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Wet tram tracks - Melbourne

Discussion in 'General Motorcycling Discussion' started by whitenite, Sep 19, 2008.

  1. http://www.theage.com.au/national/c...tourbus-ban-in-city-centre-20080918-4jep.html

    I came off just under a month ago, doing 50kmh on Burwood H/way. Nothing serious apart from a bruised knee, and replacement of handlebar.

    But to have the bike just GO from under me with absolutely zero warning is scary. Sure I've heard of others slipping on tram tracks, but I figured that's simply cos they were riding parallel and/or accelerating. I was doing neither when I went down. Mine was front wheel first.

    After my fall, I chatted with some others, apparently it happens to cyclists ALL the time! ...obviously they have far skinnier tyres than powered bikes.

    Then, reading the above article, I just feel something has to be done with these tracks! Their presence in the middle of the road is an inherent source of danger to motorists.

    I've heard, not seen admittedly, even CARS actually lose control on these slippery tracks, so its not just the two-wheeled variety that's affected.
  2. I suppose if you moved in next door to a pub with loud music, you'd complain to get the Bands stopped. If we take this attitude, No farmer could irrigate as the black poly pipes would be banned, and so would the White Traffic paint.

    We are all told, to exercise, massive amounts of caution with anything to do with tram tracks. You should try and cross them confidently and if possible close to 90^ to them. Otherwise cautiously.

    Irregardless of there slippery nature, IMPO, they have to stay. We Need to have trams to reduce the number of people on the roads. I know of two people who Tram it to work because they admit they are not capable Drivers.

    No offense, but abolishing the trams is a ridiculous solution, to a tragic accident.

    My commiserations to the family of the poor lady from Parkville.
  3. Well what's your suggestion whitenite? What can be done?
  4. That has to be among the stupidist idea I've ever heard! And thats saying something when you look at the Melb City Councils record.
    Yes its tragic she was killed.
    But for heavens sake when do we stop coddling people? Pushbike riders need to take some responsibilty for thier actions too.
    Obviously we don't know what happened here and therefore cannot comment, but on the surface it looks like a tragic error of judgement that cost someone thier life.
  5. I've certainly felt my car wheels slip on tram tracks, but that is not a big deal because the tyres regain traction as soon as they hit the bitumen again.

    On my bicycle... well that is a different story. I've nearly come to grief a couple of times, and I've seen a mate go flying head first in front of traffic after his bike went out from under him. (Thank god for ABS, or I would have seen him go under a van!)

    As far as the motorbike goes, I try to plan my commute so that I don't need to deal with tram tracks on a rainy day. This means a longer ride when it is wet, but it is worth it. I've felt the wheels go skittish even when I was travelling in a straight line over the tram tracks at a 45 degree angle with the bike upright. They are as slippery as all get-out.

    I don't think that we can get rid of the trams - and even if we did I imagine they'd leave the tracks there because it is cheaper than ripping them all up.
  6. Tragic .. yes, but these things will happen unfortunately.
    Push the issue too far and they take steps to prevent this from ever happening .. like banning two-wheeled vehicles from sharing roads with buses and trams :shock:
    Not a good idea eh
  7. The OP is taking the piss, isn't he?

    And the people who have to plan their rides around tram tracks are taking the Mick, surely?
  8. Tram tracks offer little traction, yep... Though there's a solution to that - don't do things that require lots of traction when you're riding over 'em.

    Cross the tracks in the least parallel way possible, and as you cross them make sure you're going "straight" and not using the tyres to change your direction - stand the bike up for a moment, run straight, and once you're across the tracks complete your maneuver.
  9. Tram tracks are for Trams.... :?

    Thats why I ride on Bike Tracks...................................officer :grin:
  10. Tell me about it :(
    Not all the time tho... if you do everything right.. well I have had one where I was doing everything right and it just fell over.. I suspect if you are unlucky enough to meet a spot of oil on that exact spot then you are going to fall. Just try and have no buses around if you are ever that unlucky.

