameras on bikes that can be used to capture vision of an accident. But there is usually no corresponding camera capturing the behaviour of the cyclist.
There are other anomalies that a law review should address: why should riders be able to ride two abreast unless they are going the same speed as the traffic? Cyclists should also be required by law to use the bicycle lane if there is one.
And why aren’t all bikes forced to have side mirrors?
Cycling groups want the law changed to ensure cars leave a metre when overtaking a bike.
This might be good for the cyclist, but what about drivers?
As a driver who often uses roads frequented by cyclists, I feel unsafe when I have to veer into the next lane to go around a rider. A one-metre rule would just make this more of a problem.
Sitting behind a rider usually isn’t an option because they are going so much slower than the traffic around them.
While we are on the topic of speed, cyclists should be required to work harder to match the speed of the majority of road users — the cars around them.
It is dangerous to go speeding through slow traffic, or be dawdling through fast traffic.
Ultimately, I welcome the fact that commuter cycling has increased by 35 per cent in the past five years.
This is a good thing.
But cyclists — and not just drivers — need to do more to make the roads safe for all of us.
Debate with Susie via Facebook, Twitter and blog at Susieobrien.com.au
Originally published as Time to curb the road wars




http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/opinion/curbing-the-road-wars-between-motorists-and-cyclists/story-fni0fhie-1226972815062?login=1




Including the Road Rules for Cyclists on the Learners Permit Test for Drivers would

"increase awareness of Road Rules relating to Cycling"






Learners Permit Road Rules Test



by Pete Dowe



The Victorian Learners Permit Test for Drivers could also become
a non compulsory test on the road rules for Cyclists

by adding just approx. seventeen additional Road Rules for Bicycle Riders to the test.

This would make the Learners Permit test comprehensive.

“Most rules in the Road Rules apply to bicycle riders in the same way

as they apply to drivers—

There are some other rules that are for bicycle riders only,

 or that have exceptions for bicycle riders.”

ADDITIONAL RULES FOR BICYCLE RIDERS Road Rules Victoria 1999, Victorian Government Gazette

If these additional 17 Road Rules that apply to Cyclists were included in the Learners Permit,
it would heighten Drivers’ awareness of cyclists, cycling, and Sharing the Road.
Vic Roads encourages motorists to cycle by being a ‘green driver’.

Further evidence also suggests that most Cyclists are also Motorists.
Bicycle Network Victoria claims that most of its members are also motorists.

Learners Permit Testing with the additional Road Rules for Cyclists
would therefore also heighten awareness to Cyclists of the Road Rules and increase
cyclists’ road rule compliance, particularly with those transitioning from driving to cycling.

Rules and Responsibilities

Sharing the road with cyclists

“- they have the same rights and responsibilities as you ”
P 135 Road to Solo Driving handbook Part 4 Vic Roads

Sharing the Road Safely
Tip
“Cooperative Driving helps you to be a ‘green driver’ ”... “Even better leave the car at home and walk, ride your bike or use public transport!”

P 125 Road to Solo Driving handbook Part 4 Vic Roads

As previously stated, the Learners Permit for Drivers could also become a non compulsory test on the road rules for Cyclists.

Many in the community desire testing on the Road Rules for Cyclists.

Heightened awareness of the Road Rules for Cyclists would also lead to increased cyclists’ compliance with the Road Rules.

For instance Road Rule 250. Riding on a footpath or shared path states:  

Cyclists must give way to pedestrians on a shared path.

“give way means the rider must slow down and, if necessary, stop to avoid a collision”

ADDITIONAL RULES FOR BICYCLE RIDERS Road Rules Victoria 1999, Victorian Government Gazette

 “Cyclists come quickly riding up behind you and do not ring their bells.

On the day before yesterday I was just opposite the emergency entrance of St Vincent's Hospital 

when an elderly lady was walking in the opposite direction.

We were both passed by a bike.” 

She looked at me and said, 'Isn't it frightening? They are going to hit somebody'." 
Hon Terry Mulder MP Shadow Minister for Roads
Hansard May 5th 2009

The widespread behaviour of speeding cyclists on shared paths would suggest that many are unaware of their responsibilities, not simply non-compliant.

In relation to cyclists ringing their bells, cyclists are not required by law to warn pedestrians on approach.

Cyclists are however legally required to have a warning device.

“Bike Bells Law”
Road Rule 258. Equipment on a bicycle

A person must not ride a bicycle that does not have—

(a) at least 1 effective brake; and

(b) a bell, horn, or similar warning device, in working order.

ADDITIONAL RULES FOR BICYCLE RIDERS Road Rules Victoria 1999, Victorian Government Gazette

Meaning. “You can’t ring your bell if you ain’t got one”

Conversely “You can ring your bell if you do”

Anecdotally many cyclists also appear unaware of their responsibility to have a bell or warning device.

Cyclists have told me the reason they didn’t ring their bell was that they didn’t have one.

Nor do many cyclists realise the importance to pedestrians of warning on approach
and giving way.

“...pedestrians may be frightened or even on occasion knocked. But where is the evidence that they are being seriously injured or killed?”

Julia Blunden, Hawthorn
Progress Leader circa August 2012

Whilst ignorance is no excuse, cyclists cannot readily comply with the road rules
if they are not required to learn them and remain ignorant of their responsibilities.

A final case in point is the “Bike Lights Law” unfortunately titled Riding at Night
as it also applies to hazardous weather conditions causing reduced visibility”

Many cyclists appear unaware that they must have a set of lights which are clearly visible for at least 200 metres from the front (and rear) of the bicycle

Road Rule 259. Riding at night

The rider of a bicycle must not ride at night, or in hazardous weather
conditions causing reduced visibility, unless the bicycle, or the rider,
displays—

(a) a flashing or steady white light that is clearly visible for at least
200 metres from the front of the bicycle; and

(b) a flashing or steady red light that is clearly visible for at least
200 metres from the rear of the bicycle; and

(c) a red reflector that is clearly visible for at least 50 metres from the rear
of the bicycle when light is projected onto it by a vehicle’s headlight on low-beam.

Note Low-beam and night are defined in the dictionary.
ADDITIONAL RULES FOR BICYCLE RIDERS Road Rules Victoria 1999, Victorian Government Gazette

The Learners Permit is also reliable photo ID for purposes of identification.

There would also be no extra cost to the Learners Permit Test and it has existing administration



Objective

It would heighten awareness to drivers of cyclists, cycling, and Sharing the Road.




Pete Dowe



Road Rule 250. Riding on a footpath or shared path

(1) The rider of a bicycle who is 12 years old or older must not ride on a footpath.

 (2) Subrule (1) does not apply to a rider in the circumstances specified by the
Corporation by notice published in the Government Gazette.
Note Footpath is defined in the dictionary.

(3) The rider of a bicycle riding on a footpath or shared path must—
(a) keep to the left of the footpath or shared path unless it is impracticable
to do so; and

(b) give way to any pedestrian on the footpath or shared path.

Note 1 Pedestrian is defined in rule 18, and shared path is defined in rule 242.

Note 2 For subrule (2), give way means the rider must slow down and, if necessary, stop to

avoid a collision—see the definition in the dictionary.

(4) In this rule—
footpath does not include a separated footpath.
Note Separated footpath is defined in rule 239.

ADDITIONAL RULES FOR BICYCLE RIDERS Road Rules Victoria 1999, Victorian Government Gazette



http://petedoweroadsafetyadvocate.blogspot.com.au/2014/07/cycling-road-rules-review-vicroads.html

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