Cycling in Brisbane Australia
...screamed a hoodlum to me, without laughing, yesterday afternoon in Logan, on Kingston Rd.
Clearly the campaign about leaving space for bikes didn't target him, since he came with a different idea altogether!
He had time to put in words his rotten thought to me since I had caught up on them at the red lights with Compton Rd. Initially I didn't hear what he had screamed to me, but at the lights, upon insisting, I revealed his new version of the Road Rules. He was the young passenger of a very nice sports car. Him and his young driver of a friend were barely twenty but already their head full of S.
I screamed my rights back to them, but he wouldn't believe me. I noted their plate, and reported them on the online form for cyclist complaints (see link below), insisting that the excited member of the party was more the passenger there, but clearly the driver was not reasonning him either...
I can only urge you to use and peruse this link for whatver incident you get with motorists. We haven't got many tools, so here's one.
No wonder that I get abused my people, if some individuals out there have these Middle-Age thoughts in their skulls. There should be a special campaign about these ones.
Then again I sort of deserve it...Because on my way down South yesterday, I was playing my militant initially, on Lutwyche Rd. I told no less than five adult riders "On the road!" as they were riding on footpaths. SuckSh.t of me!
People don't pay attention to words these days...
What word can you hear in "foot"path? What word can you hear in "road" bike?
So...where should a "road" bike be?
Fab ("from Tropicalm"?), we respect the points you're trying to make, but they're coming across as an incoherent dribble with clumsily conflated strategies.
Obviously no one here suggests you ride at a reckless speed on footpaths but that doesn't mean that all footpath riding is dangerous - if you don't know how to ride safely on a footpath, I could teach you (so long as you don't punch me in the face like it sounds like you would to a bad motorist); but what gives you the right to verbally abuse others, period?
Perhaps the reality is that the way *you* ride is dangerous, judging by the amount of conflict and stress you seem to so frequently get yourself into?
Regarding your offense at Godwin's Law being enacted, you're the one who started with strong words like "militant" and "terrorism" so it's a bit rich to think of us as being hypocritical when you're mixing in irrelevant gripes about modern technology. Albeit you won't be the only one who thinks that; but what's that got anything to do cycling (call it what you want, road cycling if you prefer) which you're such a fan of, despite all those grievances?
We know you're fast and we know you're a strong rider; now just please, just stop acting like you're in a tantrum because the problem isn't that no one is interested in change, it's simply the idiotic way you're going about it.
You're doing more harm than good to the cause, and that is why I think you're wasting your time. I'll see if others here agree or disagree with my view - perhaps it's just me and I'm wrong and you're right.
Sure, you have a "right" to ask us to join you, so I am now replying by saying no thanks and will in return suggest you give it all a rest. Instead, perhaps try to enjoy your riding more before dealing with other issues that may affect others in more significant ways. I also don't care of your boasting about how much experience/speed you have if your overall plan about what should be done is simply flawed.
Once again, I do wish you all the best - and please stay safe and keep the fights intellectual. I don't want to see you or another bystander (pre-emptively guilty or otherwise) hurt based on a stupid rush of blood (i.e., road rage, terrorism, etc) that you'd come to regret the next day or month.
Do keep up the police reports as you see fit as that is an appropriate avenue to try and have things resolved. Perhaps talk to your local council/parliament member too.
So - what do you want us to do; and what are you going to do?
I won't go on for too long because you're not "ripe" to understand my points. I should say my point, singular, because all my raving boils down to one, which you've extracted if you have a synthetical mind:
let us all rejoice on the road, let's not erase ourselves from the picture.
If this is a clumsy and conflated strategy to not just be victims of road rages against cyclists, revise your judgement after a good tea. May be you're not concerned because precisely you're not enough on roads?
Your text perspires judgement, which seems to be okay when you do it, but not when I do it. It also paints a complex of inferiority ("strong rider", reference to "boasting", which I haven't). I just gave an example of my speed and distance to illustrate that I spend a lot of time on roads, therefore I am legitimate into rising issues, and I do encounter a lot more issues than an average rider.
If you drew a parallel with domestic violence, or women hassled on the street by horny guys, it is as if you asked the victims to not loudly and defensively voice their concerns when they are being abused, because "mentalities won't change", asking them to stay silent, walk in the dark, close to walls (parallel with footpaths).
Watch out not to be a sheep in a flock of sheeps Raymond, unless you don't care about others. Selfishness? You would know.
As for judging me "crazy" (another personal attack), let me finish with that parabole:
Everybody's somebody's crazy.
If I were crazy in a logical life, then I wouldn't have achieved what I have, and I certainly wouldn't have my job, that I've held for 20 years.
If I were crazy in a crazy life, then I would fit perfectly. Isn't that a sign of intelligence?
