I am not an engineer, I am not a road planner with multiple degrees in asphalt.

What I am is a road user, I use the road to get from A to B in the safest and quickest way possible. That means sometimes that I will use my car and drive somewhere, I may walk. But most of the time I chose to ride my bike. I hate driving, and love riding. It must be just me, because no one seems too worried about getting around on bike next year.eastern-freeway-ped-bridge

This Saturday we have a choice, we either allow ourselves to ‘grow’ our road network with a shiny new tunnel, or we can start to look at better, smarter alternatives.

I am choosing the latter, I live North of Melbourne, in a suburb called Preston. It is part of Darebin City Council, and it is the most affected council to be cut off from the city if the election goes the wrong way.

These are the facts as we know them, a 4.4km tunnel running East to West and West to East under a selection of road, cemetery, parklands and housing. It is a tollway with an unknown toll figure. It is believed that 140,000 cars will use it a day, but the figure wont be reached until 2030. cut off from the city if the election goes the wrong way.

The entry at each end is near major bike routes that need to be closed during the building of this tunnel, it is going to close at least 1.2 kilometres of the Capital City Trail at the West end and about 800 metres at the East end, rendering the Capital City Trail unusable during the 7 years of its construction. It is at the interchange for the Moonee Ponds Creek Trail rendering it unusable.

The Eastern side will stop cyclists from reaching the path to the CBD via the NMIT bike bypass. It will force many riders to stay on Heidelberg Rd in an area with restricted infrastructure and narrow bike lanes.

Capital city trail melbourne australiaThe entire Northern Corridor will be cut off to the South. Why? because trucks going in and out all day long will have access to Alexandra Pde and other roads, rat running is common with dirt trucks, so safe/shimmy routes will become dangerous and risky. We will lose lives. It will put people off from riding, even I dont ride with the big rigs on suburban roads. Trucks using the dump route will be moving dirt for many years, and when the dirt is gone, the concrete is still pouring.

There will be NO safe route. With rumours of trams having to avoid areas and delays moving around the city, 7 years is a long time. And for what? very little gain.

Let’s look at what trucks can not use tunnels. Currently trucks delivering goods from the docks or from the fuel and depots are often placarded, that means dangerous goods. So a lot of these truck will be going over the terrestrial route. These trucks currently use roads made for them South of the city, they will suddenly fill the North on narrower and slower roads.

What this amounts to is a dead zone, North of the city spreading East and West based on the usage of the road by those vehicles that will be filtering into the road system.

But it is easy, Tony Abbott in an open letter has told Victoria that we will not get funding for this tunnel if Labor are voted into power, so that means this project is actually unfunded. Well, this is a good thing, as an unfunded project, no one can be sued for this project not going ahead, in fact - the only party that can be sued for this not going ahead would be the LNP for allowing it to get this far unfunded. May I suggest that not only is this project unfunded, it is an attempt of the federal government to Blackmail the Victorian public.

Napthine Tones Slider Nov2014

Now I have been a Liberal voter my entire life, but even I can not let this one go. Time to stand up and say ‘No’, we are Victorians - we think for ourselves - We are not the puppets of the Federal Government.

WE CONTROL OUR DESTINY

Even I can not feel good about voting in a party that seeks to blackmail me, my vote will be for freedom of ideas, not control over my future. Good riddance #EWL, time to go.

 

NSWPolice

Friday, 22 August 2014 03:29:32 PM

Police detected 76 cyclists who were not wearing helmets during a cyclist and pedestrian safety operation across the Central Metropolitan Region yesterday (Thursday 21 August 2014).

Operation Pedro 2 was conducted following a rise in injuries and fatal crashes in Sydney’s CBD and surrounding suburbs over the past year.

The operation focused on pedestrian safety, riding offences, and a broad range of non-compliance offences.

Read more ...

You would have to live under a rock not to know about the East West Link is now the Hottest Potato in Politics in Victoria. Sadly Denis Napthine has no clue as to what people actually want. He is pushing forward with the most expensively ridiculous waste of taxpayer money ever in the Tunnel that no one wants.

