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Combined efforts on bicycle lane use {VIC}

Discussion in 'Politics, Laws, Government & Insurance' started by TonyE, Jul 14, 2009.

  1. The following media releases went out last night from the MRA(Vic), the VACC and Motorcycling Australia.

    VACC (Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce)

    VACC calls for improved road sharing schemes

    VACC, the peak Automotive Industry body in Victoria, has reiterated its call for improved road sharing schemes.

    “The global economic slowdown has forced many Australians to re-consider their personal transport options,†VACC Executive Director, David Purchase, said.

    “Many commuters have cut costs by leaving the car at home but some do not like the idea of having to cram onto an already over burdened public transport system. Therefore, Powered Two-Wheeled (PTW) vehicles have become an attractive alternative.

    “Scooters are a cheap, efficient and accessible mode of transport. But they deserve the same status and respect as other vehicles on the roads. In the VACC’s opinion, the Victorian Government has failed to recognise this.

    “VACC believes the Government and the infrastructure plans should make provision for scooters through an integrated transport policy.

    “The community and environmental benefits of scooters are clear. Scooters use smaller parking spaces than cars and leave a tiny carbon footprint. However, some people are put off from using them because they feel vulnerable riding on the roads.

    “VACC repeats its call for scooter riders to be allowed to share bicycle lanes. VACC is calling for designated and signed “Safe Routesâ€, safety boxes, access by scooter riders to certain designated bicycle, transit and bus lanes and allowing boxed turns on certain busy intersections

    “It is a call echoed by the Motorcycle Riders Association (Victoria) which is today calling on the Minister for Ports and Roads, Mr Tim Pallas, to consider allowing all vulnerable road users, including PTWs to share the on-road lanes that are now the exclusive domain of bicycles.

    “VACC will be highlighting this issue through the fifth annual Scooter Rally in Melbourne. Hundreds of scooter riders will take to the City’s streets to emphasis the fact that while scooter riding is social and fun, it is an important mode of transport. It is about time the Government took Powered Two-Wheeled vehicles seriously and made an effort to appreciate their value in reducing congestion and demand for parking spaces,†Mr Purchase said.

    Motorcycling Australia
    Motorcyclists are vulnerable
    When it comes to road crashes, motorcyclists and scooter riders are vulnerable and restrictions on the use of bicycle lanes should be lifted, according to Australia’s peak body for motorcyclists, Motorcycling Australia.
    “There has been an enormous investment in creating safer lanes for bicycles in capitals and major cities across the country,†said Motorcycling Australia’s Dan Rotman, “but riders of scooters and motorcycles- Powered Two Wheelers [PTWs] - are locked out of them because of legislation and regulation.â€
    He said that there had rightly been an effort to protect bicycle riders from other traffic, but that legislators and road constructors seemed to have forgotten that riders of PTWs were even more vulnerable than bicyclists.
    “While injury trends for bicycle riders and car occupants are in decline, riders of PTWs remain highly vulnerable, and part of the solution could be extending the use of bicycle lanes in selected locations,†Rotman said.
    Bicycle and PTW riders have a lot in common- a similar exposure to risk, size and footprint- and much of the new bicycle lane infrastructure could safely and easily accommodate both user groups.
    “Not every bicycle lane would be appropriate,†Rotman said, “but there’s a great opportunity to conduct a trial to establish how, and where the protection of these exclusive lanes could be extended to all vulnerable road users.â€
    Motorcycling Australia said that it would like to work with bicycle user groups, the MRA, car user groups and Government to work out how this could be best achieved.
    For more information check out www.ma.org.au/rights

    Let Vulnerable Road Users Share Lanes

    Motorcycle Riders Association (Victoria) (MRA(Vic)) President John Karmouche today called on the Minister for Ports and Roads, Tim Pallas, to take action and introduce specialist lanes for every vulnerable road user (VRU).

    At present lane separation is limited to bicycles and does not take into account the needs of the even more vulnerable segment of powered two wheelers (PTW).

    Mr Karmouche said today that, “We know that road space is often a sensitive issue within the bicycle community, but PTW also share many of the risks experienced by bicycles. Bicycles and PTW share many similarities in terms of the risks posed by other traffic and have very similar on-road footprints. We see it as a sensible proposal that PTW be separated from the same threats by initiating shared on-road VRU lanesâ€.