Have a good cuppa.
I don't think your approach on its own will achieve much. Particularly the part where you yell "On the road!" to all adult riders.
So I'm angry at all adult riders on footpaths.
I prefer not to mix with traffic on certain roads in Brisbane, especially up hills. The footpaths in these areas are often empty. Also, if drivers are tired or distracted or simply make an error in judgement, I will likely be injured or worse.
I will now draw your attention to the concept of Sustainable Safety.
"While a good level of education of drivers in particular (as they are the ones bringing lethal force to the roads) is important, it is never possible to completely eliminate the chance of error, or of frustration leading to violent behaviour, if conflict is designed into the way in which roads are used. What's more, people are often tired or distracted. These things cannot be solved by education, they are a result of being human.
What the Dutch have done is to reduce the frequency of conflict between road users and to reduce the lethality of those crashes which still inevitably occur. This has involved changes in infrastructure to keep vulnerable road users away from the lethal force of motor vehicles, design of junctions so that routes do not cross each other at speed, as well as some changes in the law and education of road users about how to behave in a safe way (i.e. drunk driving, taking a break on long journeys...)."
legally riding on the footpath
=> It is probably legal for adults (I don't mind kids, because their building their sense of balance and coordination) because the state has failed to offer road riders safe conditions to ride.
It is a kind of plan B in my opinion. A "okay do that if you feel more comfortable, because we can't change mentalities". You see my point?
It is a difficult job I agree, but using bus stop ads, TV and social network videos, I'm sure there's a message to pass, that could be picked. Like the ones we see against domestic violence. "say no to domestic violence" kind of campaigns.
Instead of bashing me guys, try to see where I'm coming from: a free place where people of all ages and conditions ride on roads, and cars have no choice but respect everybody, because they can't scream at som many people all day! A place where footpaths are reserved to pedestrians, because footpaths are really dangerous to share with pedestrians, due to the speed difference of its users, and the fragility of some pedestrians (prams, toddlers learning to walk, urban furniture, posts, holes, cracks, concealed driveways, etc...).
I'm not out here to "bash" you - and if I can speak freely and honestly in reply, what I'm doing is addressing various points that you've raised, many of which I've seen before (some I might even agree with), but you're delivering it in a particularly ineffective manner that's going to do no one any good.
As a fellow "cyclist", I'm making the observation that you appear unhinged and crazy (you're probably completely sane and rational, but all I have to go off here is what you've written so far - do you understand what I mean?), so you're going to be struggling to get anyone else to listen let alone work with you if you maintain this negative and potentially destructive trajectory in the guise of a campaign.
Interesting discussion going on here.
If I can state my thoughts ...
I ride for fun and health. I really enjoy it. I hope it keeps me healthy and out of hospital and away from GPs in my later years. I commute 5 days per week and have leisure rides on most weekends.
I am married with children who I like to role model for.
I have lived in Northern Europe and commuted by bicycle there and ridden for leisure.
Brisbane is a looooooooooooooooong way from anything I have seen in any of the European countries.
Saying that, I would like to continue riding. I don't like pain of injury and I do not wish to die on the roads. I have had so many close calls with poor drivers. (Edit: I was hit by a car, driver's fault, when returning from the shops by bike when I was 12 yrs old and still have the scars to prove it)
I choose my battles and choose where to ride based on my wishes to stay alive and pain free.
I ride on roads and footpaths, whichever is appropriate at the time.
I'd love people who ride bicycles to be able to ride on the road to get to point B. Safely. Anytime. In any weather.
Each to their own based on their priorities, but for now .. I just want to live and get to point B every time. In one piece.
I too get extremely frustrated with the culture in BNE and AU in general and join some protest rides etc.
My responsibility to my wife and children (and my own health and safety) override my desires to mix it with immature drivers.
Fab I understand where you are coming from & I also stand up for our rights to use the road. I agree that we should stand up to bullies and not just ignore them. The issue of people yelling at cyclists on the road is not going to be easily solved but we do have to try. I am aggressive back at them but I do doubt that will work & could just inflame them further.
The graphic above is from USA but the situation is probably similar for Australia. Unfortunately too many Australians are too scared to ride on-road with traffic. You & I are in the 1% and very few other people are going to join us cycling on busy roads.
