How to Commute Adelaide (tips on riding safe - contributions welcome)

So a big part of my riding journey (which involved a little bit of road biking, but now primarily commuting) has been watching videos that other riders have posted and thinking about how I could avoid potential issues they may have faced, what could be done better, how I might approach a particular situation etc. There are heaps of places in Adelaide I haven't ridden as I commute mostly from the east and through the CBD, sop its nice to see other parts of Adelaide and any issues riders may face.

I guess this is intended as an educational tool for new and/or established riders, but by no means do I think my riding is perfect, and I'd like to think this thread could be a place for constructive criticism. So if you do collect video and have an instructional video feel free to post it in here for feedback or for educative purposes. 

One video I really enjoyed was Ruddagers, where he detailed some tips on commuting in traffic. I hope you don't mind me reposting it here, if so, let me know!

Here is a recent video I made with similar observations and ideas

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I have to correct my comment about not wearing a helmet whilst cycling overseas (UK). I have ridden hire bikes in recent years and choose to wear a helmet when one is available. My observation is that most cyclists out on the road on their road/racing bikes wear helmets. The majority of cyclists commuting in London wearing helmets by my observation would be about 75%. I know of no reliable statistics that show that per capita there are higher rates of cycling or lower cycling injury rates in the UK. Such statistics taken in Holland or any other country where the government provides far superior cycling facilities and legislates road traffic laws in favour of the cyclist should not be compared to Australian cycling statistics.

Nice - 3 years later just to make some sort of point. You must have a fixation. Well at least now you are back safe and sound in Australia and you don't have any confusing choices about your headwear. (I do hope you didn't choose to ride any of those hire bikes when a helmet wasn't available - god forbid - that'd be hypocritical).

OK Carlos my mistake, I should have checked the date of the previous post but there have been some other responses to the original post over the last few days so sorry if I wrecked your day.

Carlos is just having a bad hair day, must be the bike helmet he's wearing. True, there was some awaking of an old thread, but in Carlos' defense, I don't think any of us mentioned MHL or helmets.

On helmets or MHL, I'm on the fence. I don't think they have any influence whatsoever on cycling safety in Australia. The accidents and incidents I hear & read about (that is if the cyclist survives), often don't mention injuries to the head, whether that's because the head wasn't hit or the helmet saved the day, is unknown. The types of accidents that are reported seem to always involve an error on behalf of the vehicle, a human error, or perhaps deliberate road aggression, again unknown because usually not reported.

I'm also fortunate that with near 40 yrs cycling experience, I can (just) count on one hand the times I've come of, three of them involved cars. Two were my own doing of which one was on the very first day I learned to ride a bike. Again fortunate (maybe), I cannot for the life of me fathom how I could have needed a helmet to protect my head, because in none of these falls/hits, did I ever come close to hitting my head. However, and this is where I'm on the fence, if I do have another fall, hit or crash, and for some reason I would hit my head in whatever way, I do think a helmet could potentially dampen the blow.

But, yes entirely admitting to hypocrisy, if I'd be riding in a country where there are no MHL, I probably wouldn't bother.

As for the UK, I think you can and can't compare it to other, more cycle friendly countries & cities. My experience driving & walking (not cycling) in the UK & London is that the city is very much like any other major city with speed limits don't exceed 50km/h and I don't think a helmet or MHL are required, the country seems more like Aussie roads and driving sentiment, so perhaps cycling is less safe there (whether that requires helmets & MHL I'll leave in the middle).

"...  should not be compared to Australian cycling statistics".

Why not? Otherwise Australia will still keep fixing symptoms rather than removing the root causes.

Holland, Denmark etc. was just as car infested in the 60es as Australia is now. They just got fed up with the injuries and fatalities, the immobility and congestion, the cost of of oil/cars to society etc. and transformed. Something that Australia is very poor at especially when it doesn't allow itself to get inspired by others.

By all means compare the stats to show how much better Australia could/should be, but to suggest that cycling is more popular because there is no MHL doesn't stand up.  

