[VIC] Does The Law on Cyclists Needs to Change?

I drove back from Lorne via the Great Ocean Road [GOR] yesterday and anyone who has driven on the GOR would know it is a little narrow and simply a long And winding road – with a great view of the sea.

Now I usually support Cyclists and I have ridden my bike to work in the past etc but the GOR and roads like it should not be for cyclists or at least not for cyclists riding double file.

I have to use this example as probably the dumbest women I have ever seen – two women ridding double file more interested in having a chat then actually riding or trying to right straight, swerving all over the shop on the GOR – now I slow down to make sure I don’t hit anyone but a number of drivers don’t and I know the law is on the side cyclists riding double file but it really shouldn’t be on certain roads a car missed this rider by no more then a few centimetres simply because she needs to ‘chat’
Im not saying all roads but certain roads would you change the law too:

Poll Options

  • 287
    Some popular roads should ban cyclists
  • 77
    The law should force cyclists should ride single file on certain roads
  • 83
    The law is fine drivers need to change
  • 7
    I think the law needs to change but I don’t know what the solution is
  • 95
    You cant stop stupidity there will always be stupid drivers and cyclists

Comments

  • +6 votes

    Popcorn anyone?

  • +33 votes

    I support for any city to have more bike-friendly roads.
    But some roads shouldn't be used by cyclist unless there are some upgrades.

  • +1 vote

    Here we go ladies and gents, settle in!

  • +10 votes

    Just enforce the rules that are already there and I'm good. Thanks.

    • +4 votes

      Yep, OP talks about the cyclists "swerving all over the shop" and concentrating more on having a chat. Sounds like they were a dangerous hazard.

      If a car was driving like that, the driver could be fined. Why not cyclists?

      Fortunately, most of the cyclists I see don't act like this and I'm more than happy to slow down to pass them safely. I can't think of a single trip I've ever made where arriving an additional 10 seconds later would have made any notable difference to life. (Obviously, I don't drive an emergency vehicle ;)

  • +46 votes

    I have no clue about riding a bike but I would think them riding two abreast would be safer for them. If there's only one, a bad driver would be more inclined to overtake irrespective of how safe it is.

    I always try to keep an extra safe distance when it comes to bicycles or motorbikes, and especially don't like to cut infront of trucks.
    Other than that, I'm probably a shit driver.

    • +14 votes

      Two abreast is safer for cyclist and drivers, cyclists for visabilty, vehicles for less distance to pass. Just need common sense on both sides.

    • +4 votes

      Safer for one of the cyclists at least

    •  

      If there's only one, a bad driver would be more inclined to overtake irrespective of how safe it is.

      There's two sides to this argument though. You might be right that some drivers could be deterred from overtaking, but that is only because there is less room to overtake and therefore the maneuver is inherently less safe. You've got the potential to turn an otherwise safe overtaking situation into one that isn't.

  • +22 votes

    I cycle regularly, and ride with a club. Our protocol is to only ride double file when it is safe to do so (road/weather/traffic/road rules permitting).
    Having recently driven on the road in question, I think the two cyclists you observed were barking mad.
    In a short period of time on this road, I witnessed several incidents where drivers had trouble negotiating roundabouts, traffic lights and bends in the road. My immediate response was that those drivers were probably international tourists and may have been inexperienced in driving on the left or driving the car type they had hired or were fatigued from their flight.
    Near Cape Otway, one such vehicle, heading in the opposite direction to us, crossed the road completely and hit uneven ground on the verge on our side of the road at considerable speed. The vehicle immediately in front of me narrowly avoided the collision. So riding double file here, definitely no for me.

    • +1 vote

      Agree. Its bad enough in a car let alone a bike. My personal favourite was a tourist spotting a Koala sitting on the armco on a particularly unsighted dangerous stretch. She did a full emergency stop straddling the double centreline and got straight out of the car for a photo shoot.

  • +20 votes

    If there is a cycleway available near the road and a cyclist still insists on riding on the road, this should be an offence.

