Living Streets Canberra chair Leon Arundell. Photo: Jay Cronan
New trial measures including rubber kerbing and rumble strips designed to keep cars and bikes apart on Canberra’s roads will work more effectively if the ACT Government simplifies the road rules, according to a Canberra pedestrian interest group.
New separation measures will be installed and trialled on ACT roads in the next 12 months, as the government attempts to make cycling safer by keeping cars and bikes apart.
Minister for Territory and Municipal Services Shane Rattenbury announced the new trial measures, which will be installed at six different sites across Canberra, on Thursday.
The four new types of road separation will be kept in place until April 2015, as the government attempts to improve separation between on-road cyclists and cars.
The trials range from low-profile rubber kerbing to so-called "rumble strips" or vibralines.
But Leon Arundell, the chair of pedestrian group Living Streets Canberra, says people on separated cycle paths face legal hurdles at every intersection.
“The current road rules require every child or adult who is cycling on a separated path to give way to all other traffic, at every intersection, except for oncoming vehicles that are turning right,” he said.
Mr Arundell said the ACT currently has one set of give way rules for drivers and on-road cyclists, another set for pedestrians, and a third set for off-road cyclists, and that these rules caused the Civic Cycle Loop to become “an engineering dog's breakfast”.
“Most people on the Rudd Street section of the loop prefer to cycle on the road or the footpath, rather than bump up and down along an off-road path that becomes an on-road lane at every intersection, and reverts to an off-road path as it leaves the intersection,” he said.
A survey conducted in 2010 by the Canberra Pedestrian Forum found only forty per cent of drivers and pedestrians in the ACT knew the rules for giving way to pedestrians at intersections.
Mr Arundell believes the ACT Government should simplify the road rules, so that any person who is turning at an intersection must give way to any other road user who is travelling along the street the person is leaving - be it a pedestrian or a cyclist.
“This will make cycling safer and more convenient for Canberra's 4,700 adult cycle commuters, and also for our 4,000 children who ride on footpaths on their way to school,” he said.