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October, 2017

Unley has started installing improvements to the Rugby Porter route.  There are a number of welcome features that are yet to be common on South Australia’s streets.  But this simple, cheap innovation – a sharrow indicating that cyclists should occupy the centre of the lane at the entrance to a roundabout  – is one that we hope will be adopted by all Councils. 

Fortunately Adelaide City Council has also taken up the idea, at the intersection of Finniss Street and McKinnon Parade.

And while in Unley, you might also notice new BikeDirect signage (right).  While most of us would regard the old BikeDirect signs with affection, there's no doubt these are more noticeable.

In this month’s issue

Dockless bike share comes to Adelaide

Consultation on Blackwood roundabout expansion

Relaxation of helmet laws?

Ride to Work Day: locations for improvement

Finally, there are links to some recent discussions on the Adelaidecyclists forum and our Facebook page.

Dockless bikeshare comes to Adelaide

If you live, work or visit the City, you probably will have seen yellow ofo bikes on the footpaths.  50 bikes were placed in the city this month, in ofo’s first foray into Australia.  Unlike Melbourne’s blue bikes or Brisbane’s CityCycle bikes, these are not associated with a bicycle docking station and are termed ‘dockless’.  Dockless bike share has been controversial in many cities because the bikes have been left at inappropriate locations and have been a target for vandals, who have thrown them in rivers, put them up in trees, etc. 
So far, the experience in Adelaide seems to be much better, with little evidence of misuse. ofo have claimed that the bikes are “hot property” and have announced that they will be putting 50 more bikes on the streets.  ofo has criticised competitors in Australia (e.g. Obike, in Melbourne) for “giving the industry a bad name by recklessly fast tracking their launches without proper resourcing, product testing and staff to manage vandalism”.  (Weekend Australian, 21 October.) 
Without apparent publicity, Obikes are now also on Adelaide streets.  The photo of an Obike pictured here was taken on the Frome Bikeway at Halifax Street.  It was not well parked.
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Consultation on the Blackwood roundabout expansion

DPTI is consulting on its planned expansion of the roundabout at the (pedestrian) centre of Blackwood.  According to the website, "The Blackwood roundabout upgrade is aimed at improving traffic efficiency and safety as well as pedestrian access through the area."

DPTI is planning for future increases in traffic and has designed a roundabout to deal with expected peak hourly flows of cars.  (And if you plan for more traffic, guess what you get?  Surprise!  The census data just released shows that Adelaide has the highest proportion of commuters driving to work of any Australian capital city.)

Two-lane roundabouts are scary for cyclists. (Think Britannia, Greenhill/ Glynburn, and those on Anzac Highway in Glenelg.)  But if you’ve ever had to negotiate them as a pedestrian you will know how difficult they are because you don’t know what the cars are going to do until the last second, because there are none of those gaps that traffic  lights produce, and because Australian roundabout design enables traffic to maintain relatively high speeds.

It seems the traffic engineers who have produced the Blackwood roundabout concept realize this, designing the intersection as a pedestrian no-go area.  (Pity about the shops!) The only pedestrian crossing close to it is on Station Road, which is proposed to be one lane, one way.

If you have a concern, please tell them.  There is an online comment form at the project’s webpage.
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Relaxation of helmet laws?

It is interesting to see moves to relax mandatory helmets in order to encourage more cycling.  The Northern Territory, with the nation’s highest levels of cycling and has no more cyclist injuries than any other states, permits cyclists over the age of 16 to go helmet-free when cycling on footpaths and bike paths. 

We note that there is an exemption for passengers riding in pedicabs in South Australia and that the ACT is reviewing whether helmets should be required in low-speed zones.

The introduction of new dockless bike share has raised the issue of mandatory helmets in several states.  The dockless bikes that we have seen have mainly had helmets attached, but the idea of sharing helmets must surely be off-putting for some. 

Because helmets are such a contentious (and in our view, distracting) subject, the Bicycle Institute has a policy to not have a policy on helmet laws.  However, the committee has been asked for its support for a possible trial relaxation of the helmet laws in line with NT laws and for those using bike share bikes .  On the basis of evidence presented at the Australian Walking and Cycling Conference, we have decided to agree to this request.  Since this will raise anger levels, a potted summary of some basic data/ thought processes is provided on our website.
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Ride2work Day: locations for improvement

Our Ride2Work Day stand had a huge map of the metropolitan area, on which people could post notes identifying things they wanted fixed.  Here are some of the ideas that were posted:
  • Unley Road: fix the road surface on the bike lanes. 
    Those of us who use arterial roads know how dangerous rough pavements can be, encouraging us to swerve out at the last moment, possibly into overtaking traffic.
  • Linear Park in the City: install lights. 
    West Torrens and Charles Sturt are lighting the Linear Park.  Adelaide City Council has lights on the route from Morphett Street to Hackney.  But the path remains in the dark west of Morphett Street to Bowden.  Wouldn’t it be great if ACC installed lighting to coincide with the re-opening of the Outer Harbor Greenway!
  • Sir Doug Nicholls (Panda) Bridge, City: remove bollard. 
    This is the bridge across the Torrens near the zoo.  After the bollard was hit by what appears to have been a works truck, ACC replaced it by a narrower one that’s well lit.  But that didn’t stop one of BISA’s committee hitting it recently, requiring treatment at the NRAH.  Our first question is always: should a bollard be there at all?  See also discussion on our Facebook page.
  • Greenhill Road crossing at Porter Street: use flashing amber lights out of peak. 
    While a crossing with traffic lights appears to have encouraged more cyclists to use this route, it is obviously frustrating for more confident cyclists, some of whom would have preferred just the median refuge.  The idea of changing the lighting to flashing amber at night and in the middle of the day seems a great idea.
  • Rugby-Porter route, Unley:  improve lighting. 
    The Council and State government have done a good job improving this route, with many new cyclists as a result.  But the lighting still is based on the low traffic levels of residential streets, not recognizing the route’s status as an arterial for cyclists.
  • Munno Para to Evanston: install a bikeway alongside the railway. 
    The only option for those wanting to cycle between Gawler and the rest of the Adelaide metropolitan area is along Main North Road.  There’s plenty of space and no obstacles alongside the railway.  This should be a priority feature of the Gawler Greenway.
  • Blackwood roundabout: DPTI plans have no consideration for cyclists. 
    See item above.
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Here are some of the discussions on the Adelaidecyclists website.  Use it to contribute to the discussion - or to start a discussion of your own.

Reading these always shakes me up... (discussion of crash that has left a cyclist critically injured)

Blackwood roundabout

Sharrow at Roundabout (interesting discussion of important innovation)



From our Facebook page 

Here are a few of our posts from the last month.  Click on the photos to link to item.
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Pedal Update is a newsletter of the Bicycle Institute of South Australia Inc., published monthly.  The Bicycle Institute is incorporated in South Australia.  Material published in Pedal Update is copyright unless otherwise stated.  Articles and graphics may be copied and republished by non-profit organisations, provided the author and Pedal Update are given credit.  When by lines are used, opinions published in Pedal Update are not necessarily those of the Bicycle Institute.
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