Hi guys,

one of the discussions we've had in BISA lately is a wish to get feedback from the cycling community on the new 'Copenhagen lane' in Sturt St, where the ACC is undergoing a trial of a separated bike lane.

While it sounds good in theory, there's been a bit of criticism floating around that there are some design issues with it, particularly in respect to cars joining from side streets.

Apparently it's been planned as a "temporary trial" by the council, where they will evaluate its success after 6 months and decide whether to remove the separating infrastructure, or possibly extend to other spots.

So, what's people's feedback - is it working out, or having problems? Is it a good concept but badly implemented? (Perhaps due to the trial nature).

(I imagine the council will also seek feedback, but as a cycling advocacy organisation we'd like to get independent comments too to inform what position we take as well).

Any pics you've taken of the lane in action would be appreciated too.

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I have not experienced the Copenhagen Lane. I did see this comment to the Background Briefing program about cycling and road safety.

Thanks for a great program, Di! Cyclists should definitely be separated from the dangers of fast-moving highway traffic but, as several of your speakers pointed out, junctions are the key to cycleway design. Minimising and carefully designing intersections are the keys to any system of segregated cycleways - the analogy with a motorway system is obvious. A bike path with more than one or two unsignalised crossings per kilometre is inherently dangerous and should not be called a cycleway. Niels Tørsløv (Traffic Director of Copenhagen) explained during his recent Australian lecture tour that the introduction of new infrastructure such as "green cycle routes" as alternatives to segregated on-road "Copenhagen lanes" has dramatically reduced the number of cyclists killed and injured in Copenhagen since 2005.

Sadly, the City of Sydney Council is in the processs of re-inventing the wheel by spending around $70 million shoehorning variants of the old and dangerous "Copenhagen lanes" into inner-city streets, where cyclists will have to negotiate unsignalised intersections and driveways every few seconds.

It is depressing to see political spin describing these dangerous bike lanes as "safe cycleways" in an effort to persuade naive non-cyclists to buy bikes.

Copenhagen's bike infrastructure guidelines, and a very large body of other European accident statistics and design guidelines, advise against this sort of cycle track on relatively quiet and slow residential streets such as Bourke Street, Surry Hills. Inner-city cyclists and pedestrians are almost certainly safer under current arrangements.
Thanks goodness - I thought I was a loan voice in the wilderness! I ride along Sturt Street daily. My kids go to Sturt Street Community School. I prefer to cycle on the road, where there is no on road bike path and I have to shoulder buses than on that crazy "off road" Copenhagen death trap bike path.

I've tried it over a period of several months. I felt constantly anxious. I've been nearly skittled on three occasions by cars whizzing out of the numerous side streets without looking and even by a car turning across my path from Sturt Street into a side street, the drivers oblivious to the bike path and me until the last moment, when going too fast to stop they give an apologetic wave as I slam on the brakes.

Cars buzz through those north-south side streets like rats along drain pipes, looking for a park, looking for a faster way across town than West Tce or Morphett Street. They don't expect a bike lane, or a bicycle in it. There are give way signs and green carpet at the junctions but they are ignored. There are no road humps or other traffic calming devices to slow them down before they get to the bike path. They see the road ahead and slow intending to stop for it, rather than for the bike path 5 metres before it.

The building line is so close to the kerb, and the streets are so narrow, that you can't see cars coming out of the side street until you're almost in the junction.

Then there are the trucks that regularly park across the bike path so you have to ride onto the road anyway, and the cars that line up across the bike path as they wait to pull into Sturt Street.

My wife has even seen a delivery van driving along the bike path sa the driver looked for an address!

I feel much safer being out in the traffic where I am expected and can be seen. The bike path is inherently dangerous without much stronger measures to slow cars entering it from sidestreets. Even then, there is still the danger of cars crossing the bike lane as they enter the side streets from Sturt Street.

There are other issues, such as the fact that the Copenhagen path doesn't connect with the West Tce bike path and forces cyclists to cross two pedestrian crossings (or ride dangerously and illegally across Sturt Street)to get onto it, and the lack of any control of pedestrians crossing the bike path at the school crossing.

And parking is at an absolute premium in Sturt Street near the school at drop off and pick up times. The bike lane has dramatically reduced the number of carparks in Sturt Street, only adding to driver aggression and rat-running. I'm no campaigner for motorists' rights, but safety around schools is a real issue.

I feel much more comfortable riding in the painted bike lanes at the eastern end of Sturt Street, between King William Street and Whitmore Square.

I'm pleased to read that the Copenhagen lane are just a trial. I hope it ends soon and that the road furniture is removed posthaste!
Thanks for the carefully thought out comment Joseph. I think perhaps we can make this an issue that BISA pursues. It might be worth taking this up with the ACC, and give them some of this feedback.

Just a comment re Niels Torslow and the actual Copehagen lanes as re-posted from Background Briefing above: I think this poster mis-represents the position of Torslov. I went to his lecture in Melbourne, and it was my understanding that good quality segregated lanes for cyclists with a raised kerb and protection at intersections are still seen as a key and worthwhile element of their system. A key issue is again what we are calling "Copenhagen lanes" here are not always up to the standard of the actual thing in Copenhagen and Amsterdam. But the poster makes a good point that they may well not be suited to quieter back streets such as where they've been installed here.

Now I'm back in Victoria, I'll see what the buzz is on how the seperated cycleway down Swanston St in Melbourne is lilke.
Sure, Sturt Street is far from ideal, but on the other hand, if the City does not trial alternatives to just paint on the side of the road – how else can we make improvements for cyclist – is paint on the side of the road the best we can hope for – in my opinion, the best option is for legislative change so that it is safe to ride on roads together with infrastructure improvements.