One of the reasons why I strongly support & build bike lanes and BAZ is that it sends a very strong message to motorists that cyclists do belong on-road and that the government supports cycling. (Vocal / legal government support can make a big difference & educate drivers as we've seen with the 1m overtaking rule making a significant difference in driver behaviour even though hardly anyone has been booked and motorists & police whinged about the rule. The helmet law also had a massive effect but the wrong way decreasing cycling by 30-40% & still discouraging cycling despite most police not enforcing it anymore.) Unfortunately the original BAZ locations in parking lanes was wrong and gave some motorists the wrong impression but the research shows & from the arguments I've had on the road, at least the motorists did notice them. Now that BAZ symbols are progressively being moved into the middle of traffic lanes on the Gold Coast & some other places the message is getting out there that bikes have a right to be in the middle of the lanes. It's unfortunate that Brisbane riders convinced BCC to just get rid of all BAZ instead of move them to the better location. But even with bike lanes and BAZ only the 1% & 7% will use them. Very few of the 60% are game enough to use them.
The footpath cycling is where I strongly disagree with you. The fact is that police crash data shows that footpath cycling is not dangerous to pedestrians & in fact most pedestrians hit by bicycles are hit on the roadway not the paths. Usually the pedestrian is at fault not the cyclist. There's the odd idiot who rides too fast past pedestrians but most riders are considerate and speed data I have for paths show that cyclists slow down as the paths get busy - as you'd expect. In a 1 week period on the Gold Coast Oceanway at 3 different locations, the data showed only 4 cyclists rode faster than 30kmh. (There are parallel beach roads where the racers ride.) About 85% rode at less than 20kmh with a slightly higher percentage at the busier location & a lower percentage at the least busy location.
For the cyclists, one study I saw 10 years showed that cycling on paths was arguably more dangerous for cyclists than riding on-road. The main issue was children not having the awareness of cars turning into the side street and the car drivers failing to give way to the cyclists (as I argue the road rules say they should but we've never been taught due to the training as pedestrians - "Stop, look times & always give way to cars" even though cars turning at intersections have to give way to pedestrians - Refer Part 7 Giving Way rules 72 & 73 et al). Driveways and pedestrians jumping the wrong way are issues but not major ones.
As for speed - paths are generally slower but many people prefer the perception of safety over speed. I did several speed runs along Bermuda St, Gold Coast 10 years ago where I rode at 30kmh on-road then returned off-road and obeyed all the rules at the time such as dismount to walk across pedestrian crossing even though the parallel car traffic had a green light & I would have had a green if I had been on-road. From memory I think it was average about 40 minutes on-road and about 55 minutes return. On-road I didn't have any problems. Off-road I came closer to being hit by a Subaru rally car hooning around a left slip lane failing to stop where pedestrians have right of way. I got a flat tyre on one off-road run - there was more broken glass, rubbish, wire etc. on the path. The off-road was a harsher ride because of all the concrete joints. I didn't maintain the 30kmh as much when off-road because of stopping at side streets & dodging pedestrians and dogs etc. But many people just prefer to ride off-road and not be scared by the 80kmh+ cars.
The 60% are willing to ride on footpaths and I'd much rather they ride on footpaths instead of not ride at all and just drive more cars.
I'm an engineer and I have built bikeways for 11 years. Our infrastructure can't fit Dutch style separated cycleways in many places until we achieve enough critical mass (or we get another oil crises like the one that partly triggered the Dutch cycling expansion) to get the politicial will-power to take space away from cars (usully only parked cars anyway). But we have a lot of under-utilised path space that doesn't have many pedestrians using it & is good to less confident riders to at least get started on.
As for you yelling at cyclists on the path - it's the law so get over it & shut up. It's bad enough having motorists yelling at us without other cyclists being just as annoying. I have a medical exemption so I don't wear an Esky lid and I often get motorists and race cyclists yelling at me "Where's ya helmet" - my inclination is to reply "F-off nannies and mind your own business." Usually I restrain myself, say "Thank you for your concern Nanny." and if time permits I point out that 50x more motorists get brain damage than cyclists so the law should require motorists to helmets not bicycle riders. Also that bike helmets are not as good as people believe and can cause damage such as broken necks.
I did try to edit the last paragraph to better explain it but lost the edits when it ran out of time.
The main point of that paragraph is that - It's bad enough having motorists yelling at us without other cyclists being just as annoying. I tried to add that many of the cyclists you yell at probably just think you are from Victoria or NSW, don't know the Qld road rules and don't understand your good intention.
Thanks for your precisions and ideas shared here IC.
To start with the "militantism" section, I disagree:
it's not because a behaviour is legal that it is okay. Maybe it is legal as a "safety valve", as a "default solution" because nothing else is coercive enough?
In addition, it's not because a behaviour is legal that there shouldn't be other citizens trying to push for another behaviour.
Example: drinking alcohol, smoking, smoking while pregnant. All these behaviour are perfecty legal, although strongly discouraged, because they may lead to serious, sometimes very serious issues, that will all have an impact on the money spent on Public Health, itself coming from taxpayers, therefore from citizens, hence their right to say something. See the logical cycle here?