    “We are not looking at full sharing of every on-road bicycle lane; some are patently unsuitable for sharing. What we want to see is the establishment of safe combined VRU routes wherever possible.â€

    We are calling on VicRoads to establish trial routes where the interaction between users can be studied with a view to establishing “best practice†for VRUs.

    No Crash History. According to VicRoads Crash Stats database there have been very few incidents between PTW and bicycles involving road space conflict. MRA(Vic) asserts that given this history it is possible to develop vulnerable road user lanes that can be shared amicably by both PTWs and bicycles.

    MRA(Vic) is joining forces with the Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce (VACC) and Motorcycling Australia (MA) to support this issue.

  2. Here are the details from the VicRoads Crashstats database for all bicycle/motorcycle crashes recorded in 2007. (latest year recorded).
    The first named vehicle is generally deemed to be the primary cause.

    Rear end (vehicles in same lane) - On Great Ocean Road
    12/7/2007 Thu 10:30
    Motorscooter and bicycle
    cyclist injured.
    Strong winds and raining.

    121 Right through – Princes Highway West & Hamilton Highway
    19/9/2007 – Fro 09:07
    Car, motorcycle and bicycle
    motorcyclist injured

    Lane sideswipe – Cnr Nepean Highway & Kiandra Close
    21/10/2007 Sun 14:25
    Motorcycle & 3 bicycles
    3 cyclists injured

    Vehicle coming off footpath strikes vehicle on carriageway – Nepean Highway and Flinders St
    25/1/2007 Thu 13:25
    bicycle and motorcycle
    cyclist injured

    Out of control on carriageway – on straight - Centre Road and Gilbert Grove
    24/6/2007 Sun 09:38
    Motorcycle and bicycle
    Pedestrian crossing
    motorcyclist injured

    119 Other adjacent (intersections only) Complex intersection – Arthurton Road and Hartington Street
    9/10/2007 Tue 15:45
    bicycle and motorcycle
    motorcyclist sent to hospital
  3. Just heard JK on ABC radio with Jon Faine. Well done John!!

    JK presented his case reasonably, rationally and effectively. Harry Barber, on the other hand, came across as close-minded, unwilling to engage in debate and appeared to believe that all such matters were his alone to decide (!). What a twat!

    Faine surprised me - he was, it seemed to me, more than usually supportive. I know he's a rider but he tends to be conservative on such matters. Maybe it was just that impartiality is so rare.

    One thing I would be concerned about: JK was pretty much ambushed by the VACC rep who tried to shift their position to supporting scooter riders only and not other powered two wheelers. WTF? That undermines the whole argument, weakens the position and gives the authorities an 'out'. If the MRA wasn't pre-warned about this shift, they should rip a new a#$% in the VACC.
  4. On the other hand, the Minister's (Tim Pallas) later response was to pretty much say (imply) that all he was interested in was the safety and vulnerability of cyclists, not motorcyclists. :evil:
  5. Well done John, I reckon you did well under the circumstances :)

  6. Screw the shareing the bike lane idea. Too much resistance from the pushie brigade (who are infinitely better organised than any motorcycling lobby group).

    Push for use of and or, establishment of transit lanes by PTW. Bus lane sharing as well. These are going to have a more effective result on major roads.
  7. If you don't ask - you won't get. By pushing for the Vulnerable Road User Lanes, while I agree we're unlikely to get them (too politically sensitive), it does mean we might get some other concessions.

    The VACC have pushed for low powered scooters to start with for quite some time. (See their media release above). While we do have some differences on this, they aren't really important enough to argue over in this context. Even if we managed to get low powered scooters allowed, it would still be a start, and the basis for some real studies on road space sharing.

    What's of longer term significance is that we have been able to organise a co-ordinated response between three different motorcycle organisations on this one and that bodes well for the future.
  8. Jon Faine moderated the VACC organised "Two Wheels to the Future"** forum some years ago where this policy was formulated. He sat through a lot of presentations from assorted people on the subject of motorcycles, congestion and road space.

    While he owns several bikes (and cars) he's also an occasional cyclist so he has a good understanding of the issues.

