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Costs add up as more cyclists take to public roads and suffer tumbles

Canberra's cyclists are involved in an average of four recorded collisions a week, however, many crashes go unreported.

Canberra's cyclists are involved in an average of four recorded collisions a week, however, many crashes go unreported. Photo: Wayne Taylor

Falling off your bike in Canberra can earn you as much as a year sitting at your desk. Cyclists claiming money from the ACT Insurance Authority after coming off their bikes have been paid as much as $100,000 each, more than the yearly salary of an APS6 public servant.

Three cyclists were paid $45,000, $90,000 and $100,037 respectively.

The money was claimed in the past year from Territory and Municipal Services, which recovered the money from the insurance authority. Total compensation paid by the directorate, which oversees the maintenance of bike paths and roads, totalled $235,037.

The number of cyclists working in the Parliamentary Triangle might be expected to increase with the introduction of paid parking on national land in Parkes, Barton, Russell and Acton, a decision that will require public servants to pay $11 a day. The Department of Human Services has introduced paid parking around its Tuggeranong offices.

It was not known how the three bike riders injured themselves but the executive officer of cycling lobby group Pedal Power, John Armstrong, said there were several cycling facilities in Canberra that needed work.

These included obstructions caused by roadwork along Ginninderra Drive near Lawson

Pedal Power was also appealing to Economic Development Minister Andrew Barr to intervene at Kingston Foreshore, where it said the Land Development Agency had reneged on a promise to provide a thoroughfare for cyclists.

Pedal Power said the promised wide promenade had turned into a shambles as people tried to walk and cycle in an area crowded with outside diners.

''It's a classic case of government instrumentalities not talking to each other,'' Mr Armstrong said.

Canberra's cyclists are involved in an average of four recorded collisions a week, however, many crashes go unreported.

Dozens of crashes have occurred along Northbourne Avenue in the past two years, meaning one of Canberra's busiest roads is also the most hazardous for cyclists.

A total of $1.5 million was paid because of insurance claims in the past year across all of the ACT government.

Territory and Municipal Services was liable for $453,766 claimed by 10 pedestrians who had falls.

This is double the amount paid to bike riders but there are hundreds of thousands of pedestrians in Canberra compared with just thousands of regular cyclists.

One student received $308,000 from the Education Directorate after suffering a fall. A hospital patient claimed $140,000 from ACT Health after taking a tumble, while three pedestrians walking on grounds owned by the same directorate claimed another $176,880 between them. Two public housing tenants received a total of $65,750 from the Community Services directorate.

49 comments

  • If they would just build the cycle path between UC and aikman drive on the south side of ginninderra drive a lot of cyclists would be happy to go back to cycling on the paths to avoid the construction of Lawson.

    Or drivers exiting uc could learn that red arrow means stop even if the go straight is green

    Commenter
    on my bike
    Location
    perferably on a cycle path
    Date and time
    March 19, 2014, 1:10AM
    • Wait for it, wait for it.....

      Commenter
      ekib
      Date and time
      March 19, 2014, 6:30AM
      • Maybe the authorities should do a thorough audit of the danger spots on the offroad cycle paths, and establish a serious budget for repairing them.

        In many places the paths are dangerously narrow, steep and curvy, with poor, bumpy surfaces riven with tree roots. Accidents waiting to happen, which the authorities would very likely be liable for (negligently failing to address a known hazard).

        From their appearance I guess a lot of the paths were built 30years ago and have been quietly mouldering away ever since.

        Yet in the last 25 years our quiet cul-de-sac has been unncessarily resurfaced two or three times. Always Rolls Royce design standards for cars, cheap and nasty for bikes - even though good design for bikes would cost little compared with the total roads budget.

        Commenter
        john smith
        Date and time
        March 19, 2014, 6:58AM
        • Car drivers don’t get it so good. There are residual marks from relocated lane markings (including those reallocating existing lanes to cycle paths) being indiscernible from the current lane markings when wet and/or rising/setting sun, potholes on major arteries for weeks, to name but a few. Why should cyclists (who don’t contribute to roads via the fuel taxes) get better treatment – car drivers are subsidising cyclists on the roads.

          Car drivers have to adjust their speed to accommodate bad surfaces and other difficult conditions – why can’t cyclists? Oh – I forgot – some cyclists feel they have a right to ride at maximum speed and everyone else has to make-way for them (please note – I am a cyclist but I accommodate road/path conditions (as well as other users) in my travels).

          Maybe cyclists should literally “get off their bikes” and record specific locations (including photos – just like I do for roads) submitting them to the ACT government (who apparently can’t be bothered to check things for themselves or choose not to act until someone specifically complains), maybe setting up a website (or maybe use the pedal-power web-site) to publicise these “mouldering” paths. That way the ACT government could be persuaded to not spend on “Rolls Royce design standards” for cycle paths around the major centres instead spending on these “mouldering” paths. Please note - I live in a 40-year-old suburb, and have yet to see any “mouldering”.

          Commenter
          John
          Location
          Canberra
          Date and time
          March 19, 2014, 9:10AM
      • So, we have the cost of new parking meters, the cost of additional parking inspectors and now the added danger of more cyclists being injured on our roads and the increased insurance costs that will be covered by the ACT taxpayer in the end.
        But the NCA still thinks it has struck gold by extending paid parking in the PT. Where is the logic in that?

        Commenter
        Grumpyoldfart
        Location
        Tuggers
        Date and time
        March 19, 2014, 7:14AM
        • So......its not just cyclists claiming insurance......its pedestrians too & probably anyone else who is . Nice bias........

          This scheme is open all the whole of the general public for anyone to use, what are the stats for people claiming car damage from pot holes?

          Commenter
          KB1971
          Date and time
          March 19, 2014, 7:22AM
          • My understanding is that if a motorist damages their car through hitting a pothole etc, it is the car owner's responsibility to meet repairs to their car. If a car driver is involved in an accident causing damage to another vehicle, the car driver (or their insurance company) foots the bill.

            The thought that TAMS (or their insurer) could be liable if a cyclist has a tumble is mind boggling. Potentially claims could bankrupt the Government. Who hasn't come of a bike art some stage where the surface may have been a contributing factor? I came of my push-bike a few years and so my wife. We didn't get any money....nor did we ask for it. If you ride a bike, it's your responsibility to ride to the conditions and accept some personal responsibility.

            Commenter
            What the....
            Date and time
            March 19, 2014, 10:05AM
          • What the.... said: "My understanding is that if a motorist damages their car through hitting a pothole etc, it is the car owner's responsibility to meet repairs to their car."

            Your understanding is wrong. If your vehicle is damaged due to poor road maintenance you can have the repairs paid for by TAMS; and if, like these cyclists, you are injured as a result of poor road maintenance you may be able to pursue the ACT government for damages.

            Just because you don't know your rights doesn't mean that those who do aren't entitled to them.

            Commenter
            Kapow!
            Date and time
            March 19, 2014, 12:52PM
        • It is high time that cyclists riding on public roads were required to have compulsory 3rd party insurance.

          Commenter
          Krasney
          Location
          Bruce
          Date and time
          March 19, 2014, 7:53AM
          • I completely agree - it would be an investment.

            Commenter
            Maddie
            Date and time
            March 19, 2014, 8:42AM

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