We would like the ACT Government to be accountable and invest wisely, so we measure and monitoring all sorts of things. However, not everything that matters can be measured, and not everything that we can measure matters, but it matters what we measure. Confused? TCCS is. We want more people to walk and cycle, but we do not measure that. We measure congestion instead, which we do not want. We want our streets safer for walking and riding. Traffic management studies required data, but we do not collect data on that which matters: the safety of walking and cycling.
Austroads has produced many good and useful standards. One of the best is Guide to Road Design Part 6A: Paths for Walking and Cycling (AGRD06A). The ACT Active Travel Standards (MIS05) are compliment by the Austroads AGRD06A. The Austroads National Standard is more detailed than the ACT equivalent and complements the local standard.
“Separation of cyclists and motorists is paramount to increasing cyclists numbers.” Most cyclist do not feel safe riding on the road, and Austroads agrees with them. The 2012 ACT Strategic Cycle Network Plan (FOI 20-030) by Spackman Mossop Michaels makes clear that cycle lanes are a mistake. Furthermore, ACT achievements between between 2012 and 2022, shows that cycling network has made little progress. Cause for concern!
VicRoads Cycle Notes 21 (August 2013) has advice on the widths of off-road shared use paths. It is not the most recent. Austroads Guide to Road Design Part 6A: Paths for Walking and Cycling (AGRD06A) and the Netherlands CROW publication are more recent. Still, it is worth noting that even back in 2013 VicRoads were aware of what we in Canberra need and still do not have.
This section provides data on the trends, risks, and costs of Canberra car culture, where vulnerable road users have ‘no place on our road’, and the young and the old are particularly at risk. They are disadvantaged not only due to cognitive (or physical) limitations but also due to the lack of options. Some of the best reasons for fixing active travel in Canberra are health, human equity, and safety.
Active travel will only work if they feel it is safe to be on the streets, particularly when it is dark and/or we are alone. It is important, for many reasons, that we create cities where we feel comfortable. Active travel certainly depends on it.
Bicycles are arguably the most efficient machine ever invented, however, everything has its limits. A 30m section of steep path is all that is required to bring a cyclist to a stop. Pushing a bike up steep paths is not popular amongst cyclists. Better is to build the paths so that they are never so steep to become unrideable. Austroads Standards tell us how. Hilly terrain requires careful route and path design.
More needs to be done about cycling safety, and it starts with reporting accidents. For road cyclists, this is how.
The ongoing saga of Aranda bike path. Maintenance is sorely needed but despite the newest promises nothing had been done. ACT Labor’s cycling ambition is underwhelming which leaves them on the back foot and it takes years to organise routine maintenance. Here is an example.
The National Cycling Participation Survey tells us how Canberrans use their bike and what they think about cycling.