    Where I live, there is a perfectly good cycleway right next to the road. The cyclists still use the road at half the speed of the cars using it. The road is quite narrow and cars that try and leave enough space are often crossing over into the oncoming lane, all while the cycleway is completely empty.

    • -16 votes

      The alternative to making a dangerous pass and crossing over into the oncoming lane is … being patient and waiting for a safe(r) time/road to pass. Radical, I know.. but try it.

    • +12 votes

      Roads are for all vehicles??

    • +25 votes

      The cycleway may not be ‘perfectly good’. Quite often they are interrupted by intersections, head off in the wrong direction , crowded with slow pedestrians or many other issues. As a regular cyclist there are sections I will go out of my way to use the cycleway, but others where the road is just a better option.

      • +8 votes

        I see your point and I get that. And when I come across cyclists doing the right thing, I am happy for them to be on the road. Unfortunately, a majority of the time I am involved in traffic with cyclists near a cycleway, it’s usually someone who is not capable of keeping up with traffic and should totally be on the empty cycleway.

        It just seems to me that cyclists scream that they want to be safe, but when offered their own space to ride safely, they don’t want onto use it, because it doesn’t suit their agenda.

        I am also a cyclist, and there is no way in hell I would ride on a road if there was a perfectly good cycleway I could use. But then again, I am also not fit enough to keep my bike going along at 50~60km/h. :D

        • +2 votes

          And when I come across cyclists doing the right thing, I am happy for them to be on the road.

          There are plenty of stupids out there in cars and on bikes. I’ve matured a bit over the years and the road rage has subsided. It’s not worth the effort. A shrug and a sigh. Perhaps referring to said muppet as such and get on with it. Too many idiots to get all cranky every time I see one.

          • +8 votes

            @Euphemistic: Omg, don’t get me wound up about stupid car drivers! :D (and stupid truck drivers and motorcycle riders)

            The problem I think is coming from peoples perception of self importance and lack of empathy for others, and a Dunning-Kruger effect related to people’s ability to drive compared with their thoughts on how good they are.

            What we need are more competent drivers who are more respectful of each other. People don’t realise that if everyone just calmed down and actually git gud in traffic, it would all go a lot easier.

            And I gave up getting angry in traffic when I realised that the average IQ of some of these drivers is well below 90. Added to that, one weekend in NSW they had a huge drink and drug driving blitz, and it turned out that 1 in 6 people they tested, tested positive to either alcohol of illicit drugs… I’m angry that these people think it’s ok, but I now realise that they are driving like shit because they are one step on the IQ ladder above eating their own shit and are probably off their face on something.

        • +1 vote

          That's just the thing, you're talking about cyclists as if they are one homogeneous group. The infrastructure is there so the vulnerable bike users can safely travel from A to B. However it is important that we preserve the right of less vulnerable bike users to elect not to use inferior infrastructure if they want to travel at a faster rate.

          As a society we have an incentive to continue deprioritising car transport and prioritising active transport modes in their stead. Reducing the options for bike users doesn't fit into that picture.

      • +5 votes

        You see slow pedestrians as a reason not to use it, but cars are thinking the same things they are seeing slow cyclists clogging up traffic… Only cars don't have somewhere else to drive that is more convenient.

        • +2 votes

          A cyclist choosing a road over a crowded sharepath is the same as a motorist choosing a 4 lane highway over a narrow residential street with speed humps.

          What motorists don’t see is that it’s not a cyclist that they may need to wait for a few seconds to pass ‘holding them up’, but the thousands of other cars that require us to have traffic lights and that hold us up for 2 min at every red light.

      •  

        crowded with slow pedestrians

        Ironic to hear this as an argument from a cyclist.

    • +10 votes

      :D taxpayers pay for roads, which include truckies, cyclists, buses, and car drivers - sometimes a mixture of all!

      Taxes on fuel only cover a small % of road maintenance.

      Cyclists put less traffic on the road as there is less cars.