Some groups, such as Greenpeace, to name just one, yell things at other people everyday as a job, although these latter people do perfectly legal things. Some activists try to improve our status on Earth, bringing their nano-contribution where they can.
I suppose it is as inacceptable to me for you guys to ask me not to yell at them than to you guys when I say I do, if that makes sense.
As riders, our freedom in general is challenged, because riding on the footpath gives the motorist a visual precedence, it gives them an image of what is the "norm" these days, where it is a deprivation of freedom to be on the road as riders, like we should, as authorised vehicles on the road.
There is, in my opinion, an exacerbated will for Australians to perform activities in the very, excessively, safe way. I see it all the time when it deals with what activities kids do at school, here and overseas. e.g. They don't even let them hat-free at 4:55 pm in July, applying the "SunSmart'" policy in a T-totaller way until the exact time of sunset.
I think people here are scared a lot of "what could happen if". Sometimes it's good to remember that from the very second you start to breath, you could also "stop breathing" the next, and you will eventually. So there's no need to be excessively scared of every lethal scenario possible under the Equator, because we were lucky enough to have been born, so all the rest is "bonus" really.
Now, back to footpaths, whenever I reverse out of my driveway (no room to do otherwise) onto the street, note that it is a concealed driveway for both me and footpath users, I'm scared of hitting a bike flying down the street, because it is a very steep street (13%) and I often see riders flying down on the footpath at other times (luckily at other times...), whereas the road is totally empty.
I always mark a stop when I reverse and the back of my car reaches the edge of the footpath, to give anybody else a chance to brake or pass or move otherwise. Add to that the steepness, hence the enormous amount of kinetic energy and momentum, not allowing them to brake and stop within a short distance... My neighbours don't do that. They just drive out at 10 kph or more. They don't give a damn about who could come behind. They probably don't even know there could be bikes there, or roller skaters, often. So who's the most observant and considerate in here?
You see, I can be both the AH and the smartguy, not as crazy as some might judge me.
Now, as for the BAZ, I obviously noticed them as soon as I returned to Brisbane. I noticed some were painted on the parking lane line, and some were in the middle of the lane. I sort of got the idea that it meant "be aware of riders", and never considered that riders cold ride in the middle of the road, because I know we shouldn't. May be I'm not a crazy like Raymond thinks... I don't know if this counts towards my IQ test...
I have an anecdote about BAZs: three weeks ago, I got abused by a motorist, again, on Gordon Rd in Ferny Grove. Gordon is BAZed on the parking lane line. I was riding down at an average speed of 60 kph, as it's steep there. I was making sure I was riding exactly on the line separating the parking lane from the general traffic lane, to be clear of doors of the few cars randomly parked there, and also to leave enough room on my right for cars that would have liked to pass me (over the speed limit...like some do). There was this dad+boy in their car, about 30 m behind me, travelling at the same speed as me, i.e. the speed limit...
Well, when I started to slow down to turn onto Samford Rd, he passed me flying, erratically, screetching tyres, swerving like an idiot, and screaming at me words I heard, for once. "I can't believe you've got that much space on the left and yet you're riding in the middle of the road!".
The "middle of the road" for him was the exact separation line between the parking lane and the general traffic lane, exactly in the middle of the BAZ stencils! Plus, at this speed, he didn't even appreciate that any wind gust would have got me moving laterally by at least a meter in just a second! (I had high rims on), plus, I was riding at the speed limit, so who cares anyway, even if I'm in the middle of the road at that time?
You see the things I experience, whereas I'm trying to be as considerate as possible to the vehicles of the general traffic lane?
* * *
Also, just a point: when you said "I am aggressive back", talking about you, you should say "I am defending back".
I am aware I won't change the mentalities by myself, but mentalities can change if a critical mass of population acting the same is reached. Look at the gun regulations in Australia after the Port Arthur massacre, and also after the Dunblane massacre in Scotland. Nobody was betting a penny that mentalities could change! They did. And they did here in Australia too for the same reason.
If more people were riding right on their due part of the road, it's not that the motorists would like it, it's they they'd have no choice to deal with it! They can't kill everybody or spend their journey abusing them all.
* * *
Anyway, thank you for you for sharing your views, and I won't say sorry for being free to tell my speech.
addendum: I meant "drinking alcohol excessively" (binge drinking), or drinking or smoking while pregnant. Also: sniffing volatile organic substances in your bedroom because your like the smell, or playing this stupid tight scarf game around your neck, perfectly legal! Doesn't mean you should do it. And expect people who care of you, or for the humans in general, to yell their recommendations at you. Good! So should they, and I won't say sorry for it, and I am proud of it, that is what I meant at the end of my post above.
It reminds me a TV campaign for wearing a helmet, long time ago: "helmets are not compulsory, they're just indispensable."