Where to ride?

Glebe Road

Glebe Road

Today as I was riding to Bar Beach, I found myself in The Junction on Glebe Road.

This is an area where I try to avoid cycling as it is inherently dangerous with car doors and close by traffic travelling at a reasonable speed. I have the choice to either ride on the road or on the footpath: a choice between dangerous and illegal. The footpath is also not without its dangers as cars can reverse from driveways.

Today I chose to ride on the road as there was little traffic.
The road has been newly surfaced and marked with bike pictures in the car door zone. This is not considered best practice now and the pictures are all to be removed from our roads, but in the meantime we have to live with them. The trouble with these bike pictures is that they send a message to cyclists and car drivers alike that it is where the cyclist should ride. But it is not compulsory, as this is not a designated legal bike lane. I ride slightly to the right of the unbroken line, putting me out of the door zone and giving cars the opportunity to pass me safely, provided no oncoming traffic is present. Today was a good day – no cars passed me in this area, but every time I ride here, my heart is a little bit in my mouth …

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12 Responses to Where to ride?

  1. Don says:

    Not sure where to post this, but a few years ago when I bought a bike from a bike dealer, the ever helpful guy said to me that I would need a bell…. was a bit naive about bikes at the time…. I want to share my last two weeks of riding around using my bell… on Fernleigh Track two kids ( maybe 8-10) slowly riding with their mum … as I approached and passed them one kid said , thank you for using the bell, no-one else ever does. Riding near the Fish markets an older guy ( maybe 80 yrs), as I passed said thanks for using the bell. and down the foreshore another person said something similar.
    I reflected on how many times I have been overtaken by bicycles ( I am not a slow rider, but not Cadell Evans either) where there was no warning of someone about to overtake me.. maybe only 2-3 in a hundred.
    Bells are required by law on a bicycle. We need to use them, let people know we are coming… my experience shows they do appreciate it… so ring… loud and clear.. over and over if necessary
    PS this doesn’t solve the problem of people listening to Doof Doof on their IPad and don’t hear!!

  2. Steve Towell says:

    Yes, but I’ve also had abuse flung at me, “don’t ring your bell at me, I’ll walk where I want” (expletives removed).

    Now I tend to ring the bell much like I would use the car horn, if I can pass easily with no danger I will not use it, but if the person I’m passing looks unpredictable or needs to be aware of me coming then I’ll ring, and I will ALWAYS thank those that move over in response to the bell.

  3. There are a few spots in Newcastle that I just can’t avoid, where the only way I’ll feel safe is to ride on the footpath. Our cycleways REALLY need updating.

    • Vicki says:

      Agree with all these points. I have only been told to get off the bike once by a policeman when I was on the footpath. That was ok as I was about to go up a steep hill and had to walk anyway!

  4. Ralph says:

    I found if I rode in the shoulder of the road where the bikes are painted I was almost invisible to drivers, so now I ride just inside the lane giving them enough room to drive around me. If I am riding up hill, then I will go into the shoulder to allow traffic to flow freer. Now I am on night shift and ride at night I find it safer and easier because of little traffic and they can see the flashing lights on my bike easily and know I am there.

    • Vicki says:

      Where I ride depends on the circumstances. Usually I ride as you describe, but in some situations I will take the lane where the traffic is slow. When traffic is fast and the road is narrow, I ride on the footpath.

  5. Dan Endicott says:

    Please stop referring to “space designated for cyclists”. (NSW Road Rules 153, 144 & 247 advise to ride the safe way (usually 1.5m away from parked cars) RTA.nsw.gov.au. Freshly painted , Noooo!. Vicki please inform the Council, it was my understanding that they shouldn’t be repainting these confusing ones

    • Vicki says:

      Dan, I didn’t say that. I chose my words carefully to indicate that this is not a legal or safe bike lane.
      This is part of rule 153:
      (4) A
      “bicycle lane” is a marked lane, or the part of a marked lane:
      (a) beginning at a bicycle lane sign applying to the lane, or a road marking comprising both a white bicycle symbol and the word lane painted in white, and
      (b) ending at the nearest of the following:
      (i) an end bicycle lane sign applying to the lane, or a road marking comprising both a white bicycle symbol and the words lane end painted in white,
      (ii) an intersection (unless the lane is at the unbroken side of the continuing road at a T-intersection or continued across the intersection by broken lines),
      (iii) if the road ends at a dead end-the end of the road.

      So this is in no way a bike lane and that is part of the point I was making. It was brought up at the last council consultative meeting I attended that the RMS is getting rid of these dangerous pictures as they resurface the roads, but it does look new and in fact I think I will mention it at the next meeting. I don’t think the bike pictures have a legal meaning at all.

  6. I didn’t know these were not legal bike lanes Vicki, thanks for explaining the situation. I must confess I frequently ride on the footpath. When I find those dodgy stretches of road its just my automatic reaction to go up on the footpath – I’ve got to go somewhere! I have been lucky enough to never have been pulled over by the police, been run over by a reversing car from a hidden drive way or (heaven forbid) knocked someone over! But I really really want proper bike lanes.

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