      Perhaps should ban cars with no passengers as well to have more space on the road.

        • +8 votes

          Using your logic.

          Pedestrians use roads, and shouldnt be able to use them cross the road.

          There would be no joke about why the chicken crossed the road. Do you want to live in such a society? I certainly dont.

          Public goods are paid for by the public. Car rego covers insurance for when there is a crash and general government revenue.

          • +6 votes

            @Pierrefranklin:

            Pedestrians use roads, and shouldnt be able to use them cross the road.

            The action of crossing the road is to bypass the "use" of the road. If there was no road, the pedestrian wouldn't have to cross the road and would be better off in that instance.

        • +6 votes

          Just think of it as cars paying for the wear and tear they cause when using the roads.

        • +7 votes

          Everyone pays for everything, but motorists pay specifically to be able to use roads, cyclists don't.

          How? Via rego? What about cyclists who own a car? They pay full price for their rego but use the roads less. Should cyclists be given a rego discount then? They're subsidising road usage by non-cycling car drivers after all.

          Cyclists take cars off roads but they also pay less when they do.

          Do you mean via fuel taxes? What about EV owners? They pay less luxury car tax and stamp duty than normal cars, zero fuel tax, and use more of the road and cause more road damage than cyclists. Do you think EVs shouldn't be on the roads either?

        • +7 votes

          Virtually none of the taxes and fees motorists pay for the right to use to road actually go to maintaining the road.

          Also plenty of cyclists (myself included) own a car; pay rego etc.

      •  

        Can my rego be adjusted based on the number of passengers I carry? No, they indexed to inflation (in Victoria at least). Yet somehow roads are still rubbish.

        • +1 vote

          Can my rego be adjusted based on the number of passengers I carry?

          That’s a brilliant idea. Pay less rego if you carry more people. No idea how it could be calculated, but imagine if all commuters carpooled to reduce their rego fees. So much less traffic.

  • +7 votes

    I think cyclists should be banned on all road with a 70km/h plus limit. It's too dangerous, especially on the winding roads.

    The law should change to allow cyclists to ride on the footpaths. Most of the time they're not used by pedestrians and are relatively safer compared to roads.

    • +3 votes

      Sometimes a 70km/h or higher road is the only way to cycle somewhere. It’s only dangerous because drivers think that the posted limit is also a minimum and don’t drive to the conditions. We’ve been brainwashed to expect an unimpeded drive everywhere when we should be driving to expect he unexpected.

      Perhaps we should just lower the speed limit everywhere?

      • +8 votes

        It’s only dangerous because drivers think that the posted limit is also a minimum and don’t drive to the conditions. We’ve been brainwashed to expect an unimpeded drive everywhere when we should be driving to expect he unexpected.

        Yes, so why not allow pedestrians to walk on the road, and also kids on scooters, and also skaters, why not add some cows and donkeys and horses while you're at it? Driving is about expecting the unexpected, so more random things on the road means more unexpected things, right?

        As much as you might think I'm joking, that's a serious question. Any rationale you can give for those groups not being on the road can exactly be applied to cyclists as well.

      • +3 votes

        Love the fallacy of “its a speed limit so anything under is safe!!1!1!”

        Speed differential is the biggest cause of accidents; either directly or indirectly (primarily by prompting lane changes). By travelling in, say, a 70 zone at 40km/h, you’re creating a road hazard. Cutting the speed limits to match bikes (and this eliminate the dangers the bikes cause) is not feasible, since bikes are not necessary to keep our society going, but motor/electric vehicles are; you don’t see bikes delivering groceries to shops, for example.

        • +2 votes

          Most riders can easily ride/cruise at 20-30km/h. It's much harder to get to and maintain 40km/h. Hence why I think cyclists should only ride on roads where the limit is 60km/h or under.

          Lowering the speed limit everywhere does not make sense. There should be more sensible laws for cycling. We have relatively good footpaths, why not let cyclists use them instead of building or modifying the existing infrastructure to accommodate for cyclists? Children under 16 years are allowed to ride on the footpath. You don't hear them on the news whereas you occasionally hear a collision between a motorist and a cyclist on the road.

