Bike group wants special path for commuter cyclists
Published in the Indaily of Thursday 15-Nov-2012 on page 2.
A cycling lobby group has had talks with the State Government about creating a bike-only path in Linear Park.
The talks come after road safety research showed a dedicated bike lane on a main road was the safest place for cyclists.
The study, conducted by The George Institute for Global Health, raises doubts about the safety of cycling on shared paths and pedestrian areas where it says most crashes and injuries occur.
The research supports local calls for dedicated cyclist-only pathways in Adelaide.
“In Australia, cyclists represent almost 15 per cent of all road casualties. Our study shows that the riding environment plays a major role in cycle safety,” the institute’s research fellow Liz de Rome said.
“There were relatively few crashes in cycle-only lanes compared with traffic-shared paths.
“The crashes on shared paths are of particular concern as they resulted in more serious injuries and a substantial proportion involved pedestrians (16 per cent) and other cyclists (23 per cent).”
The research backs up moves by bike lobby group BikeSA for a dedicated “cyclists only” path along Adelaide’s Torrens Linear Park.
“We’ve been having discussions with State Government planners about upgrading the Linear Park infrastructure to include a dedicated cycle path for those many cyclists who commute along that path,” BikeSA CEO Christian Haag told Indaily.
“As a shared path, there is conflict between recreational walkers, recreational cyclists and the more competent regular cyclists who are going at a faster speed.”
Haag said the discussions had been generated as part of the 5000+ initiative run by the Integrated Design Commission.
“The research you mention adds to a body of work that finds complete separation is the best place for cyclists,” he said.
The George Institute researchers set out to identify the factors associated with bicycle crashes in different environments and to investigate the type and severity of injuries associated with the clothing worn.
Interviews were conducted with 313 cyclists who presented to hospital with cycling crash injuries.
The study was conducted in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), which has the highest cycling participation rate in Australia.
Cycling has become increasing popular in Australia over the last few years, with participation increasing by up to 40 per cent between 2000-2008.
The report finds there has also been a substantial increase (47 per cent) in serious injury numbers.
“Around 60 per cent of cyclists involved in the study endured minor injuries such as soft tissue damage, but a high proportion suffered from fractures (43 per cent) and almost one in four sustained a head injury.
“Shoulders and knees were the most injured body parts.
“Those wearing shorts were three times more likely to be injured compared those with long pants.
“The average out of pocket cost of a crash to cyclists was found to be $1000.”
“We believe this study provides strong evidence on ways in which road authorities and cyclists can reduce the number of crashes and the severity of injuries,” de Rome said.
“In particular the role of exclusive bicycle lanes cannot be underestimated when considering cyclist safety. Cycle clothing is additionally important and full body coverage should be promoted as an essential safety precaution.”
Haag said governments and councils around Australia were only just coming to terms with the broader need to improve cyclist safety.
“Governments talk about plans to increase the number of cyclists, but you can’t do that without addressing the safety requirements that come with increased use and patronage.
“Linear Park is a classic example.
“It was designed and built decades ago.
“It’s now a very busy area and in some places is in very poor condition.”
I'm not convinced that making a cycle only path between the City and Athelstone (or TTP) is going to increase either pedestrian or cycling patronage in Linear Park.
A better option would be to install a few signs periodically explaining a 'code of practise' or similar.
I'd much much rather the money be spent on paths in areas where paths don't currently exist, particularly separated cycle paths along major roads.
On a shared path I run the real risk of being delayed by sensibly avoiding hazardous pedestrians and dogs. Gasp!!! I'd rather brave B doubles!!! (Not.)
So yeah, ride any path like there's a hazard around every bend and you'll avoid collisions and injury. I don't wish for the unattainable (at least in SA in the near future) of cyclist-only bike paths in a public park.
Now if the Guvmint planned some more elevated superways and put dedicated cycle roads underneath, in the shade and shelter, I could approve that...
"Those wearing shorts were three times more likely to be injured compared those with long pants."
I'm thinking there could be an interesting study into cause & effect here...
"Cycle clothing is additionally important and full body coverage should be promoted as an essential safety precaution"
What on earth does "full body coverage" mean? Perhaps she is proposing that road cyclists should wear MTB body armour?
Liz de Rome says she is a "Motorcycle safety researcher". Perhaps she is unaware of the differences between pedal cycling and motor cycling?
On the positive side, perhaps having to wear knee pads and spine protectors would finally allow something to eclipse the helmet-discussion-thread-that-never-ends.
On the bicycle-only linear park bike path: I wonder if they are actually proposing a bicycle-only LANE on the bike path. That might help a little bit, but generally I don't think a bike-only path is a good idea there.
Have we seriously run out of bike related projects to invest resources into? Bit of a waste of time, effort and money! it is already a great place to ride . Besides walkers wont keep of bike only paths and dogs cant read. Share and share alike (with a level head and wee splash of commonsense).
