Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Right of Way in Canberra

One of the newest cycle paths in the ACT ,is the recently finished  Mouat street cycle path from Northbourne Ave to the Lyneham Sports centre.

 One of the features of this 1km cycle path,was not its cost of over a half a million dollars, but that it has two right of way crossings for pedestrians/cyclists. Generally cars have right of way over pedestrians and cyclists so these type of crossings are a rarity in Australia and are only in a handful of locations in the ACT ,the main one being De Burgh street in Lyneham. These right of way crossings are used to give cyclists priority over cars entering or leaving a sports ground car park.

Now if these were pedestrian crossings under Australian law the cyclist would have to dismount and then walk the bike across. This is the law in many European cities including the Netherlands. That's why you see a cycle crossing next to a pedestrian crossing so that both the cyclist and pedestrian have right of way.

While I would like to see more of these type of crossings ACT Roads is tentatively installing right of way crossings for cyclists on low volume intersections, usually at driveway crossings such as at Mouat street and in very low traffic streets in residential areas. But I would argue that the car should give way more often to promote more walking and cycling. Being stuck in the middle of a busy intersection isn't much fun.

Here is another great video from Mark Wagenbuur with a right of way crossing in the Netherlands, s-Hertogenbosch, at a dual carriageway intersection. Most of the cyclists are secondary school children cycling home from school. The speed limit on this dual carriageway is 50 km/h. Mopeds are allowed to use the cycle paths which is a contentious issue in the Netherlands.

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