    I crossed that same track in the dry 6 months later in a bunch chatting about how it had just fallen over while I was following my mate, crossing at nearly 90 % just exactly as we were when I hear that noise from behind me. The bloke on my wheel has just fallen over while doing everything right. Exactly the same spot. Just bad luck. (Fitzroy st onto lower espy in St kilda) Illustrated my point rather well tho

    The usual thing is what happens with many accidents. Too many things go wrong. You are watching the dopey ped on the right with the briefcase, the cab on the left opens his door, someone stands on their horn just cos they can while you are swerving, and you lose track of the tram track for a second. oops.

    Tram tracks are here to stay tho. You just have to treat em as lethal.
    I know one car driver who lost control on tram tracks but I suspect it takes total incompetence to manage that
  11. Tragic as it was, the fault in this accident was with the cyclist. It' wasn't a crime - I've crashed on a bicycle due to those very same tram tracks, in almost the same location. But if you take even minor risks, then sometime it goes bad.

    The truth is that nothing could have prevented the possibility of something like this happening in that location, or happening again, short of banning bicycles. And nobody, including me, is advocating that.

    Trams are here to stay, Buses are here to stay. Bicycles are here to stay.
    I tend to think MCC could manage Swanston street better, but cyclists need to understand and manage the risks themselves. Just like us.
  12. Tram tracks are there. They are'nt going away. Nor are the trees on the sides of roads, level crossings, white painted road markings, or dickhead drivers.

    It's up to us to deal with it, and learn to ride accordingly..

    If you go down because you hit a big pot hole that's one thing....if you go down because you crossed the tram tracks that were there when you were born and known to everyone, that's another.

    I've crashed on them, nearly come off a number of times as well...but that's the way it is. (whether it's ideal for us or not)

  13. I have come off on tram tracks and it scared me sensless! But I made sure nothing was coming and that I had a buffer around me. If you are going to take a risk you have to minimise it. Next people will want to ban white lines, they can slippery as well!
  14. Forget about talking about banning trams or bikes or bicycles.

    These are all forms of transport whose use should be encouraged by transport authorities.

    There is a sensible question inside all of this:

    Is it possible to do something to tram and train rails at crossing points to make them less slippery. :?
  15. That does it. I'm going to pull out my bicycle and wobble myself in front of an oncoming car. Perhaps then we can get cars banned from roads. Isn't that how it works?

    Sympathies to the cyclist, but banning buses because a cyclist came off directly in front of one? If the cyclist had fallen under an oncoming tram instead would they have been banned from Swanston Street as well?
  16. Another needless knee jerk reaction to a non-existent problem.
    If it wasn't a bus it could've been a taxi or a tradie van that ran over her. Fact is she was riding down the middle of the road illegally, slipped and went under a vehicle.
    I see cyclists riding down tram tracks all the time and have often thought it was only a matter of time till this happened. Though rather than crack down on the individuals responsible, we have another pointless knee jerk reaction.
  17. I was speaking to my neighbor last night who is a cyclist (and I have been too) and we were talking about this as she turned up on the scene shortly after it'd happened and said there was talk of her tyre getting stuck in tram track. Tram track scare the bejesus out of me, on scoot or bike. I just try and avoid the metal all together.
  18. I guess perhaps the point is that she might have survived if it was a car - but a tour bush squashed her and she died instantly. I see your point - accidents do happen and I dont think the tour bus driver is to blame (poor poor guy.... he must be heartbroken..) but I think the uproar is more so over the 'overcrowding' of Swanston St. I have ridden down it, and it IS a death trap. Particularly the riders who think they're above the law and dont have to stop for trams/pedestrians etc.

    Having said all this, I feel very very sorry for her family and friends.
  19. I have also wondered whether something could be done to the tracks. Was thinking about this the other day and questioned whether a cross hatching could be machined onto the top layer to add more grip . . .
  20. I raised the issue of tram tracks and bicycle lanes with VicRoads at the last VMAC meeting. I pointed out that in some streets (Church St Richmond is a good example) introducing bicycle lanes has made the roads more hazardous to motorcycles by forcing them into the centre of the road and onto the tram tracks. (Unless they use the bicycle lanes :wink: ).

    It's perfectly legal for cyclists to ride between the tram tracks** in Swanston St (or anywhere else that doesn't have a tram "fairway") by the way. Whether it's safe or not is another matter and depends on traffic, road conditions etc.

    ** That's between the tram lines - not in the centre of the road....