          If cyclists want to use roads above a certain speed limit i.e freeways, why not have the RMS charge them for a fitness test to ensure they can keep up at a decent pace and charge them for a permit to use those roads. That'll at least fix a pothole on the Princes Hwy.

      • +2 votes

        Perhaps we should just lower the speed limit everywhere?

        Settle down Harold.

        We’ve been brainwashed to expect an unimpeded drive everywhere when we should be driving to expect he unexpected.

        No, people have been brainwashed to watch their speedo because "speed kills".

      • -3 votes

        I'm going to disagree with that. It's just not safe and you're asking to get hit when riding on a 70km/h road.

        I cycle, and believe me when I say it's already very difficult to surpass EVEN 40km/h, let alone cycle with an average speed of 50km/h. Riding at a speed 30km/h (realistically much less) under the speed limit competing with cars is just really bad practice.

        • +1 vote

          Thousands of cyclists get along fine on 70km/h roads. Of course there are imbeciles who think they can’t cross over the centreline or wait for 10s to pass safely but on the whole it’s not ‘bad practice’.

          If anything we need more cyclists out there to make drivers more aware. Drivers that are more conditioned to seeing cyclists will make it safer.

    • +9 votes

      The law should change to allow cyclists to ride on the footpaths. Most of the time they're not used by pedestrians and are relatively safer compared to roads.

      I take it you're not a cyclist and/or haven't been for a serious ride on a bike since you were 10. Footpaths are not safer, even without pedestrians.

      • +3 votes

        Footpaths are suitable for riding occasionally and as an alternative to an unsafe section I use them occasionally. But they are not for everyone because you typically need to ride much slower and have the added danger of cars entering and leaving driveways without looking properly.

      • +1 vote

        I ride frequently but I don't ride seriously. I honestly don't see the appeal riding quicker than 40km/h. Most cyclists wear a helmet and some basic cycling clothing. Once you stack it on the bike at that speed and above, it'll cause serious injuries.

        All you've said is that footpaths are not safer but haven't provided any reasoning. Care to explain how they're not safer?

        I'm happy to explain why I think footpaths are a better and safer option:
        - Footpaths are mostly clear or there's few pedestrians at a time
        - Cyclists can easily give way to pedestrians by riding on the nature strip
        - A cyclist colliding with a pedestrian on the footpath will result in less serious injuries most of the time compared to a motor vehicle colliding with a cyclist
        - Won't need to take up the left lane and hold up traffic
        - No need for nonsense rules like leaving a 1.5m gap between a vehicle and cyclist
        - Some footpaths are shit forcing cyclists to slow down and ride carefully
        - Less likely to encounter deranged motorists who try to run cyclists over

        • +2 votes

          I've been over 85km/hr reasonably regularly (weekly at least) on my bike coming down hills. Not sure what that would equate to on a footpath but probably not good.

          Just as 'Driver' covers a pretty wide range of folks in powered vehicles from Truckies to people in Reliant Robins. Cyclist covers a wide range from crazy Deliveroo riders with no helmet or lights in a thunderstorm on the princes hwy through to weekend MAMILs on expensive bikes (myself included) even through to professional racers out training.

          Similarly much of the angst seems to be around specific roads, in this case the great Ocean Rd but often around inner city congested arterial roads.

          I think that if you are pottering along with your kids on a KMart bike at 5 km/hr you are probably OK to use the footpath. I dont think it is OK for my MAMIL paceline to mount the footpath at 45-50 km/hr when we are making an attempt on a Strava Segment.

          • +1 vote

            @2ndeffort:

            I dont think it is OK for my MAMIL paceline to mount the footpath at 45-50 km/hr when we are making an attempt on a Strava Segment.

            Most definitely not. If you can keep up at 45-50km/h then I think it's sensible to use the road.

