ACT News


Bike black spots named

CANBERRA cyclists are involved in four recorded collisions a week and a detailed map shows a large number of them happen at a handful of intersections and a small stretch of busy road.

Dozens of crashes have occurred along Northbourne Avenue in the past two years, meaning one of Canberra's busiest roads is also the harshest for riders. A total of 445 crashes recorded across the ACT since January 2011 does not paint the full picture.

Many collisions involving cyclists are unreported, according to the ACT government.

Northbourne Avenue is also home to the top two most dangerous intersections for cyclists.

At the intersection of Northbourne Avenue with Barry Drive, there have been eight crashes since the start of 2011, the most of any crossroad in the ACT.

Second on the list was the intersection of Northbourne Avenue with Wakefield Avenue and Macarthur Avenue,with seven accidents involving bicycles.


The third worst spot was in Lyons where Melrose Drive and Theodore Street meet (six accidents), followed by the Masson and McCaughey streets crossroad in Turner, with five accidents.

The figures were provided by Roads ACT and turned into a map showing every reported collision involving cyclists in the past two years and three months, ending in March this year.

Readers can use the map to work out which intersections or pieces of road they should avoid. They can break the collisions down into suburbs, or years.

The figures include accidents with cars and other vehicles as well as pedestrians, other cyclists and inanimate objects, such as poles.

Many cyclists weigh the odds before venturing onto some roads.

Julie Clutterbuck, a woman who calculates numbers quickly in her career as a mathematician, will continue to ride along Northbourne Avenue, despite the accident figures.

Dr Clutterbuck said she would not, however, take a child on the back of her bike while riding along the major thoroughfare because of the risk.

''These spots (on the crash map) are great places for the ACT government to start improving infrastructure,'' Dr Clutterbuck said.

''Some European countries have more people cycling but less accidents.''

Personally, she found the intersection of Northbourne Avenue with Morphett Street the worst.

''Drivers turning right from Northbourne into Morphett are often looking for a small gap in traffic and they don't see me coming.''

As previously reported, Canberra Hospital figures have shown two cyclists a week in the ACT are hospitalised with a range of injuries, many with serious amounts of skin and flesh taken from their legs by bitumen.

Roads ACT's senior manager of traffic management and safety Rifaat Shoukrallah said many cycling crashes were unreported.

''Often the only ones reported are when someone is able to claim insurance or compensation,'' Mr Shoukrallah said.

The figures show 33 per cent of cyclist crashes in Canberra happen at intersections.

''Cyclist crashes happen more often at intersections, which is not a different pattern when compared to other vehicles,'' he said.

''That's because intersections are where conflicts arise between different vehicle movements.''

Mr Shoukrallah said the number of crashes involving cyclists was not high.

''It is useful to note that every year, we have between 10,000 to 12,000 crashes in total in the ACT,'' he said.