He knows he is losing the battle, so in a ditch effort he wants to 'buy off' cycling by adding a shiny new BikeWay. Now, if we have to have the tunnel, this is a little bit of bonus for us to enjoy in 6 to 7 years. that is the expected time the tunnel will take (over budget and time over runs) so during this time we will have to fight to get from the North into the City.

Not only are we in an election year, but we are 60 days out from the election, he is rushing contracts through as quickly as possible. The last time this happened we built a Desalination plant, remember that? The one the Liberals said they would not honour, you know, the one that has NEVER been used yet? That was another White Elephant and the Liberals are trying to force the same situation on to the incoming Labor party. (wow, did he just say incoming).

This election is fast becoming the 'Transport Election' and it will have to decide the long term benefit of a yet another Taxpayer and Investment disgrace. This is not about kissing babys. It is about a 6 year project (that will take longer) that will distroy families and homes, will disrupt those going from the Northern Suburbs down to the CBD and those going to the North for many years (10% of a normal life time almost). It is also the Election of Moving People. We don't seem to care about people getting around anymore, we just seem to care about cars. So Liberals are promising a new bike way or two, let's get this straight - this is a buy off to win back the Cyclist Vote. It is not guaranteed, but is instead an optional extra. The new bikeways are uncosted, they are window dressing and in the West they offer nothing new while removing for many years what is there already. In the East we get to spill into major roads that the cars will not use anymore (like Hoddle St), I mean how stupid can you be? Hoddle St will never reduce in traffic.

I hear you cry that people want to go to the airport, well that would be no problem because if we had better public transport in the East, people would use it and the roads would have less traffic to begin with.

This whole shame reminds me of a famous quote:


Walter Kulash - "Trying to cure congestion with more capacity is like trying to cure obesity by loosening your belt." 

The last nail in the coffin for me on this is the endorsement today from Bicycle Network. It raised a red flag to say that this is being done behind the scenes, behind closed doors. Now a lot of people like to demonise Bicycle Network, and even I have had my run ins, but this scares me.

Cycling in Melbourne is way above the normal levels, we have some of the best infrastructure around, some of it is thanks to Bicycle Network, a lot more is thanks to people that get paid nothing to do it. My money is always on what Grass Roots wants. And I stand firm, this will knock us back years for more traffic to ruin what we have as a beautiful city. Time to pick up the placards and put ourselves out to work.

If we allow them to do this, riders will be pushed on to major roads for months and even years while these are butted into place.

If anyone thinks this is a win for cycling in Victoria, be prepared to be disappointed. If you want to see cycling grow in Melbourne, we don't need to be an after thought on an unwanted tunnel.

Here is the best reference for you to jump on:
Yarra Campaign for Action on Transport (YCAT)

Blog based on this Age Article
Cyclists on track for sleek new East West Link route

It is no surprise that I love the Bike Corral. They are such an interesting piece of street furniture, and so functional. It is just amazing we don't see more of them yet. They are functional, on street parking for many bikes that are usaully in the place of one ex-car spot.

There is one in Yarraville, in Melbourne. It is a twisting pipe of steel tube with a number of right angled bends to form a Corral snake of gray and silver. For the most part, these can look interesting but - lets face it - ugly.

When you look on Google maps at Jave Cafe in Yarraville, you would be asking why? Why put that there when no one is using it?

But a look around the net shows it does get used:

_____________________________________________

My favorite Bike Corral was at Fifeteen Pounds. Again, just twisted metal, and yet so useful.

Read more ...

A Tale of Two Cities – Comparisons of Cycling Infrastructure between Perth and Brisbane

Written by Andrew Keith

So the Commandaneur Fatboy had a few trips to Perth for business. Not wanting to get too much fatter given that when on business travel “every night is Thursday night” (you know, on a Thursday it is nearly Friday so you might go out for a meal, and have a couple of drinks, nothing bingey but still) Fatboy hired a bike from a LBS (CAAD 8 Aluminium with Tiagra components – not bad for a hire) and went exploring.

What he found was in stark contrast to Brisbane.