            Most of the time I see cyclists ride at a snails pace taking up and an entire lane on a 50km/h or 60km/h road. It would safer for those cyclists to use the footpaths, not the road. However the law currently forbids that.

            I think that if you are pottering along with your kids on a KMart bike at 5 km/hr you are probably OK to use the footpath.

            Even without kids, cyclists should be allowed to ride on the footpath at 5km/h. People can walk faster than that. The worst case scenario is that those cyclists fall in a hole and stack it, they'll get a few grazes whereas if they ride on the road, an inattentive driver can run up their arse and kill them.

    •  

      So all those country roads, hardly ever used by anyone, the rolling hills with cows and farms and greenery right out in the middle of nowhere, they should all be off limits to cyclists? Those are pretty much the only roads most of the cyclists I know ride on. We're not interested in riding on footpaths, we dont ride to go anywhere (except maybe a coffee shop), we ride to ride. If your rule was enacted I would have to get rid of my bike.

      • +1 vote

        If your rule was enacted I would have to get rid of my bike.

        Don’t give the haters exactly what they want!

  • +5 votes

    I used to commute (actually commute, not holiday drives) down the GOR and the behaviour of both drivers and cyclists on that road are appalling. I think there is some nuance to this, but I'll point out the issues I have with drivers first, so as to be objective and fair to all sides.

    The problem I have with drivers on the GOR (and other winding roads in general) are that many are just not experienced enough to be able to manage those sorts of tight bends. They often sit on the brakes too long coming out of a bend (especially down a hill), and they often will swerve onto oncoming traffic because they do not know how to take such tight curves and simply cannot judge how far the left front of their car actually is from objects (they often leave way too much space from their front left). I used to drive down on the GOR all the time and have had so many near misses with drivers swerving into my lane.

    Now for cyclists, I come at this from a traffic flow argument. Yes, many drivers on the GOR are tourists, but many people also need to use the GOR to commute - that includes going to work, dropping kids off at school, going to the shops…etc. Simply put, it's not only a hazard, but also a very big burden on drivers when they have to go at < 30 km/h on a road where you can do 60 - 80 km/h in most sections simply because you have cyclists that want to ride double file.

    I support cyclists in inner cities and I do think that if more of us took up cycling, we would ease congestion and have heaps of other positive effects. I was sent to the Netherlands last year for work where they have a huge cycling culture. The great thing there is that cyclists are actually very considerate (unlike here, where all suburban cyclists seem to want to be the next Cadel Evans), the roads are actually designed for cycling, and they do not cycle where they will cause an issue with traffic.

    • +4 votes

      Thanks for your insights.

      One point you make sticks out to me.

      I'm not sure why you think it's such a "very big burden" to slow down a little when passing cyclists. Most people drive automatics these days, and going down to 30kmh from 60-80kmhs, then back up again isn't really that onerous is it?

      Certainly if you take the view that nothing should ever get in your way it's an affront, but when I drive I don't even think of it as a minor inconvenience. It's just a way of sharing the road with other users.

      Re: your take on inner city cycling, have you considered that some of what you perceive to be bad attitudes by cyclists or the practice of cyclists in Australia cycling where 'they will cause an issue with traffic' is due to the lack of decent cycling infrastructure? I mean, you praise the attitudes of dutch cyclists being considerate, but it's easier for them when cyclists are actually prioritised above motorists in the way they design their infrastructure.

      If you had the same amount of infrastructure in Oz, you may well find attitudes to be more considerate. And it needs to be a good infrascture - not a patchwork of inconsistent lanes and off road paths - for it to have impact.

      Anyway, if you have some time this video explains how the Dutch built their cycling infrastructure. In short, it wasn't always a cycling paradise. Growing post war wealth resulted in highway and car infrastructure building and then lots of pedestrians getting killed. There was a campaign in the 60s and 70s to push back against this resulting in what you have now:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XuBdf9jYj7o

      We could do the same here with a relatively small spend. Everyone would probably be happier but we need to prioritise it.