    ** Forum Outcomes Communique

    It is the opinion of the Motorcycle Industry Forum – Two Wheels To the Future – held on Saturday 18th March, for the purpose of examining issues related to motorcycle licensing, legislation, polices and practices;


    Learner Approved Motorcycle Scheme

    Victoria adopt the NSW and SA model of the Learner Approved Motorcycle Scheme: that power to weight ratio calculated at 150kW per tonne (capped at 660cc) be the basis for such a scheme.

    Victoria adopt a new licensing system to allow learners to ride at an earlier age, with research undertaken to establish the appropriate age.


    Victoria allow filtering to the left or right side of stationary or slow moving vehicles.

    Motorcycles and scooters be promoted as a viable transport alternative that can assist in the reduction of traffic congestion, travel times and air quality.

    There be appreciation and consideration of powered two-wheeled transport in road design and infrastructure.

    Rider Safety
    Improved rider training through low-cost or subsidised competency-based rider training be implemented.

    There be improved safety gear and better promotion of its adoption.


    The motorcycle levy be removed


    The motorcycle levy be replaced by a non-discriminatory levy on all registered motor vehicles and there be full transparency as to the application of levy funds, that more of motorcycling registration fees be dedicated to improving road conditions and improving safety training for motorcyclists.

    Motorcycle and scooter safety boxes at traffic lights and intersections be implemented.

    The Great Ocean Road initiative be used as a model for reporting dangers and hazards for implementing road improvements.

    The Forum, convened by VACC, peak industry body in Victoria for the automotive industry, included over 80 delegates and key motorcycle industry figures.

    Expert participants included Professor Marcus Wigan, Professor of Transport Systems, Napier University; Neil O’Keefe, Chairman of the Victorian Motorcycle Advisory Council; Guy Stanford, Chairman, Motorcycle Council of NSW; Dale Maggs, President Motorcycle Riders Association, Tony Ellis, Secretary Motorcycle Riders Association.

  9. Whether it's because they are organised or not, political favour has seen cyclists receive huge concessions in the inner city (up to 50% of road space in some areas around where I live). The question that has to be raised is this: if measures are effective in making life safer for one group, why wouldn't you look at extending the concept?

    Barber and Pallas have shown today that it is only cyclists' safety that concerns them, so they have weakened their argument. Powered two-wheelers may not receive the same benefits, but to get any consideration at all the whole nature of road sharing has to be put on the table, which is what I believe John was trying to do.

    I'll give you an example: There is a bike path near my house that, until a few years ago was a pedestrian path through a park. It is now a shared zone because cyclists convinced everyone that their greater speed and mass would not be a threat to other users. Sound familiar?

    Personally, I believe the real answer is to get a change in the law to allow passing on the left for PTOs. Then we wouldn't even need the bike lanes. But we do need the advanced stop lines. If we got that out of the debate, I would be happy.

    Bus lanes are a given, in that it's been proved to work in other countries.
  10. We expected that and I already have a follow up plan in mind. :twisted:
  11. What a day! 3AW called at 7am and I spoke to them a 8.10am. ABC called and wanted me in to studios by 9am - for over 30mins with Jon Faine.

    Harry Barber - what can I say? Absolute closed mind. Certainly knows he commands the moral high ground.

    If you support what we are doing - then please email the media.

    Letters to the editor at Age and Herald Sun would certainly be nice to see.

    This has been a team effort by MRA/VACC/MA - all groups are focused on applying pressure.

    The bottom line is BV Safety Argument is a total fabrication. There is NO Evidence to support their case. Their claim is purely territorial.

    We have started the ball rolling, and will continue to press on with the attack. More media releases are planned. Harry Barber will live to rue the day he spurned our advances.

    Today was a great opportunity for BV to enter into a win-win, but they missed seeing the opportunity offered - and I did try to get Harry to listen.
  12. Has it been done successfully anywhere else in the world?

    Personally I think going for bus lanes would be a bigger achievment.
  13. fcuk that, fight them on every front. Kick and scream...

    Is there any way you can download/stream the interview?
  14. I agree.

