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Doctor says riding to work a 'life-threatening event'

Date

Peter Jean

Robert Lang on Yamba Drive yesterday. The doctor has cancelled an annual Ride2Work Day event for the Canberra Hospital.

Robert Lang on Yamba Drive yesterday. The doctor has cancelled an annual Ride2Work Day event for the Canberra Hospital. Photo: Rohan Thomson

A senior doctor at the Canberra Hospital has cancelled a Ride2Work Day event, warning that traffic conditions around the Woden hospital make it too dangerous for staff to cycle on the road.

Senior anaesthetist Robert Lang has been coordinating the annual Ride2Work Day events at the hospital's department of anaesthesia and operating theatre for several years.

Dr Lang regularly rides his bicycle to work from Belconnen.

But he said he was unwilling to organise this year's event, which will be held on October 17, because the only access was via 80km/h roads with narrow lanes on Hindmarsh Drive and Yamba Drive.

''This lack of bicycle-friendly access makes riding to Canberra Hospital a potentially life-threatening event. I cannot, in good conscience, encourage my colleagues to ride bicycles to work to Canberra Hospital when doing so would put their lives at risk,'' Dr Lang said.

A spokesman for Chief Minister Katy Gallagher said tenders were expected to be called late next month for an off-road shared path along Yamba Drive from Adelaide Avenue to the Canberra Hospital.

''Once in place, this shared path will provide improved access to the hospital and link into the existing on-road and off-road cycle routes,'' the spokesman said.

Dr Lang was also concerned about the safety of storage facilities for bicycles on the hospital campus.

''There's two bike cages and to some extent they're okay. There's swipe card access and they're floor-to-ceiling caged. But they're built over what looks like a drainage trough. It overflows with water whenever it rains. The floor's covered in mud, lighting is poor, it's an occupational health and safety issue.''

Ms Gallagher’s spokesman said bicycle lockers were available at the hospital adjacent to buildings two, four and five which had facilities for helmets and baggage.

Two secure bicycle storage areas were available for staff and visiting medical officers only. Lockers for helmets and baggage would soon be provided in one of the two staff bicycle areas.

Pedal Power communications manager Matt Larkin said Canberra had a good network of on and off-road paths and lanes for bicycling.

"There’s missing links and we’re campaigning to fix them, especially around town centres," Mr Larkin said.

  • A  Ride2Work Day breakfast will be held in Garema Place between 6.30am and 9am on October 17.

28 comments

  • It's easy to see that Mr Lang's agenda here is for better services for hospital staff. A bike path is out to tender and he is still complaining. I'd rather the hospital spent its money on better services for patients. Most people, Mr Lang, have to chain their bikes up in the street. Please be grateful for what you already have.

    Commenter
    Peter
    Location
    Holt
    Date and time
    September 19, 2012, 12:49PM
    • whats wrong with the Dr suggesting better roads and bicycle storage heavens he's trying to help the situation accident's mean more people need medical help its pretty obvious, and being physically active means less people need expensive medical treatment.

      Commenter
      amro
      Date and time
      September 19, 2012, 3:15PM
  • Cyclists are never happy are they. They just want more and more of the limited space available for cars, trucks and buses.

    Just about every main road including some in the suburbs are now greened off making it hazardous for everyone. You can't even walk around Civic or for that matter the lakes anymore without having to make way for them throttling through at hazardous speeds.

    Cycling during the peak hours is dangerous for everyone because cyclists shouldn't be on the road during peak hour. How about instead of taking more of the cyslists share of the road we introduce a rule cyclists shouldn't be on the main arterial routes during peak hour.

    Commenter
    View
    Date and time
    September 19, 2012, 12:56PM
    • After subsidising car infrastructure for decades, cyclists are saying: "now it's our turn".

      Commenter
      Macbeth
      Location
      Dunsinane
      Date and time
      September 19, 2012, 2:12PM
    • More bikes = fewer cars = fewer traffic jams. What part of that is hard to understand?

      Cycling should be encouraged by providing adequate facilities. It's an embarrassment for a national capital to have bike lanes that peter out into dirt tracks even in the Parliamentary Triangle - and Dr Lang is well within his rights to speak out.

      Commenter
      JCarroway
      Location
      Canberra
      Date and time
      September 19, 2012, 4:23PM
    • Unbelievably ignorant comment. What can you do, such people are among us, and they vote. Increasing dependance on cars, and cities being structured around it, are probably the largest single contributors to a myriad of environmental issues (including two of the biggest, CO2 production and car pollution) and our single biggest remaining public health issue, obesity (now that we are close to the end game with tobacco, the previous biggest killer of the last century - ahead of all wars combined). When a person cycle instead of drives, they: produce no pollution, decrease noise pollution, keep themselves fit and decrease the likelihoods they will be a drain on the health system with myriad chronic diseases in the future (and no, most of them don't die in a crash, not as many drivers get fat and develop type 2 diabetes), produce no CO2 and don't contribute to that problem, decrease congestion, present less of threat in terms of accidents (people are ultimately killed by the tonne of metal travelling at high speeds, not simply crashing a bike), increased social interaction (you can see a person, they are not seperated from outside world in a pod, which makes myriad car-centric suburbs soul-less).

      Commenter
      I must say
      Date and time
      September 19, 2012, 4:42PM
  • As much as we should encourage bike use, the harsh reality is that they are a poor mix with traffic. And with pedestrians too it should be noted, before the lyrca fanatics start the blame game. My toddler son was once hit by a cycle on a shared bike/pedestrian walkway. Bikes need dedicated networks, and anything less is just messing around and avoiding the harsh reality that bikes will never mix with pedestrians and cars safely.

    Commenter
    Craig More
    Date and time
    September 19, 2012, 12:58PM
    • Cyclist are a hazard around civic everyday. Cyclists need to shut up and stop whingeing until they can let people walk in peace on footpaths!!!!!!

      Commenter
      WotTha?????
      Date and time
      September 19, 2012, 1:33PM
      • Yes, cars kill 1500 people a year. Bikes have killed one person in the last ten years. Lets get rid of bikes they are dangerous.

        Commenter
        Riddley Walker
        Location
        Inland
        Date and time
        September 19, 2012, 2:21PM
      • I'm not a left winger so my first reaction isn't to "get rid of" or ban things I don't agree with. My point still stands, until cyclists stop being a danger to pedestrians on footpaths then they need to stop whingeing about the people who pay the taxes for the roads actually using them. P.S. Riddley give us a break hey, this isn't your personal soap box.

        Commenter
        WotTha?????
        Date and time
        September 19, 2012, 3:41PM

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