On first glance Fatboy finds Perth and Brisbane pretty similar. Both are the capitals of vast states with large mining and agricultural industries. Both cities have populations around the 2 million mark (Brisbane slightly higher and Perth slightly lower) and both are built around the banks of a river. They both have a dominant central business district with commuters from far flung urban sprawl. Demographically one would therefore expect that cycling demand for infrastructure would be similar.

For construction of cycling infrastructure Perth does seem to have some advantages that a large portion of the Swan River frontage is public space, rather than private land, and the terrain is flatter and the soil sandy promoting smoother and lower maintenance paths.

It also seems to have had the advantage in transport planning with freeways and rail corridors combined (what an idea Brisbane) and many also have cycleways in the same corridor. Meanwhile in Brisbane after retro-fitting a Busway to the South East Freeway a bikeway wasn’t included in the same corridor – instead we have the twisty, on and off so called V1 bikeway.

Many bridges had cycling decks underneath the main traffic decks, not just on one side but both sides.

Fatboy cycled from the city west to the West Coast Highway and  then 30km north along the coast and through the sand dunes to Joondalup – with the opportunity to ride on smooth, wide relatively straight bikeway all the way. So pleasant and picturesque was the riding that Fatboy only turned around when the path ran out at a sand hill. Compared to Brisbane’s on again – off again Moreton Bay Cycleway it was vastly superior. So was the Indian Ocean, beaches and headlands though Moreton Bay will always come off second best there no matter how good the cycling infrastructure.

Sandy soil notwithstanding almost without exception every cycling path was 3m wide, smooth asphalt, often of red colour to differentiate from the road and with clear line markings and good signage.

In contrast Brisbane bike paths are a very mixed bag in material, width and quality and line marking and signage is relatively poor. Indeed it is the Commandaneur’s opinion that to design bike paths in Brisbane one needs the qualifications of not having ridden a bike since childhood, so windy paths for no apparent reason are much more fun than direct paths, and an addiction to “bike bananas” in an effort to injure as many cyclists as possible (not a single example of this abomination was sighted in Perth).

In short Perth has some natural advantages, but it more than makes the best of them. The Fatboy would far prefer to ride in Perth than in Brisbane, unless he is looking for a mountain to climb.

Swans on the Swan River as the sun rises

What is the difference between an editorial and a news piece?

We have been told over and over again about the way journalists report the news and how we can say we have had 10 weeks PSA-Moving Cycling Forwardwith out a Cycle Hating Editorial, so I thought I would do some research to find the best way to explain this to you.

An editorial is much more opinionated, it uses language with much more connotative associations be they positive or negative. It will probably be emotive and border on hyperbolic, the writer's biases will become obvious. It may remove a lot of the context and express ideas that would be obvious to the reader it is trying to address, insult or degenerate. No descriptions of various technical terms will need to be used as it is assumes the target reader will know what the writer is targetting.

A news piece is near polar opposite, it will attempt to be defined and direct rather than subjective, not using persuasion and bias, describing an events or an occurrence. It may in a small way show some bias, it will aim to avoid this through the use of its phrase and wording.

Examples of this in cycling is numerous, but we tend to believe that any article that talks of cycling in any form is an editorial, I call this the "It wasn't me" phenomenon. The current example was the 'Cranky Cyclist' news piece from today. This was released by multiple papers and we chose to go with the least offensive paper being the news story, even though the content (predominantly provided on the Qld police page) was filled with other content.

Editorials in the past were always filled with targeted and angry commentary from people that have no idea on the subject and have been asked by their editor to 'write a piece'. Unfortunately, this is usually collected from the 'Bad Writers Handbook' and is designed to get everyone angry. First the cycling groups, and then the general public feel the need to chime in with their personal beliefs on the subject.

So, the next time you read an article, ask yourself, is this a News Piece or an Editorial, and until the next editorial comes out, let's enjoy the road, relax, and go for a ride.

Remember editorials = persuasive, hyperbolic opinionated.
Articles = informative, descriptive, with little bias.

http://aseasyasridingabike.wordpress.com/2012/09/25/the-terrible-journalists-guide-to-writing-an-article-about-bicycles/

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