Around Brisbane this week
We noticed on Twitter that in the space of less than 30 minutes last Sunday afternoon, two drivers somehow managed to crash their vehicles on different streets in the CBD – despite the 40kph limit. Brisbane City Council continues to tell us that these streets are perfectly safe for riding a bike in the general traffic lanes, but we continue to disagree; we need a #minimumgrid of protected bike lanes in the CBD.
Commuters on the SE Veloway started the working week with an impromptu working bee on Monday evening, when a squall brought down a tree on the path. Many hands made light work, and the obstacle was quickly cleared away.
For our Tuesday evening Slow Roll, we took a ride though South Bank in search of the new “Flowstate” art installation (see map for location). It’s definitely worth a visit! On the way, we discovered some rather fancy new bollards on the plaza area near the Brisbane sign. They appear to slide rather than retract into the ground.
We’ve started to get a good group on our Tuesday Slow Roll events, but nothing like the amazing Slow Roll scene in Detroit. You can join us any week on Tuesday evening in King George Square (by the lions in front of City Hall) for a 6:30pm departure.
Deputy Mayor Adrian Schrinner once again called for a relaxation of bicycle helmet laws for people using CityCycles this week, despite his council not yet delivering any separated infrastructure within the CityCycle footprint. We support a trial of helmet-optional riding for people using the public bikes, but suggest that to address safety fears this exclude riding on roads and on busy footpaths. Unfortunately we suspect such a trial would not produce the increased ridership the Deputy Mayor predicts, as without protected bike lanes in the CBD, it would rule out all but a tiny handful of destinations. We would also want to ensure that Council continues to make helmets available to CityCycle users who chose to wear them.
Finally, a reminder: You now have only just over a week left to submit a short film to our Brisbane Bike Bites Short Film Competition. Entries close on Monday 12th February, with details on how to submit your film available on our website.
Road safety experts at national transport infrastructure group Austroads recently recommended safer intersection designs and speed limits (down to 30kph) in order to address Australia’s high rate of road trauma. Crashes at intersections account for one third of serious or fatal crashes in Australia. At Space4cyclingBNE we have consistently called for 30kph limits on neighbourhood streets, and for suburban roundabouts to be designed and designated for 30kph traffic as recommended by the 2013 Parliamentary Inquiry into Cycling Issues. These measures could make a huge difference to safety for pedestrians and cyclists, as well making for quieter and greener streets where people would feel more inclined to walk, ride, talk to their neighbours, shop locally, and participate in community events. Unfortunately, the research and recommendations from Austroads have been largely ignored in the media, and motoring lobby group RACQ have come out against them, insisting that any changes must not be allowed to affect traffic flow and the needs of people who drive.
The author of this article makes some good points about the shortcomings of cycling safety programs and advocacy which focus on educating cyclists–who are already very aware of their own vulnerability–rather than addressing the reasons they too often get hurt. We applaud the recent work by Bicycle Queensland on improving the education and attitudes of drivers, and toward better enforcement of laws designed to keep people safe on the roads. The end game for us is well-designed infrastructure that allows everyone to travel safely.
Around Australia and the world
Across the ditch, commuters using Auckland’s Tamaki Drive cycleway got a bit of a salt water rinse thanks to high tides and strong winds.
From the UK, we saw an example of everyday cycling at its best: 90 year old Arthur Warner reckons getting out into the fresh air and cycling is what life is all about. “The thing is I can’t walk very far. I’ve got a bit of arthritis so the bike is perfect for getting around.”
Streetfilms reflected on almost 10 years since cars were kicked out of New York’s Time Square, with A.U.T.O. Lobbyist Veronica Moss lamenting the good old days when people were relegated to the narrow sidewalk and if they really wanted to be in Times Square, they had to fight for it. As always, it’s important to as what sort of public spaces we want for our city – our vision or Veronica’s?
Meanwhile, in San Francisco, after years of struggle, advocates have finally managed to convince the city decision makers that a painted bike lane in the door zone – and where vehicles too often double park – is just not safe or comfortable, particularly when cycling with children. Thanks to members of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, Upper Market St is about to get bike lanes that are protected with concrete barriers and flexi-posts. Kerb-side parking will be removed, leaving plenty of room for deliveries, taxis, and ride-share services safely clear of the bike lanes.