Cycling in Melbourne Australia
Jon Faine had both a council officer (Cartwright?) and the Mayor from City of Port Melbourne, both strongly pushing for 40km/h speed limits in cities and 80 as a maximum on all roads including expressways, both free and tolled. They're pushing it on safety grounds but also pointed to how slower speeds result in smoother, more economical and environmental traffic flow.
One example given was Punt Rd has an 8km/h average speed at it's current speed limit but would come up much higher if the speed limit were 40, simply because there would be smoother traffic flow.
This is as enlightened as council can get, so we cyclists need to get behind them. Slower speed limits and calmer traffic flows mean safer cycling, simple as that.
Watch this page, the ABC may podcast the interviews... hopefully... please, Aunty ;-)
Well, sounds good, but it will never happen & I think it would be impractical anyway. If you really want to improve traffic flows then better coordinated lights, driver education and rail grade separation are the way to go, and not cramming the city full of people! I didn't catch the figure for how many more people have come to Melbourne but we are on track to be Australias biggest city. Crazy!
I am against the current levels of immigration not on grounds of race but as our quality of life is being degraded - more cars on the road are a big part of this.
If you want to reduce traffic speeds on safety grounds then limit the power/speed of the vehicles & break the link between drinking driving by lifting the drinking age to 21, better train the young drivers & make them ride a bike or scooter for two years first so they understand the road from a riders point of view.
It's as practical as the 50 limit was. Legislate and roll out new signage. The anti-40 campaign was exceedingly vocal and the most they could achieve was convincing John Howard to make funding conditional on 50. John Howard was opposed to slower limits, despite the engineering modelling that proved traffic flows better, and the popularity of 40 in the town of Unley (SA), where 40 was officially trailled. (Unley-ites active protested the rise from 40 to 50) Also, average speeds through residential and shopping streets don't fall if speed limits are dropped from 60 to 40 because traffic flows more smoothly.
The only people this hurts are hoons and boguns. For the rest of us, it gives us back our residential streets. And who owns a residential street? The people who live there or some yob in a hotrod hooning through?
And I'm an idiot, it turned out it was Faine's April Fools' Day joke :-/
40km/h (well, 30 IMO) is still the best way to integrate diverse traffic. That will never change for me :-)
Got me too. Does it every year. Last year was about making St Kilda rd cycling only, had Robert Doyle on.
All of the Punt road references remind me of the apocryphal story of the father on his deathbed grasping his loving daughters hand and gasping out his final words...."........my darling remember one thing........wherever you are going.........whatever the time is ...........don't take Punt Rd!.........ergh.....
Some of the greeny blogs I read had something about 55 miles per hour (88 km/h) being the ideal speed limit for best fuel economy, after that it's all downhill. So 80 or 90 km/h speed limit for expressways is a good idea.
As for 40 km/h on all other roads, it would possibly work, but you have to remove factors such as cars stopping to go into parking spots, cars blocking the traffic lanes to turn right, etc. And give cyclists their own large lane separated from the traffic!
Places like Punt Road could have better flow if drivers learned how to drive properly and the traffic lights were syncronised properly, without needing to change any signs. Things such as not braking suddenly, BMWs and 4WDs not keeping a 3 car distance between them and the motorist ahead, indicating for longer than 1/2 a second before changing lanes (which goes back to not braking suddenly), etc. Also extend the right turn bays or ban right turns.
There's some days when Punt Road is running really smoothly for me to drop the girlfriend at work (wish she would cycle or want to catch tram more often), other days when it's completely locked up. I would understand if there was an accident, but that happens once in a blue moon.
Punt road is a turd and shouldn't be a major trunk, or they should buy every house and building on both sides to knock down so they can fit a parking lane each side, a bike lane and 2 motor lanes each way with good, wide median. Then still limit the speed to 40, anyway.
Punt Road, impossible to cycle on, but the cars also own the other parallel alternative, Chapel St. Why do cars need so many lanes (rhetorical question)? I would be happy if they kicked the cars off Chapel, but then the traders would whinge so hard it would be political suicide.
I keep pondering if I should go out on my bike one day on Punt, take the lane and try my luck at not getting run over? I see some keen cyclists do it sometimes when slugging it out slowly in the car. At least my most direct path to work is through some local streets of Prahran and Toorak.
A good route for April Critical Mass? ;-)
Even the worst road rager doesn't want to dent a panel or scratch the paint on their own car, nor do they want to see a person get killed or injured, even if they hate them. Reasonable people are even more, well, reasonable. You may anger drivers by holding a lane, but if you ride predictably, in a straight line, wearing visible clothing and generally according to the law, people will brake. They may get frightfully angry, but you're only ever going to get hit if you do something unpredictable, like swerving to avoid a car door. Ride a straight line, well out from the car doors, you may hold up the motors, but you are really, really unlikely to ever get hit.
Also, the sort of person who will run you down, while you occupy a lane, is a sociopath. They'll swerve into a cyclelane to get you, anyway, and they are so rare that I can think of only 2 or 3 such sociopaths ever arrested. (Milat particularly comes to mind and he was more interested in backpackers and using his guns.) These emotional cripples have an MO and mostly behave within social norms until acting out. A cyclist is a hard target for them because you can't really "play" with a cyclist in a normal public space like a busy road. They go for people by stealth, not in a moment of negative passion.
Make no bones, riding Punt is as scarey as abseiling face first down a sky scraper, but not anywhere as near rewarding or fun. Do your prep, have the right technique, and you'll live every time. However, do it in a bunch at 5pm on the last Friday of the month, don't waste nervous energy doing it alone.