How fast are cyclists going?
Cyclists crossing Pyrmont Bridge over Darling Harbour are clocked by reporter Melanie Kembrey's speed gun. Did they break the 10km/hr speed limit?PT2M38S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-396ux 620 349 May 29, 2014
Cyclists are travelling at an average of almost twice the signposted speed limit during peak hour on one of Sydney's busiest pedestrian thoroughfares, a Sydney Morning Herald speed camera test has revealed.
While authorities say rangers are monitoring the Pyrmont Bridge around the clock, many riders are more than doubling the 10km/h advisory speed limit for the shared pedestrian and cyclist pathway.
The Herald used a hired speed camera to measure how fast cyclists were riding across the bridge for one hour during peak hour on a Thursday morning.
Collision course: Pyrmont Bridge is one of Sydney's busiest pedestrian thoroughfares. Photo: Peter Rae
Of the nearly two dozen cyclists monitored, the highest speed recorded was more than twice the limit at 23 km/h, while the overall average was slightly lower at 18.6 km/h.
Cyclists say the limit is too low and difficult to obey without losing balance while pedestrian advocates are calling for new laws to make speeding on a bike a fineable offence.
Cyclist Lucas Boardman, who was clocked riding at double the speed limit, said 10km/h was "awfully slow" and it would be faster for him to jog to work.
"Ten I think is a bit ridiculous for bikes. Twenty is probably a little fast but 15 would be something more reasonable. I think 10 for cyclists is awfully slow," Mr Boardman said.
Another cyclist, Lenny Mickelo, said he preferred to walk his bike over the bridge every day due to the low speed limit and high pedestrian volume. He said the shared path was the most difficult place in the city to ride.
"With pedestrians, it's kind of here, there and everywhere. Whereas when you're on the road you only have to worry about the crazy drivers," Mr Mickelo said.
A spokeswoman for the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority, which is responsible for the bridge, said the speed limit was under constant review and was determined after research into other shared paths in Sydney.
There have been 10 complaints made about speeding cyclists and four injuries requiring treatment as a result of collisions on the bridge in the past year, she said.
"Safety is the priority and rangers monitor the bridge all the time," the spokeswoman said. "The future use of the bridge and any upgrades are currently being considered in line with the removal of the monorail infrastructure."
But some pedestrians, including Danilo Avalone, from Bondi, said they feel unsafe crossing the bridge and always keep an eye out for bike riders.
"Most of [the cyclists] are nice but sometimes you can get some nasty ones that – I don't know maybe they are in a rush or running late – and they can be a little bit in your way," Mr Avalone said.
"There was one time when they stopped just before hitting me, I was happy that they actually stopped."
Cyclists will continue to ignore the limit until legislation is introduced to make it legally enforceable, the chairman of the Australian Pedestrian Council Harold Scruby said.
"Pyrmont Bridge is one of the busiest pedestrian thoroughfares in Sydney and all we've done is throw it over to the bikes," Mr Scruby said.
"It's being hit, it's the feeling of someone ringing a bell behind you and feeling intimidated the whole time. It's an absolute disgrace."
The Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority has previously ruled out installing a separate bike lane across the bridge, in part due to the high number of tourists who cross back and forth to take pictures.
BIKESydney president David Borella said separate infrastructure for cyclists rather than a higher speed limit or bike lanes would be the best way to reduce conflict between riders and walkers.
"That means building a separate structure to the bridge or providing a separate path around the foreshore. Riders don't mind riding longer if they have segregation," Mr Borella said.
Police have had both cyclists and pedestrians in their sights recently, conducting safety operations at busy thoroughfares across Sydney, Parramatta and Liverpool.
“Cyclist and pedestrians are road users too. All too often police are seeing pedestrians tuned into electronic devices, oblivious to traffic conditions, stepping out onto the road, while cyclists are undertaking risky behaviours putting them at danger of being injured or killed," NSW traffic and highway patrol commander, Acting Assistant Commissioner Stuart Smith said.
But it might be the humble scooter that next finds itself in the spotlight. The Herald spotted dozens of commuters crossing the Pyrmont Bridge on scooters giving no regard to the speed limit, with one clocking in at 17 km/h.