matagi wrote:The sad truth of the matter is that bikes do not travel as fast as cars especially in heavy traffic moving at 50/60 k. In this situation, bikes slow cars down and contribute to increased congestion, increased pollution etc, etc.
That's not been my experience. I commute every day down roads with lanes which cannot safely accomodate a car and a bicycle at the same time.
In light traffic cars have little trouble getting around me, they don't even have to slow down. In congestion it might take them fifteen seconds or so but, thanks to the congestion, they cannot attain the speed limit before running in to the back of the car in front. Sure a car has to negotiate it's way around you but it makes no difference to the overall journey time.
Also, in heavy traffic cyclists don't always obey the road rules fully.
No, people don't always follow the road rules. Mobile 'phone use, failure to indicate, drink driving etc. The mode of transport you employ has no bearing on your propensity for breaking the law.
For example, they will pass a long line of cars stopped at traffic lights where they do not actually have a lane to do so and then when the lights change, you have a bicycle in front of the traffic slowing everything down unnecessarily.
Firstly that's entirely legal under road rule 141
141. No overtaking etc. to the left of a vehicle
(1) A driver (except the rider of a bicycle) must not overtake a vehicle to the left
of the vehicle unless—
(a) the driver is driving on a multi-lane road and the vehicle can be safely
overtaken in a marked lane to the left of the vehicle; or
(b) the vehicle is turning right, or making a U-turn from the centre of the
road, and is giving a right change of direction signal.
Penalty: 3 penalty units.
Note Bicycle, centre of the road, marked lane, multi-lane road, overtake, right change
of direction signal and U-turn are defined in the dictionary.
(2) The rider of a bicycle must not ride past, or overtake, to the left of a vehicle
that is turning left and is giving a left change of direction signal.
Penalty: 3 penalty units.
Secondly it's been my experience that overtaking to the front of traffic has no effect on traffic flow. Generally speaking if you catch the first set of lights in a car you're going to catch every set in that road. They're engineered that way for traffic flow purposes. Motorists have the perception that they have been delayed but the fact is that they haven't.
I had this discussion with a friend a couple of weeks ago. He expressed annoyance that he had to overtake the same cyclist six times in succession. I asked him how he could possibly be delaying him if he kept managing to get around him? Wouldn't it be more likely that the car in front of him (and the car in front of him and the car in front of him etc etc) be the culprit?
Personally I prefer to maintain my position in the lane as a part of normal traffic, that is to say I'm behind the car in front of me just as if I'm a car. I do this because it makes me more visible and discourages motorists behind me from not allowing enough space when overtaking.
(motorbikes do this too, but at least they have the advantage of awesome acceleration so they get away from the traffic quickly)
This is in danger of being made illegal, a bone headed move in my opinion. I'm not a motorcyclist but it seems to me that lane splitting eases congestion with little risk to the motorcyclist or others, but that's getting of topic.
Your average non-bicycle owning motorist who has forked out a small fortune to get and keep his/her car on the road then gets somewhat peeved by the "selfish" cyclists clogging up the road and before you know it there are people saying bicycles should be banned from roads. In fact, there was just such an article in the editorial pages of the Sydney Morning Herald a few months ago.
Ah the thinking man's paper. Fact is that a car takes up eight times more road space than a bicycle so it can hardly be the cyclist who's being selfish. Rhetoric such as this can only be countered by facts such as I've outlined.
Given the way most people drive - and there are some frighteningly bad drivers out there - I reckon bike lanes are far better than trying to mingle with the motorised traffic.
Most, in fact the overwhelming majortiy, drive just fine. Claim the lane when necessary, be courteous and co-operative and sharing the road with other road users is a doddle.
Anonymity is a shield from the tyranny of the majority. . . .