It is a great day for riders when construction authorities make a special effort to keep riders safe when steel plates have to be placed on roads where many people are riding.
Usually the plates are uneven, with protruding tyre-splitting bolts, slippery surfaces and badly positioned asphalt lips.
If you want to know where they are you usually just have to ask the ambulance service as they become quite familiar with where the bikes are crashing.
Now we know it doesn’t have to be like this.
On Melbourne’s Beach Road, which carries as many as 20,000 bikes on a weekend, and many early morning bunch rides throughout the year plus daily commuter hoards, a vastly better solution has been used.
Instead of sitting above the road, the plates have been inserted into the road, so they are even, and flush with the surface. As well, the plates have been coated with an anti-slip surface.
You can ride over them, and hardly know they are there.
Although, you can’t miss them because of the bright gold colour.
Paradoxically, the high visibility of the plates is causing some riders to swerve around them, presumably as they think they are of the typically hazardous variety.
So far, the rider feedback has been very positive.
The credit goes to Melbourne Water and its contractors, who worked closely with Bicycle Network to get an understanding of what was needed to get a good outcome for the pedal-powered road users.
The question is: Why can't this be done all over Australia where there are busy bike routes with sewer, or water mains, or electricity cables underneath that are getting worked on?
Is it really that hard to take a little extra care that might keep a few collarbones intact?
Right now, while these new plates are smoothing the path of riders, there are numerous other hazardous plates on roads in Melbourne and other cities which have just been slapped down thoughtlessly.
Lets try and get this dodgy practice fixed.
Next time you see one, grab a photo and send it to us with the details of the location and the project. And good projects too – lets also recognise those that are doing a decent job.