Don't know if l am replying in the right spot, just want to add my 2 cents re MHL, l'm pro choice, how fast can it happen.. riding over Anzac highway coming home from the Show, riding fast down the hill at the start of Richmond road, y'all know where l am, coming up on the Croydon Road lights and they are green. It's round 5pm the traffic is banked up behind me so l'm riding as fast as l can get those 26 inch rear wheels rolling, l have gotten 250Kg of mass up to a decent speed and hauling faster to make the green light, next thing something hit me hard on the left side of my head, l was still seated on the trike, both hands on the bars, sliding down the road after snapping the brand new rear axle and being flipped onto our side. The helmet and its Vietnamese bamboo hat cover, saved this rider. What hit me? the ROAD!!!  but l would still like to be able to take it off when l'm doing 5kph on the beach bikepath. (mouse wears hers in the back, that is MHL (mine).)

Never said it did. But there is a general belief in Australia that by enforcing MHL is the only way of making cycling safe hence it shouldn't be discussed/abolished.

I currently live in Denmark and is very strong anti-MHL but use a helmet every day when I ride 26 ks to work and back, since I average 25 kph and top speed around 35-40. All along nice safe segregated bicycle paths. Why? because at that speed, and with me going faster than the flow the risk is higher and the potential outcome worse. I will never use a helmet when I ride 2-5 ks around town doing 15-20 kphs in a city where motorists are brought up to look out for 'soft' road users. The 'cyclists' doing that latter 'pace' is close to non-existent in Australia (comparatively) and MHL as a substitute (not by itself) for safe bike path is the main reason for this.

I don't believe Australia will ever get safe cycling until pro-MHL stops banging on about MHL and divert their energy until what really matters (infrastructure, legislatation and motorist training)

@Ken the Dane... a bit slow aren't ya ;-)

At those speeds, in Belgium, still didn't and wouldn't bother with a helmet. However, have to admit I hate and avoid traffic lights like the plague, so for a good ride I actually put the bike in the boot and drove out of the city (Antwerp). Absolutely loved, and will dearly miss the 1000m to Linear Park, for a traffic light-less ride from the city centre to the beach or hills.

@Clive, I think cycling is less popular in Australia / more popular in other countries for a whole range of reasons, MHL being one but not the only. I wouldn't claim infrastructure as the one & only either. Again comparing with Belgium, I'm pretty confident in saying the infrastructure there is comparable to that of Adelaide, and yet cycling participation is infinitely higher in Belgium than Australia. The country has a much longer and deeper history of cycling as a sport, with the biggest cycling heroes in cycling history and epic races, but that wouldn't explain female participation which has only recently exploded, probably in line or even behind Australian female cycling participation. What's left is legislation, and subsequent to that, road user sentiment towards cyclists. My understanding of road rules suggests that legislation doesn't very much differ from overseas legislation, in that both pedestrians and cyclists are very much part and parcel of road rules and give them adequate rights. My knowledge of the law, and experience with the implementation in Australia, suggests that it is more a matter of (wrong) interpretation of the laws and subsequent sentiment towards pedestrians & cyclists (mainly other road users abusing their physical presence, size, weight and speed to intimidate and bully pedestrians and cyclists). Strict liability in European countries may also influence road user sentiment towards pedestrians & cyclists.

But no, I'd actually agree with you that MHL doesn't necessarily influence cycling popularity, but I'd say MHL continues to be a necessity due to legislative failure to support cycling, which in turn drives road user sentiment towards cycling and cyclists.

MHL, and how Sydney deals with it....

I was sitting on a bench in Hyde Park, next to St James station looking towards the cathedral, waiting for my wife for a Friday night dinner date (it's one of those things you do to get to and keep a 25yr relationship going).

A man walked up to the Ofo bike standing next to the bench, scanned it, buckled the helmet to the front basket and rode away. A bit later I saw another Ofo rider, again no helmet. Granted both headed into Hyde Park, so no traffic and both may have been tourists (who didn't know the rules in AU)(being extremely presumptuous here based on the physical appearances of both males).

So, does Ofo equate to no adherence to MHL in Sydney? I'll keep an eye out. Come to think of it, I saw several cyclists throughout the city but didn't pay attention to helmets.

All good tips i'm reading - and it's something i find difficult to put into words or explain to someone else how i position myself/act in a certain way (i.e. to protect myself when commuting).

A couple of other tips not posted so far:

  • Make eye contact with drivers if possible (e.g. car pulling out from intersection).  This works just as well with a turn of the head if wearing sunnies.  Something to say "i'm here...have you seen me?"
  • If a driver does something friendly or helpful, give them a gesture of thanks (small raise of the hand).  Positive re-inforcement of good behaviour ;)

Love the videos too!

I wouldn't always trust eye contact..


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