Parking in residential streets is blocking bike lanes and forcing cyclists to swerve out into traffic or take the safer option by riding on footpaths. One of several reasons why the cyclist’s lobby want laws changed to allow anyone to ride on footpaths in Victoria and NSW. The two states are the only ones that don’t allow riders on footpaths and cyclists are pushing for a change ahead of the Victorian state election.
However, according to the current rules in Victoria it is an offence for anyone over the age of 12 to ride a bicycle on a footpath.
In NSW children can ride on footpaths until they are 16 years old.
The Australian Road Rules allow Councils to create shared bicycle paths and invite all cyclists to ride upon them.
Pedestrians hit by a cyclist on a shared bike path 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.
were forced to abandon a shared path proposal around the perimeter of Doncaster Hill after authorities considered the streets were too steep and posed a danger to both riders and pedestrians.
Manningham Council had investigated through various studies the current road network, existing and future traffic volumes, and the opportunities to connect different areas of Doncaster Hill to promote walking and cycling. It noted that connectivity play a key role in planning for Doncaster Hill and was satisfied that the Council had taken into account relevant factors in identifying the locations for road infrastructure.
It was acknowledged that some of the shared pathways would be too steep for all bicycle users. “It may be that some bicycle users may have to dismount and wheel their bicycles up the steep sections. This consideration, however, does not obviate the need for the system of shared pathways to provide adequate connectivity through and within Doncaster Hill”.
Council had not obtained sufficiently detailed risk analyses or pedestrian safety audit and only withdrew their cycling plan after safety authorities had intervened.
Currently, the following outrageous conditions generally prevail:
No Speed Limits – No Risk Analysis or Duty of Care – No Insurance Cover –
No Identification Required for Cyclists – No Means of Enforcement
“Councils Must Build Dedicated Bicycle Paths – Footpaths Are For Pedestrians”
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” These offences are very difficult to prove and enforce, especially as there are no speed limits. There is no insurance whatsoever.
Bike riders in bus lanes
From 1 July 2017 cyclists can ride in a bus lane unless otherwise signed.
Safety tips for bike riding in bus lanes:
- Keep to the left of the bus lane
- Give way to buses at all times
- Wait behind the bus if it is coming to a stop and do not overtake or undertake it.
- Bike riders travelling in a bus lane can proceed on the ‘B-signal’ during bus lane operating hours. Outside the bus lane operating hours, only buses can proceed on the ‘B-signal’.
- Be alert at bus stops and watch out for passengers getting on and off buses, stop behind the bus until it has moved off.
- Be alert to other road users entering the bus lane, eg at an intersection or to turn off the road
- Before changing lanes and turning, always scan behind and signal your intentions to other road users.
- If there is a bike lane beside the bus lane, a bike rider must use the bike lane.
- Using a hook turn can be a safer way to turn right.
- Take extra care when cycling at night. Wear bright or light coloured clothing and reflective strips, use front and rear bike lights.
- Bright or light coloured clothing and flashing lights during daylight can also improve safety
- Choosing a less busy parallel road or path where it exists may be a safer option.