Saturday, October 31, 2015

Cycling on footpath

Image: Cycling SA

We have a long history of competent and well respected cycling organisations and people in South Australia. We love our cycling and our cyclists . They have achieved a lot for the sport and our state. It is disappointing that the changes to the law which allow cyclists to ride on the footpath have created such a low level of disingenuous debate. We know a lot about cycling. We have done it well. We need to look at the realities. Cars and bikes should never be together on the road in some parts of Adelaide. You cannot give 1.5m clearance on Unley Road. It is mad to put a bike lane between a bus lane and cars as in another part of Adelaide. A car cannot move over into another lane to give clearance if the outside lane has cars. That is all logical and real. Cyclists can be very much in danger because they are not protected. Drivers are in danger if they have to shift lanes suddenly to create room for cyclists. There are irresponsible cyclists who ride several abreast or too fast or recklessly. There are drivers who zoom, swerve and don't care. How many? Most cyclists and drivers are reasonable and responsible and we have co existed well but the increase of traffic has created some difficult and unpleasant moments. Other cities and countries allow cyclists to use pedestrian areas to keep themselves safe. If  the thoughtless, irresponsible behaviour of the few is a problem we need to address that behaviour. We need social awareness campaigns , we need rational discussions and we need to be level headed. It is not us and them. There are no factions and yet, the converstions have largely settled on that. 891 Adelaide had a good discussion about this issue with a lawyer and other experts. We need to look at the issues, the problems , the concerns. We need to find solutions and work together on this. It should be a project where we look at solving the issues and we are clear about what we shall not and never tolerate. It's the mentality which needs to be developed which is lacking. In Canberra cyclists access pedestrian areas. They do that responsibly. I have never felt surprised, threatened or unsafe. I have been glad to see they can get away from the cars and use an eco friendsly form of transport. We have thought that footpath cycling is for little kiddies and that no adult would ride on the footpath. We need to rethink it. Cars cannot determine the liveability of a city and you cannot just push people out onto the road and say - give them 1.5 metres and she'll be right. It doesn't work like that. 

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