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Cycle paths more dangerous than roads

Date

Peter Jean

File photo of cyclists riding on the path around Lake Tuggeranong.

File photo of cyclists riding on the path around Lake Tuggeranong. Photo: Graham Tidy

Canberra's off-road "cycle paths" have become a free-for-all and are the site of more serious bike accidents than roads, new research has revealed.

Researchers from the George Institute interviewed 313 cyclists who presented to the ACT's two hospital emergency departments after accidents.

George Institute research fellow Liz de Rome said she had been surprised to discover the average injury severity was more serious for accidents that occurred on shared pathways than on roads.

Ms de Rome said the recommended speed limit for pathways was 15km/h, but the average estimated speed being travelled by cyclists involved in accidents was more than 20km/h.

She said the regulation of cycling in shared areas should be reviewed.

"They are not regulated by police because they are not part of the road reserve. And so really it's sort of like a free-for-all zone," she said.

"The default speed limit in the ACT, as in most states, is 50 [km/h]. So people are doing 50 and it's not safe."

The study found that full-bodied coverage, including gloves, shoes, long-sleeved tops and full-length pants, was effective at preventing or reducing some injuries.

The study, which was funded by the NRMA-ACT Road Safety Trust, backed the establishment of more on-road dedicated cycle lanes.

32 comments so far

  • Has the question been asked as to the numbers of people riding on the bike paths vs the numbers of people riding on the roads? I wouldnt ride on most roads unless there were very very few cars, but i would happily ride on any bike path- seems i would be much more likely to be injured on a bike path, but i would say that I am aslo safer.

    I am also much less likely to due from skiing in Perisher than skiing in Ularu...

    Commenter
    Luke
    Date and time
    March 20, 2012, 1:12PM
    • As a runner on bike tracks around the lake, I stick to the left hand side and always look behind before passing slower runners, prams, people walking etc. However, it doesn't deter those racing cyclists (which unforunately are in the majority) from making it dangerous by playing chicken from behind (passing as close as possible at speed) or diving between people giong in opposite directions. It is worse if there are a pack racing at speed and more than once I've been told to 'get off the bike track'.
      Around the parliamentary triangle it should be speed limited particularly during the peak tourism times. Whilst quick to condemn Canberra motorists for selfish behaviour re:roads, the biking fraternity could de well to look at the behaviour in their own 'backyard' so to speak.

      Commenter
      Geedess
      Location
      Canberra
      Date and time
      March 20, 2012, 1:28PM
      • More injuries on paths

        More Deaths on road.

        I'd much rather be injured than dead.

        Commenter
        dunners
        Date and time
        March 20, 2012, 1:37PM
        • Having more on-road dedicated cycle lanes is increasing the convenience of a vocal minority at the expense of the majority. Canberra has a network of cycle paths; cyclists should use them. If these paths are dangerous then cyclists should improve their self-regulation. If these need enhancing them then this should be costed against usage and benefit. Peak hour congestion is already a problem without unnecessary reducing road space. The cost of additional congestion should be included in the cost benefit analysis.

          Commenter
          Jack
          Location
          Canberra
          Date and time
          March 20, 2012, 1:43PM
          • We need an integrated policy of off-road paths for beginners and little kids, on-road dedicated cycle lanes for intermediates and better driver attitudes to protect the more advanced riders who ride on the roads.

            Commenter
            Steve
            Date and time
            March 20, 2012, 1:43PM
            • Whenever new builds or renovators around here dig up a footpath for service installation the majority stay there as yawning mud traps just wide enough to make walking with a frame or riding my disability scooter dangerous. WHY are they not repaired. Not only does it look unsightly but it is showing a complete lack of civic pride or integrity to complete and restore the path. I had a bad fall on a path where the pavement has cracked and crazed. The black eye was a conversation starter for a week. A year later no repair to that site either.

              Commenter
              daisydelta
              Location
              O,Connor
              Date and time
              March 20, 2012, 1:56PM
              • After 16 years of cycling in Canberra that's the first I've heard of a 15 km/h recommended limit. It's farcical. I use cycle paths to commute - I'm not going to straggle along at 15k. If attention is turned to the cycle (or shared) pathways - how about a bit of investment in upkeep. We have to put up with conditions that would not be tolerated on the roads (yes, I also drive a car). That might do something to reduce the injury rate.

                Commenter
                afterwords
                Location
                Curtin
                Date and time
                March 20, 2012, 1:57PM
                • When will cyclists get registered and make a financial contribution to road usage and maintenance ? User pays and the many negligent and above-the-law riders out there get identified.

                  Commenter
                  Hacka
                  Location
                  Canberra
                  Date and time
                  March 20, 2012, 3:15PM
                  • Mate if you think your car rego pays for roads.... you are dead wrong. Your rego wouldn't pay to keep the road out the front of your house in good condition. Why do car drivers (of which I'm one) always bring this one up? It makes you look silly.

                    Commenter
                    Wha??
                    Date and time
                    March 20, 2012, 5:06PM
                  • Hacka, most cyclists also own cars and pay rego. While we are out on our bikes, our cars are sitting at home, reducing wear and tear and congestion on the roads. We are more than paying our way.

                    Commenter
                    significance
                    Date and time
                    March 20, 2012, 6:06PM

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