Monday, June 30, 2008

Road Rule Rage : RTA Road Users Handbook OCT 2007

*** Road Rule Rage ***
Council and RTA education needed about Bike pictures on roads

Page 6 Section 1.3 of the NSW bicycle Guidelines RTA (V1.2 Issued July 2005):
“no practioner should design or install any facility that requires or encourages
road users to contravene an Australian Road Rule”. But this is happening with the
encouragement of passing cyclists too closely. The following evidence in the road
rules and RTA publications supports this assertion.

Road rule 247 - Riding in a bicycle lane on a road ($44 fine)
(1) The rider of a bicycle riding on a length of road with a bicycle
lane designed for bicycles travelling in the same direction as the
rider must ride in the bicycle lane unless it is impracticable to do
so. NSW: Only applies where there is a bike lane sign (bike logo
above ‘LANE’) beside the road. NOT where only bike logo on road.
(2) In this rule road does not include a road-related area.

RTA Road Users Handbook OCT 2007: pg39 “When overtaking give bicycle riders a safe
amount of space. This means at least 1 metre to the side in a 50km/hr zone”. This
is good. Congratulations!
RTA Road Users Handbook OCT 2007: pg40 “Allow ample room in case a car door is
opened. Do not ride between and around parked vehicles” This is on the way to being
good advice. But confusion is still there. Perhaps for the second sentence:
Do not swerve inbetween parked vehicles, and then out into the traffic lane without
checking for other traffic.
RTA Road Users Handbook OCT 2007: pg88 “Bicycle lanes: When a bicycle lane is marked
on the road, cyclists must use it”
THIS IS CAUSING ROAD RAGE!!!!!!!!!! This is what people quote when they say bikes
should be riding where the bike pictures are painted on the road. They are confused
with the sign posted bike lanes, because it isn’t explained in the handbook.
The RTA needs to fix this straight away! I suggest: When a bike lane is signposted,
cyclists must use it, unless impracticable to do so. Other non-sign posted bicycle
picture lanes are narrower and usually don’t give enough room when a car is also
parked in it. Cyclists are not required to ride in non-sign posted bike lanes.

But that is happening with the application of “Advisory Treatments” (shared bike
picture and car parking areas) and Bicycle Shoulder lanes Page 23 Section 5.1.2 of
the NSW bicycle Guidelines RTA (V1.2 Issued July 2005) It says “riders still need to
travel cautiously in the bicycle shoulder lane to avoid unexpected opening car doors”.
How can you avoid a child opening a door when you can’t see him from behind. Yes,
the person opening the door is at fault, but tell that to the cyclist who got knocked
over from the opening car door, and fell into a traffic lane, and a truck ran over
him. So the safe option is to ride at the safe distance from an open door. Many
cases this puts the cyclist into the traffic lane. Then motorists are encouraged to
illegally overtake in the same lane, squeezing too close past the cyclist. They are
encouraged because they past many other cyclists, without leaving their lane (even
though these cyclists were riding very close to the parked cars, and so there was
more room inbetween them when the motorist overtook the cyclist.)

The RTA handbook, with the combination of the location of bike pictures (not “bike
lanes”) on NSW roads is encouraging road users to contravene Australian Road Rule No.
144. They encourage in these ways:
a) visually they think bicyclists should ride where the bike pictures are. The
lane width still allows them to squeeze past them in the same lane.
b) The practice of squeezing past bicyclists is continued on other roads without
the bike pictures because they have been encouraged to do so in point a above
c) The RTA handbook says “When a bicycle lane is marked on the road, cyclists
must use it”. Again motorists think the authorities say its OK to squeeze past
d) Squeezing past cyclists is very dangerous. If defined as less than 1m room,
than it’s not enough, for a cyclist that needs some room to maneovre
It also contravenes RTA’s policy of promoting safe bicycling. Because people don’t
want to ride in the car-door lane, because people still open without checking.

a) The RTA handbook must be fixed ASAP.
b) Education campaign must be done to fix this problem. TV, radio, newspapers,
mail, posters, etc.
c) The police should be apart of the education campaign, issuing fines
d) Societies attitudes won’t change quickly, so the education campaign must be
comprehensive and long-lasting
e) The bike pictures painted on the roads, encouraging road users to contravene
an Australian Road Rules must be removed
f) Only bike pictures painted on the roads that meet AUSTROADS standards, and
don’t encourage breaking the rules should be implemented.

Some more road rule info:
The Road Transport (Safety & Traffic Management) Act 1999, came into force in NSW
in Dec 1999. It incorporates the Australian Road Rules plus NSW specific provisions).:
Road Rule

153 Bicycle lanes
(1) A driver (except the rider of a bicycle) must not drive in a
bicycle lane, unless the driver is permitted to drive in the bicycle
lane under this rule or rule 158. ($114 fine)
(2) If stopping or parking is permitted at a place in a bicycle lane
under another law of this jurisdiction, a driver may drive for up to
50 metres in the bicycle lane to stop or park at that place.
(3) A driver may drive for up to 50 metres in a bicycle lane if:
(a) the driver is driving a public bus, public minibus or taxi, and is
dropping off or picking up, passengers; and
(b) there is not another law of this jurisdiction prohibiting the
driver from driving in the bicycle lane.
(4) A bicycle lane is a marked lane, or the part of a marked lane:
(a) beginning at a bicycle lane sign applying to the lane; and
(b) ending at the nearest of the following:
(i) an end bicycle lane sign applying to the lane;
(ii) an intersection (unless the lane is at the unbroken side of
the continuing road at a T–intersection or continued across
the intersection by broken lines);
(iii) if the road ends at a dead end — the end of the road.

144 Keeping a safe distance when overtaking ($114 fine)
A driver overtaking a vehicle:
(a) must pass the vehicle at a sufficient distance to avoid a
collision with the vehicle or obstructing the path of the vehicle;
(b) must not return to the marked lane or line of traffic where the
vehicle is travelling until the driver is a sufficient distance past
the vehicle to avoid a collision with the vehicle or obstructing the
path of the vehicle.

Note : The definition of overtake includes passing, while traveling in the adjacent
marked lane.
Which doesn’t happen if motorists squeeze past a cyclist in the same lane