Car parking close to Schools is important but why must it be within 20 metres of the school – do patents really not have time to walk 2 minutes from the car to drop their kids off? Maybe the school can run a campaign – ‘park 50 metres further away then usual and use the extra 2 minutes to listen to your kid.

When my kids and I ride to the school its not practical to use the paths (coming from the west) – which seems crazy! So, there is clearly more work needed for Sturt St. – west tec. link (on north side) maybe stop sign or ‘aware bike lane trial at intersection ahead’ at the side street corners, even a sweep to clear off all the little rocks would be appreciated.

Sturt Street Bike Path is not the best – maybe rates only 4/10 in current state. But pulling up the bike paths would be a shame and just reinforce the car orientated mindset of many Adelaidians.
Dan, the problem is that the infrastructure is increasing the risk to cyclists rather than reducing it. I felt far safer riding on Sturt Street before they put the path in.

As the typos in my previous post indicate it was not carefully considered as Patrick suggested. Rather, my blood is still boiling from the last time I was almost squashed by a dark green Jaguar that came barrelling out of a sidestreet without regard for the give way sign or the bright green carpet at the junction. Almost being killed makes me cross!

It is all very well to blame the drivers, but you need to plan for predictably bad behaviour and not create situations which actually make the risks greater.
Cycleways should be on main roads, not quiet streets like Sturt st.

If you can't share the road with motor vehicles on one of the quietest streets in Adelaide then what hope is there?

Honestly Sturt street is a wide street with plenty of space for both cyclists and motor vehicles. The removal of Car parks will definitely decrease the risk of cars pulling out but the cycleway restricts cyclists at all of the side streets. How is the average cyclist supposed to avoid a car that pulls across a cycleway to pull in or out of one of those side streets (let alone j-walking pedestrians)?

Cycleways should be on main roads and there should be traffic lights at the major intersections Greenhill, glen osmond or Fullarton road would be a great trial spot.

There is no need for light sequences on Sturt street until you get to west terrace.

this is a link to an article about poorly designed cycleways
I've ridden along Sturt St a few times on Sunday mornings and I've seen the "Copenhagen Lane".
To me the bike lane appears to have more hazards than riding on the road. Wouldn't attempt to use it.
I am all in favour of better cycling facilities within Adelaide city and its approaches. I agree that off-road bicycle paths can greatly improve cyclists' safety and comfort. I agree that the ACC is to be congratulated for giving the Sturt Street path a go. I worry that its failure might discourage further such experiments.

That said, I remain of the view that the design and location of the Sturt Street bikepath are poor. I responded to the ACC's consultation during the design phase and raised concerns that there are too many sidestreets on Sturt Street, with a high concommitant risk of collisions between bicycles and cars, for a Copenhagen style bike lane to be safe there. I remain of that view.

When it was built, I commuted daily on the bike path for several months before I had one near miss too many (three).

It seems to me that much more needs to be done to draw the attention of motorists approaching the bikepath to its existence and the potential presence of cyclists. Green carpets and give way signs are not enough.

The western end of Sturt Street has become confusing and cluttered from a motorists' perspective. Cars frequently drive through red lights at the school crossing. I witnessed it this morning at 9am. The driver was cruising for a park and was oblivious to the red light and the children on the crossing. (He didn't seem to care when I drew his attention to it.) As a parent I found it horrifying to watch. The bikepath has, I believe, added to this confusion.

In summary, the offroad bikepath concept is a good one, but the location is wrong and the investment in controlling the intersections was inadequate.

There is other work that could be done in the area that would be of more benefit to cyclists, such as adding a northern pedestrian/ bicycle crossing at the junction of West Tce and Sturt Street, so that cyclists can cross from the off-road paths on the western side of West Tce to the northern side of Sturt Street, and widening the footpath on the western side of West Tce (at the front gates of the cemetery) so that there is space for cyclists and pedestrians to wait to cross without blocking the bike path there. I have written to the ACC and DTEI about this without success.
just as a point of interest - I was knocked down on this cycle lane last Thursday at 4.15 as I was riding along. Luckily the driver stopped. However, the fact is she just simply drove straight into me. I was, I think understandably, a little displeased and advised her that the Give Way sign and green marking was there for a reason. However, the average motorist does not realise that in order to drive in a legal manner they have to give way to pedestrians, let alone cyclist - and she simply sailed through both of these 'warning points' without even thinking to look. Her mindset was clearly 'check the road - and only the road - when I get to it. No need to worry about pesky cyclists or pedestrians'.

I think the lane is a great idea but sadly the way the average person drives, it's probably more dangerous than a conventional bike lane.
Sorry to hear about your crash. I hope you weren't seriously hurt. Have you yet taken the matter up the the Adelaide City Council?
I've advised them. I'll leave it at that. Thanks, but only a bit of blood on the elbow and knee. A slight rip in the trousers. Thankfully that was all.
It is not surprising that these lanes are receiving criticism. They are new, the only one in the city and there is little effective protection by way of traffic calming prior to a vehicle crossing the cycleway. A green line does not make much of a barrier when as a driver you are focused on the expected hazard, another vehicle.
My main concern is that if this level of cycleway is required on all streets it will cost a fortune and many streels will not have space to fit them.

Therefore it will take years to build the lanes at todays rate of expenditure and in the end we will still only have half a cycle netwoork.

I believe that we should focus on making the existing street environment safe for cycling by reducing spped limits to 40kph or lower and we should raise the level of responsibility for drivers to avoid cyclists. This is I understand the situation in some European countries. A vehicle is invariably considered responsible in a collision because they have a higher responsibility becauseof the risk of injury to the vulnerable cyclist.


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