Tuesday, 15 January 2013

A good article from SQ Law on the state of cycling in Toowoomba.

Click on the article to get it full size.

Monday, 5 November 2012

Toowoomba to Allora return ride

The ride left the Art Gallery Gardens at just after 8.00 am, having waited for Noel to fix his first puncture on his new bike. As we left, Margaret's changer fell off and had to be repaired by Justin of Bikeline, as he sat having his breakfast at the Metro cafe. Dedication Justin, dedication. The day was hot and windy, all the way to Allora while being punctuated with excitement, such as the Angry Mower at the Cambooya pub and the personal views of cyclists from the Sheriff of Clifton. Snaps supplied not by Andrew 'Lord Snowdon', who had to work that weekend, but by Rob.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

20mph: A snapshot of the evidence

A new survey commissioned by Sustrans shows that 70 per cent of British people want the speed limit to be dropped to 20 miles per hour in residential areas to make them safer. But it’s not just public opinion that supports an area-wide roll out of 20mph - the evidence of the safety, health and economic benefits is irrefutable. Safer streets There were 405 pedestrian and 111 cyclist deaths in Britain in 2010, yet we know that reducing speeds saves lives. When the Transport Research Lab (TRL) reviewed 250 20mph schemes across Great Britain they found that accidents per year fell by 60%1, and a recent British Medical Journal study showed that the introduction of 20mph zones was associated with 42% fewer road casualties. Younger children were the main beneficiaries in this reduction in causalities, and serious injuries and fatalities also dropped significantly. A better place to walk and cycle High vehicle speeds are the greatest deterrent to walking and cycling. Reviews show that reducing speeds to 20 mph (30 km/h) encourages more people to walk and cycle3. A 20 mph speed limit in built-up areas allows for the safe mixing of motorised and non-motorised modes of transport, and makes it easier for pedestrians and cyclists to enjoy the same direct and safe routes for their journeys as motorists. Smoother traffic flow, reduced congestion and cheaper fuel When 30km/h zones were introduced in Germany, car drivers changed gear 12% less often, braked 14% less often and required 12% less fuel4. Research also showed that driving at a steady 30 kph reduces vehicle emissions as braking and accelerating between junctions and other obstacles decreases. Sociable places Heavy traffic damages communities – and the speed of traffic plays a key role. A study from the Commission for Integrated Transport found that where cities have 20 mph speed limits covering between 65% and 85% of the street network, they are transformed “from being noisy, polluted places into vibrant, people-centred environments.” Economic benefits There are clear financial benefits to 20mph. In 2010, the estimated cost to the economy of collisions in Britain was around £15 billion.7 Conversely, area-wide 20mph limits are low cost and high benefit. For example, Portsmouth converted 1200 streets in the city to 20mph for a cost of just over half a million pounds whilst Transport for London (TfL) estimates that the 20mph London’s zones are already estimated to be saving the city more than £20 million every year by preventing crashes.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012


TRC Council candidates respond

All 21 Toowoomba Regional Council election candidates responding to a survey question on cycling and road safety supported a 50kmh speed limit or less on Toowoomba streets. Currently Toowoomba suffers from having speed limits up to 60 kmh in many built up areas and even within in the city zone.

Co-ordinator for the Toowoomba Bicycle Users Group (TBUG), Mr. David Allworth said, “A reduction in speed from 60kmh to 50kmh reduces the chances of a fatality for cyclists and pedestrians by nearly half.

“This reduction would be an important step in the right direct for making our roads more conducive for cycling, not to mention driving,” Mr Allworth said.

Research shows a reduction in speed from 60kmh to 50kmh reduces the chance of a fatality for pedestrians and cyclists, from 9 out of 10 to 5 out of 10 and the chances of fatality at 40kmh are down to 3 out of 10, while at 30 kph it is only 1 out of 10.

"It is very pleasing to see that five council candidates supported an 30kmh and 40kmh speed limits on our streets, which is in line with researched thinking in other Australian states and particularly in some European nations," Mr. Allworth said.

"Council candidates also very strongly supported the creation of a Bicycle Advisory Committee and no parking in bike-lanes.