      • +3 votes

        I mean, you praise the attitudes of dutch cyclists being considerate, but it's easier for them when cyclists are actually prioritised above motorists in the way they design their infrastructure.

        I agree - this is why I think we need to cut the falsehood of "sharing the road" and pretending like both cyclists and cars can safely and peacefully exist on the road. They cannot. When one is literally just a human body on wheels and the other is a 1,000+ kg machine with 200kW+ of power, no, they cannot exist peacefully on the road anymore than humans and tigers can coexist in a cage.

        This is something that policymakers in Europe (and many other places) seem to understand that we cannot. We need infrastructure for cycling that will keep cyclists out of the way of motorists, make it safer to cycle and encourage more people to cycle.

  • +2 votes

    Don't they have minimum passing distance laws in Vic like they do in NSW? Here you need to give cyclists a good distance when overtaking so cyclists riding in double file is absolutely irrelevant because if you overtook single file correctly you would need to be in the other lane and then you need to consider, what is longer, 2 cyclists in single file or 2 cyclists riding side by side? The shorterst line means the less time you spend in the other lane when over taking and is therefore the safest. The answer is obvious, will leave it there.

    • +1 vote

      Don't they have minimum passing distance laws in Vic like they do in NSW?

      Not in Victoria.

      •  

        They do. 'Be patient and keep your distance from bike riders, at least one metre, more if you’re traveling over 60km/h.' As per Vicroads website.

        • +2 votes

          Respectfully, you're wrong.

          There's a difference between an advisory message on a government website (which is the case in Victoria) and a written piece of legislation or regulation that mandates certain behaviour and penalises non-compliance (as is the case with minimum passing distance laws in other jurisdictions).

  • +4 votes

    My issue with mixing cyclists and regular traffic is that one is rather squishy and slow moving, while the other is solid and moves much faster. When you put it like that separate infrastructure for cyclists makes a whole bunch of sense.

  • +17 votes

    How long before this thread goes pear shaped and gets locked.

    Cars are here to stay. Bicycles are becoming more common because they don’t use petrol, provide exercise and are quite efficient. Let’s just get over this mentality of us and them and work together on the roads.

    • +3 votes

      Let’s just get over this mentality of us and them and work together on the roads.

      Sometimes that can't be done. Traffic flow is important and cyclists impede traffic flow.

      • +3 votes

        Motorised traffic is no more important the cycle traffic. While cyclists might slow you down for a few seconds, overall they reduce traffic congestion. any time you might ‘lose’ to a cyclist will be made up at the next red light or with a some slight pressure on your accelerator.

        • +2 votes

          Motorised traffic is no more important the cycle traffic

          Government revenue would beg to differ, or else why not construct a vast network of bike paths?

        • +2 votes

          Motorised traffic is no more important the cycle traffic.

          The road is a public good, rules should be designed to bring the most benefit to the most people.

          On a narrow 80 km/h road like the GOR, a cyclist probably does around 20 - 30km/h. If you have a section where cars cannot safely overtake, every single car behind that cyclist will now need to double the amount of time they take to cover that stretch of narrow road.

          I'm not even anti-cycling. I used to cycle to work every day when I lived close enough to, I just think that the current pretence that cyclists (human bodies on wheels) and 1,000kg+ hunks of metal with over 200kW of power can somehow coexist on the same road is sheer idiocy. It just makes the road less safe for both cyclists and drivers, but especially cyclists. We need proper infrastructure to keep cyclists off the road (just like how we have footpaths so people don't walk on the road).

      • +2 votes

        Sometimes that can't be done. Traffic flow is important and cyclists impede traffic flow.

        Actually - no.

        Motorists impede traffic flow and contribute to traffic congestion.

        99% of traffic jams are as a result of too many cars on the road.

        So many times motorists overtake me aggressively while I'm cycling on the road. Only for me to catch up with them at the traffic light a few hundred meters up the road.

        And i'm just thinking to myself - did you really need to do that?

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