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N/A | National Road Markings

Discussion in 'Politics, Laws, Government & Insurance' started by Chef, Jul 16, 2011.

  1. I guess this is political, but really it's more general.

    As riders we ride in a hostile environment that has many 'hidden' traps for the unwary. Slippery surfaces on the road are one of the first things we 'discover' about the road that we wouldn't ordinarily have thought about prior to riding.

    There are the well known ones as well as some that may not be so well known. The one that stands out the most and is the subject of this discussion is road markings. Although we may extend that in time to include the others.

    Road markings are diabolical, and we only need to have one brown trouser 'moment' with them and we'll never underestimate them again. In fact it can actually shake some riders up so badly that they never fully recover and develop a phobia of them.

    Now the interesting thing to me in all of this is, as a road user group we become very adept at dealing with slippery surfaces, whether through avoidance or learning techniques for riding through them. I point this out because it goes unrecognised or the value and importance of what we do is underestimated.

    To my mind, when riders are vilified or criticised publicly for our little part of the roadtoll, it's not weighted or balanced against when we get it right. And funnily enough, we get it right more often than not.

    However, in Victoria at least, we currently have road traffic bodies bleating on about how they 'want' to increase the safety of the road environment for ALL road users. To date that has been entirely about building bike paths for bicycles, erecting WRB's for cars, and sweet fuck all for motorcycles.

    All though to be fair, they are about to trial bus lane sharing (make a note) and we're beginning to make inroads with discussions about filtering. But that's all talk at this stage, although N.S.W may be into a trial phase ahead of us. (make another note)

    Now here's the thing, the bold bit. The roads are a very slippery surface in some circumstances, and some parts are slipperier than others. On rainy days it's like running the gauntlet. Many many riders have come down on rainy days through no fault of their own.

    Now the bus lanes. Recently in Melbourne 'bus only' lanes have been introduced around the suburbs where they didn't exist before. A part of this is the marking of the lanes so there can be no confusion. Other vehicles may use the bus lane only to make a turn, but cannot travel along the length of it for more than necessary.

    The coating of the bus lanes is similar to a pebble mix type surface. I don't have facts and figures except for testing it out myself, and the surface appears to me to be a far grippier surface than plain asphalt.

    So it begs the question, why not use this road marking material for other road markings and reduce the amount of slippery surface we have to contend with?

    The buslane surface provides superior traction in both the dry and the wet. If Vicroads are serious about providing a safer environment for ALL road users, this is a way they could certainly demonstrate to motorcyclists that they mean it. And that motorcyclists are not excluded from that.

    /end editorial
  2. I wonder how much more this would cost than regular paint.

    Just this morning I rode through a pedestrian crossing, turning left in a slip lane. The fat white lines are just about where I would tip in, had it been wet I'm guessing you'd have to be careful to ride between them.

    It seems like decision makers never really think about motorcycles.
  3. I've long been perplexed at the inability of our 'safety' overseers to develop a road marking material that didn't reduce grip and increase hazard. How hard can it be?

    The greatest irony of all is that of recent times cycle lanes and advanced stop areas in have been painted green nearing intersections, in what I assume is an act of PC symbolism. Nice, glossy, slick green that in the wet offers no grip at all to anyone on two wheels.
  4. Rather than better paint I would like to see the removal of some of this street clutter, it is too much to take in. There have been districts in Europe where initiatives to remove excessive signs have decreased accidents significantly.

    Why do we need painted lines on the road to signify ped crossings in the first place, there are yellow signs at the side of the road to tell people? It just causes unnecessary risk.
  5. On many roads in NSW it's not even the 'slickness' of the road markings, but the fact that they can be perceptibly HIGHER than the surrounding surface, makes them even more unpredictable.

    I'm sure I heard someone of a racing telecast of some sort say that the markings on the edge of race-tracks have the same friction co-efficient as the tar itself; why can't this same technology be applied on roads where normal people have to drive and ride?
  6. Money.

    That's why it would be cheaper just to get rid of them
  7. Yeah, money. It seems the cheapest and most durable thing they've found is a strip of vinyl about 3 ~ 4mm thick, usually white, which they then melt onto the surface. It's pre-cut, and it lasts well. It's not too difficult or time consuming to install. Only problem is that it's at least as slippery as paint.