“The current council permits parking in bicycle lanes. This makes cycling more dangerous and wastes ratepayers funds by building a bicycle lane only to the allow parked cars to block bicycle movement within it," Mr. Allworth said.

"The last two councils have failed to bring together community and government to generate the discussion, consultation and innovation necessary to encourage more people to cycle and make cycling safer for those who already ride. The way forward is through the creation of a Bicycle Advisory Committee," Mr. Allworth said.

All candidates who provided an email address were surveyed with a total of 21 council candidates and one mayoral candidate responding.

"It is a great shame that apart from Mr. Rob Berry, all the other candidates for Mayor decided not to outline their position on the cycling to the community they hope to serve. But this does reflect the inertia that cycling has coped with in the first term of Toowoomba's expanded council," Mr. Allworth said.

“Addressing the issue of cycling is a key pillar for any efforts to make Toowoomba and district more liveable,” Mr Allworth said.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Nelson Street roundabout makes the news

CYCLISTS have hit out at Toowoomba Regional Council for failing to supply adequate bike lanes on the city's roads.

The Toowoomba Chronicle inspected the new Nelson Street roundabout with TBUG and wrote this story:

TBUG has now written to Bicycle Queensland, Transport & Main Roads, and Austroads, the so-called standard setters of Australian road design, and we await word back from them all.

Austroads, in particular, seems to be responsible for allowing poor design to continue as an option for local authorities and it is hard to understand why this is so.

Maybe it will take a death or injury event and legal action against councils, TMR officials and Austroads standard setters before the message gets through, that the continual prioritisation of motor vehicles, at the cost of cycler safety, on what the law recognises as a shared space, is not an acceptable return for tax and rate monies invested?

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Nelson Street roundabout: Lookout for your life!

Recently, TBUG posted shots of the new roundabout at Drayton Road, and wrote to the council asking them to revisit the design, with the primary concern being for the safety of the cycler rather than for the swift passage of the motor vehicles that we share the roads with.

TBUG asked them not to mark out Nelson Street, at least until we had been able to discuss it with them.

TRC has declined to respond, so far, at least.

Now we post new pictures of the Nelson Street roundabout, that uses the same design as we raised concerns about over at Drayton.

While standing at this roundabout, a number of vehicles, all cars, shot through the intersection at high speed, crossing into the bike lanes in order to get around the 8 metre concrete circle.

Nelson Street is a 60 kph speed zone, which is frequently exceeded by vehicles.

If one of the functions of a roundabout is to slow traffic, then this design is a failure.

As to the bike lanes going around the roundabout, this is what the Austroads people said in 1999:

Allott & Lomax reported that in an early attempt to provide for cyclists, a mandatory bicycle lane was marked around the periphery of the circulating roadway of a roundabout, giving cyclists priority access across approaches whilst other traffic had priority at the exits. A performance study indicated that cyclists felt that their trip was improved although crashes involving cyclists continued. It was also reported this treatment has been withdrawn in the absence of any detectable benefits for cyclists, due to the fact that cyclists are kept in the outer edge, 'the most hazardous area of the circulatory carriageway'

In 2011, Austroads warn designers of roundabouts:

A number of jurisdictions do not favour the provision of bicycle lanes on the approach to, and around the periphery of, roundabouts. Designers should clarify the policy of local jurisdictions before considering the application of cycle lanes at roundabouts. The matter is under review by the Austroads Road Design Review Panel and other key stakeholders including cycling organisations and road safety practicioners. Further advice will be issued in due course.


Nelson Street: bike lane or trailer park?

The TBUG wrote to each TRC councillor in early October 2011, requesting they police the bike lane on the eastern side of Ruthven Street, at Nelson Street, where a car trailer has been parked for weeks, months, and some have suggested years, barely, if ever, moving.

Apart from three or four perfunctory 'thank you for your question' responses, we have heard nothing back.

TBUG wrote again on 26 October 2011, and we await a detailed response.

A complaint has been lodged with the TRC Customer Service Centre also, and we await either feedback or action there.