    Good on you guys for these efforts. I'm a bit pessimistic myself as to how this will turn out - my first reaction is to consider how dangerous and stressful this would be for cyclists given there are, just like among their ranks, plenty of aggressive fools on motorcycles. And my view is more balanced and empirical than the average person who sees us as hoons.

    There was a discussion in my office about alternative transport six months ago, and everybody was giving self-righteous praise to bicycles as the way of the future. I was saying that they are impractical for many people, especially those with greater distances to travel to work and those who are less than optimally fit, and that scooters and the like were also the answer. The response was a mere dismissal: "You're just a bike nut!" and on the conversation went on without me. This by intelligent reasonable people, who unlike me own cars, and for some reason don't cycle to work, and who unlike me don't seem to have noticed how Asia gets around! If they're anything to go by that's the stupour of prejudice we're dealing with. Our day will come of course: let the fuel prices get nasty, and watch how many of these people opt for a bicycle for their commutes and how many suddenly find a scooter sensible; we just need that critical mass, and it's coming (provided the fuel goes bad before the electric cars take over, and especially if three-wheeled scooters become cheap). Suddenly the same arguments you guys are offering, will turn from unreasonable to very reasonable.... (And these same people will now go on, with the tone of the moral high ground, about how we need scooters!)

    I see a ready market for cheap three-wheeled scooters with mini roofs if anybody's looking to catch the next wave....
  15. Oh... you have met him too ? :D
  16. I believe London (UK) are coming up to the end of an 18 month trial which sees motorcycles allowed to use bus lanes (which bicycles are already allowed to use).
  17. Fixed that for you.

    Funny - he wasn't always like that. Not so long ago, when he wasn't so sure that politicians would fear his slightest displeasure, he was ready to debate and, occasionally, even listen. But by refusing to even enter rationale discussion (and jealously guarding his territory), he is little by little weakening his position. It's obvious now that there is no point in trying to engage him or BV. It's the Minister and Vicroads that need to be forced to deal with the wider picture of ALL vulnerable road users.

    The argument needs to be carefully managed so that it doesn't become all about cyclist safety alone, but I'm sure the respondents know it. I could see you were trying to do that John.
  18. This is from a response I sent to an email we received about the issue.

    ... a major issue that has arisen is the fact that bicycle lanes - while making many roads safer for cyclists - have significantly increased the risk factor for motorcycles and scooters. This is particularly so for smaller powered two wheelers.

    As an example I suggest you look at roads like Church St Richmond where the advent of bicycle lanes has forced riders onto the tramlines - often poorly maintained and slippery, particularly in the wet. This is a very common phenomenon.

    Significant lane sharing already occurs, for instance Sydney Road in non-clearway times where the left lane is shared by motorcycles and bicycles riding along side the parked cars. The level of conflict between powered and unpowered two wheelers has been virtually non-existent in these situations. In fact bicycle/bicycle conflict is much higher on these stretches.

    In the last year available for VicRoads Crash Stats (2007) there were only five crashes recorded between powered two wheelers and bicycles. Crash causes are 2 by bicycles, 2 by motorcycles/scooters and one by a car. the results show that it is 50/50 as to who is injured in these crashes. None were in situations where there were bicycle lanes and two of the crashes occurred in the country.

    It may not have been made clear that the MRA (and Motorcycling Australia and the VACC) are not calling for open slather on bicycle lanes. What we are calling for is the implementation of selected Vulnerable Road User lanes - while some of these may well be based around existing bicycle lanes, others may not. They may even entail a minor widening of some lanes.

    When planning bicycle lanes, no consideration has been given to date on the effect they have on powered two wheelers. On some roads it's minimal; however on others the implementation has caused an increased incidence of minor (and not so minor) crashes.

    I refer you to Professor Marcus Wigan's work on Powered Two Wheelers in Victoria (available from the VicRoads website) Marcus is both a cyclist and a motorcyclist and has been a member of both the Bicycle Advisory Council and the Victorian Motorcycle Advisory Council. In this he mentions the potential for shared lanes and the comparison of the footprints of both...
  19. Can the main thrust of the email response make it into the newspapers, Tony? (letters page?).
    I'd also like to see a couple of other options get into the mix (advanced stop lines, passing on left etc.) The more items Pallas arrogantly refuses to debate the more it makes him look like a belligerent arse.