    My other beef is adopting marking conventions that are both unnecessary, over the top, confusing, and downright dangerous. (Now stop me if they don't do this any more, because it's been a while since I've been to Melbourne.) What dribbling idiot came up with the idea of painting a slippery zig-zag line across the road for 40m before a pedestrian crossing, where it can distract the driver from actually seeing the pedestrians, and then provide a zero grip surface for them to stop on?

    My other beef is traffic 'calming' of all kinds, but particularly the little box with the fussy railing that hides pedestrians in the middle of the road, so they can not only pop up like targets on a shooting range at either side, but also in the middle - and you don't even have the option (in the absence of oncoming traffic) to drift into the centre of the road and make yourself equally distant from either possible source of nasty surprise.

    Honestly, I sometimes think the logical conclusion of some of these modern safety measures would be to issue all drivers with a double barrel safety device, and encourage them to hold forth with it at anything that moves, vehicular or otherwise. It would certainly reduce the road toll. Probably help traffic congestion no end as well. Might even cut down on road rage, and you know that's a good thing.

    "See, I know what you're thinking. You're thinking Has he seen 5 mobile phone users so far this morning or 6? But what you should be thinking, is Do I feel lucky?"
  8. Whats wrong with putting some abrasive material in the paint to stop it being so dangerously slippery,
    Like SAND,
    Which would lower the slimy characteristics of the paint under wet conditions, even tho they are very slippy in dry conditions as well to any thing on two wheels,
  9. They do - and it wears off and wears out in a few days. Weeks at the most. They use crushed glass or something, because it offers pretty good traction and it reflects light straight back at the source. It looks like sand or raw sugar when you see them putting it on, but shine a light on it and it ain't sand.

    There are high grip surfaces you can get, which can be made in any colour, some of which are even good for preserving the road - they actually last better than the hotmix. But they cost!! And if the road sees a lot of traffic anyway, the tar gradually ruts up under them and everything has to be dug up and done again anyway.

    In their defence, the councils in Brisbane are experimenting with some of these coatings in the braking areas to some of our more notorious intersections. They are using different coverings and techniques, and it would appear to be an experiment. Now at the moment it's not road markings - it's just cover the whole thing, but if they start rolling this stuff out more widely we may be in a position to ask them about markings, on the basis of economies of scale.

    Notice how the surface changes as you get to full lean here.
    I have scraped the Aprilia, 2-up, in the rain on this corner. If you look at my avitar, it isn't scraping. What does that tell you about that surface?
  10. Slightly side issue, but they did some line markings for trams a month or so back at the bottom end of Burke street and spread the "sugar" kneedragon referred to all over the intersection and left it there. I only spotted it as a pedestrian at lunch time and didn't get to ride over it, but it looked like a nice loose surface to catch the unwary.
  11. High friction paints with glass "sand" in it has been available for decades. It isn't the stuff that is painted on then the glass sand added, which would wear faster. It has the glass sand in it to begin with, and it lasts as long as normal paint.

    It just costs (a little) more, and when you paint kilometers of lines, that difference adds up. The painting equipment also wears out a lot faster when the glass is in the paint being applied. Accountants who influence the selection of materials aren't thinkig about the safety of the road, they are thinking about profits, so if the specification doesn't clearly identify what paint must be used, the cheap stuff will be used.
  12. Money should not be a factor when we are talking about lives and associated burdens on society which (I assume)
    far outweigh the cost of implementing improvements.

  13. I agree completely.

    I think the problem is that the people who make decisions don't ride and it doesn't occur to them to think about hazards for motorbikes. Really they should do their research, but I guess it's up to us to inform them if they haven't.
  14. I think they actually use this in NSW. As a result I've never understood why people whinge about road markings.

    So they just use paint in Vic?

    In NSW you just need to be on your toes in wet car parks.
  15. I don't know what they use in Vic, but some of it is very slippery, and some of it is not. Some of it is raised above the road level, and some of it is just normal paint thickness.

    It's a lottery.
  16. Does anybody remember back a few years when the tool who was then Works Manager Linemarking at VicRoads told AMCN "I have a pathological hatred of motorbike riders"?


    We shouldn't be surprised at the legacy of dangerous road surfaces he left behind.
  17. The government's money always comes before our lives. That's why they have laws that prevent you from making decisions that only affect your own body: They don't want to spend money on your care, and don't want to lose the money they steal from your pay.
  18. I'll come back to this in time.