All for off road trails/ paths for commuter or recreational use, but making them wider so that there is not the conflict with pedestrians or other users is not the solution. Just need some education on the etiquette of using a shared path. Separating users out only raises the expectation that we are not allowed elsewhere.
Standard traffic lanes do not stipulate who can travel in vehicles in them, so why should it vary for off road situations.
The Bicentennial Bikeway in Brisbane, Qld, is a long wide two-lane bicycle path with pedestrian path along the Brisbane River. To view an image, go to www.nearmap.com and search for Tank Street, Brisbane, Queensland, then move towards left of screen and the Brisbane River.
Brisbane's inner Western arterial bikeway, connecting the Western Freeway bikeway at Toowong in to the CBD
The Bicentennial Bikeway is being upgraded in stages, from a generally 3.0-3.5 metre wide shared path to a generally 3.5 metre wide dedicated bike path with a separate 2.0 metre wide pedestrian path. Although this will be of great benefit cyclists in the long term, the construction will cause some inconvenience.
Bicentennial bikeway upgrade
The Bicentennial bikeway is Brisbane city’s busiest shared pathway and an important cycle and pedestrian link in the active transport network. Running along the Brisbane River and connecting the CBD to Toowong, each day it carries more than 4000 pedestrians and cyclists.
Brisbane City Council is progressively upgrading the Bicentennial bikeway. To minimise the impact of construction work on pathway users, this work is being completed in stages.
stage one - Cribb Street to Park Road, was completed in 2009
stage two - Lang Parade to Land Street, was completed in September 2010
stage three - Park Road to Lang Parade, has a detailed design prepared and Council plans to commence work on this stage in 2012/2013
stage four - Land Street to west of the Regatta Ferry Terminal, is under investigation with plans to upgrade this section of the pathway in 2012/2013
In addition, Council upgraded the Bicentennial bikeway west and east of the Hale Street bridge in 2011.
The scope of operations of the Brisbane City Council would be comparable to that of all the Adelaide metropolitan councils put together. South Australia (as a state) would need to coordinate such bike and pedestrian route planning. Perhaps it is time for the government to directly take direct control of heavy cycling and pedestrian routes as it has done for main roads (and did so before motor vehicles came on the scene). (Howls of protest from councils!)
Currently DPTI maintain cycling / shared paths of Amy Gillett, Crafers, Patrick Jonker, Stuart O’Grady and The Veloway.
Perhaps DPTI could take control on the River Torrens Linear Park shared path and improve it to the standard of the Brisbane Bicentennial Bikeway.
Is the reason for the separation danger for cyclists or because the current path is sub standard for cyclists' use? Because of different objectives ? Cyclists like quick smooth routes and walkers like broken pavement, sharp blind corners, obstructions splitting the path, too many off cuts with poor signage, overgrown plantings.
The worst parts now where there's barely room for the current path would possibly not be improved or made worse with 2 paths, just fix the current one!
From my experience of riding on shared bike paths , many of them need resurfacing for a start , also, ALL the users of these paths need “educating” to simply keep to the left . This is to me one of the most frustrating things when riding . The other day I politely asked a young mother with a pram/pusher to keep to the left of the path and she just told me to F*** off . Charming !
Agree that it is much more important to create new paths/bike lanes than do this.
Also would like to suggest that for shared paths the bike non bike distinction would be less useful than a fast and slow distinction. I have passed (as in been faster than) bikes on the linear park before when running and I am not a fast runner. Actual fast runners would be going more than 12ks an hour perhaps up to 20 which is as fast as or faster than a lot of recreational cyclists or suited commuters can or would want to go.
Whereas the fast road cyclists going 30,40 or 50 ks an hour are probably better suited to an on road cycle lane.
My experience of the River Torrens Linear Park shared path - at least from Henley Beach to the City - has been really positive, particularly with the path improvements over the last 5 years (River Street being the latest upgraded). There are only a few sections that need upgrading - adjacent the Hindmarsh Cemetery, underneath Holbrooks Road and near the Entertainment Centre. The Charles Sturt Council + State Government funding has been applied thoughtfully and to a high standard. New signage has also been introduced. For what is a meandering river path, the commuting time to the city is quite good, and its not all about speed, but a really pleasant ride to start the day. Some sections are more heavily used by pedestrians / walkers than others, but for 85% of the journey (at least around 8am) it's a remarkably clear run into the city. The principal travel route is on the northern side of the river, with a noticeable gap in the southern path which will only be addressed as mostly industrial properties are redeveloped and land acquisition / planning issues are resolved to extend the path - this might provide some opportunities to create a more bike focused path - but at the moment the shared use concept is not broken, just requires some commonsense + mutual respect for all users and adjusting speeds that match a shared-use environment.