Despite being endorsed by Councillors and approved by council engineers, after years of promoting the shared path circuit plan with expensive brochures and consultation etc., Manningham council had abandoned the scheme in 2009 due to safety concerns thought to have arisen from the excessive slopes of the area.
Unfortunately all that is left of the original plan, according to the One Step At A Time attached document, is a 250 metre shared path from the Civic grounds through to the Westfield Car park. David Graham who helped design the plan is now a director at GTA Consultants. During his tenure at Manningham City Council between 1999-2004, David was involved in the implementation of the Doncaster Hill Strategy and associated plans. He also prepared scoping reports for a variety of projects including Doncaster Hill Pedestrian and Cycling Strategy Manningham Arterial Road Improvement Strategy blackspots and bicycle treatments, project managed road improvement projects, developed and implemented LATM schemes and provided advice to Council regarding
parking, traffic and transport issues
The One Step At A Time attachment contains the website address with access to travel information including the Manningham Cycling Plan. The Bus lanes in Doncaster and Williamson’s road are to be shared with cyclists. But there are still safety issues with the shared paths and the steep terrain in some areas which could be a problem for inexperienced riders. There are areas where cyclists will have to dismount and wheel their bikes up some of the steep sections.
But there may other problems where council can be held accountable that need to be addressed;
Currently, the following outrageous conditions generally prevail:
It is an offence for anyone over the age of 12 to ride a bicycle on the footpath. However, the Australian Road Rules allow the authorities to create a Shared Bicycle Path (SBP) and invite all cyclists to ride upon them.
Few if any Councils have undertaken detailed (independent) risk analyses or pedestrian safety audits
- There are no speed limits
- There is no offence for speeding on a bicycle in Victoria (and most other jurisdictions)
- The only offences the authorities can prosecute are “ride, negligently, recklessly, or furiously”. Penalty $54. These offences are very difficult to prove and enforce, especially as there are no speed limits.
- There is no insurance. Pedestrians hit by a cyclist on a SBP have no claim against the Motor Accidents Authority as they would if they had been hit by a motor-vehicle.
- Cyclists are not required to display number-plates or be licensed and are almost impossible to recognise especially when most are wearing helmets and sunglasses.
“In 2002, Maria Guliano (see S&G advice), was struck by a cyclist on a SBP, resulting in a severe traumatic head and brain injury. She was forced to sue Leichhardt Council and the RTA. The matter was settled out of court. An expert witness (engineer) was of the opinion that the speed travelled by the bicyclist of 20km per hour was unsafe for a SBP.
Cyclists are required to give way to pedestrians at all times on a SBP. Yet many Councils erect signs advising cyclists to ring their bells. This frequently frightens pedestrians and creates a most threatening and unfriendly environment.
The above link was the first publication showing full details of how roads were to be narrowed to make way for wider footpaths to accommodate both walkers and riders. No mention of gradients.
The above link is the last of four publications. Page 13 shows that the original pedestrian/cycling route has been abandoned and reduced to a proposed walking path (shown in pink) on the existing footpath!! (thanks to David W. for the above links)
The Doncaster Hill dual path was quietly abandoned in 2009 due to safety issues. At first glance it appears the Pedestrian/Cycle plan had been retained but the 2009 map below clearly shows the previous dual path, now indicated by a red broken line, is now a pedestrian circuit route. (Click to enlarge legend and map)