Blog entries tagged with "road rules"

Those slow flashes

Thursday, December 6th, 2018 at 10:21pm

Today was was my first time riding to work in too long and although there was plenty of light, as I rode on the suspended section under the freeway near Kooyong I was reminded of something that annoys me because it can be dangerous: a slow flashing front light.

So what am I talking about? Consider this road rule:

259. Riding at night
    The rider of a bicycle must not ride at night, or in hazardous weather
    conditions causing reduced visibility, unless the bicycle, or the rider, displays -
    (a) a flashing or steady white light that is clearly visible for at least 200 metres
        from the front of the bicycle; and
    (b) a flashing or steady red light that is clearly visible for at least 200 metres
        from the rear of the bicycle; and
    (c) a red reflector that is clearly visible for at least 50 metres from the rear of
        the bicycle when light is projected onto it by a vehicle's headlight on low-beam

On its face this is all reasonable, my particular issue is with the word “flashing” because it doesn’t indicate how slow or fast the flash should be.

I prefer a fast flash as it draws your attention, but is still continuous enough that you can follow where it is, especially when there is a bend or obstructions.

On the other hand a slow (where you can notice the delay) flash I find to be dangerous as you may not have seen enough flashes to get an idea of the direction and speed the bike is moving, before you need to allow for the direction to be changing because of a bend or curve in the path.

The compounding factor with this morning’s example was that it was also a super bright light. The sun wasn’t quite up and the freeway casts a decent shadow, it isn’t good to be faced with a blinding intermittent light on a narrow path with metal railings on both sides.

For the record I had my lights on, if I want to see I have the front on steady, but I wanted to be seen so today was the fast flash…

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What is a bicycle lane?

Thursday, October 31st, 2013 at 08:58pm

It didn’t take me long after moving into my place in Mount Waverley to determine what while there were options (length, hills, shops) for my bicycle commute home, the commute to work was via Lawrence Road and Pinewood Drive:

While this still involved a decent hill, it was fairly steady and didn’t have anywhere near the traffic of Blackburn Road. What wasn’t clear was whether Pinewood Drive had bicycle lanes. There were no signs or markings, just wide parking lanes, yet the council’s maps of bicycle paths (local copy) showed it as having on-road marked lanes.

In February 2011 I contacted the council and then in April 2011 they painted bicycle logos. However they never installed signs, which means they were not legally (according to VicRoads information) bicycle lanes.

For a week after they painted the bicycle logos I used the “lanes” but after three near-doorings I didn’t use them again, but I continued to ride along Pinewood Drive.

A few weeks ago the council resurfaced Pinewood Drive and once they started to mark our for new lines I asked the council via twitter if the new lanes would continue across intersections. The answer was yes. But once they started marking the actual lines I realised my question was too narrow. Instead I should have asked if they would follow current design standards in general, not just one specific part.

It isn’t as if the council’s Walking and Cycling Strategy (local copy) – adopted 30 April 2013 – has a section (6.3, page 22) about ensuring consistent design standards. Oh wait, yes it does. See page 14 for ‘Ensuring consistent design standards’ and action item 18 references Austroads and VicRoads guidelines.

Those guidelines are available online: VicRoads – Design Standards for Bicycles and Austroads Guidelines. I haven’t bothered to register to get the free PDF download from Austroads, since the Cycle Notes No. 12 – Design Standards for Bicycles (local copy) looks to have sufficient information.

This is the third page from that document:

To me it provides a pretty good overview of how a modern bicycle lane should be marked out.

Here are two photos of the new markings (note quite complete) in Pinewood Drive:

Pinewood Drive and Waverley Road

Pinewood Drive and Illuka Cres

So what issues do I see?

The text at the top of page 3 in cycle note 12 says that bicycle lanes are defined by:

  • painting two, 100mm wide, solid white lines on each side of the bicycle lane – nope, left hand side is broken line
  • painting bicycle logos – ok, there are some of these, but more later…
  • installing bicycle lane signs – not yes, maybe they will be installed this time?

Referncing between the page 3 diagram and my two photos:

  • Bicycle logo is not at the start of the lane.
  • Solid lines and a painted island prevent entry into the bicycle lane. Has this been just marked wrong? See the spray painted line…
  • Instead of a parking lane line to define the parking area, there is a broken line
  • Continuity lines (there is only a single line) do not continue through the intersection. Though the marking out has two lines…
  • The end of the bicycle lane (under the painters truck on the other side of the road) does not end of a short length of continuity line.
  • Why is the end of the parking bay angled, not squared off as in the diagram?

This post is partially being written as my way of explaining my concerns to the council, it will be interesting to see what happens. And I haven’t even covered the eastern end of Pinewood Drive (between the school crossing and Blackburn Road) which the council’s map shows has having marked bicycle lanes, yet…

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The islands are no longer just painted on

Friday, May 1st, 2009 at 10:07pm

A bit over a year ago I took this photo of England Road after it was changed from having no line markings to having a shoulder for parking and a series of painted islands between the traffic lanes:

Is this legal parking?

Since I took that photo I have been varying my route home, but I usually go this way once or twice a week. Earlier in the week work began on the four painted islands and yesterday I took this photo of the result, all four are now actualy traffic islands:

The islands are no longer just painted on

(The photo isn’t the best, it was quite late and there wasn’t much light, and in hindsight I should have recreated the original photo.)

So what does this mean?

Previously when riding home this way cars would simply drive over the painted islands (I still don’t know what the road rule is about that), but now I suppose that they have two choices:

  • wait until after the traffic islands where there is space for them to overtake; or
  • try to overtake in one of the gaps between the islands.

I sure hope that they choose the first option, there is not space for the second.

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Some road rules about lights

Sunday, April 26th, 2009 at 11:04pm

Consider this road rule:

215. Using lights when driving at night or in hazardous weather conditions
     (1) A driver must not drive at night, or in hazardous weather
          conditions causing reduced visibility unless -
         (a) the headlights, tail lights and number plate light fitted to
             the driver's vehicle are operating effectively and are clearly
             visible; and
         (b) if the vehicle is fitted with clearance lights or side marker
             lights - those lights are operating effectively and are clearly

And the accompanying definition from the dictionary:

night means the period between sunset on one day and sunrise on the next day.

This means that in Melbourne tomorrow you must not drive your car after 5:38PM without turning on your headlights.

The other aspects of this rule is about weather causing reduced visibility. I have yet to find a clear definition of this, but to me this is situtations where fog makes it hard to see, rain (even very light rain) makes it hard to see, heavy cloud cover makes it hard to see, etc.

Why am I mentioning this?

Because as a road user (both as a cyclist and car driver) I see a large proportion of other road users that do not know this rule. This is important because at night in busy traffic, what is the difference between a gap in the traffic and an idiot without their headlights on?

Read the rest of this entry…

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Inconsistent responses from Victoria Police

Sunday, April 26th, 2009 at 04:07pm

I’m annoyed with the Victorian Police at the moment.

Hold on… let me back up a bit…

This woman is a danger to other road users and should not be allowed to drive a vehicle:

UTN-201 has a dangerous driver

Whoops… not far back enough…

On Thursday I was riding to work as usual and had turned into Ivanhoe Street from Waverley Road, my next turn is a right into Leicester Ave. As I was nearing the right turn I heard the car behind me – I had seen it in my mirror – come over the speedhump quite hard (ie quite fast) so I moved a bit more to the right (to be just to the left of the centre of the road) and indicated right in accordance with this road rule:

31.  Starting a right turn from a road (except a multi-lane road)
     (3) If the road does not have a dividing line or median strip
         and is not a one-way road, the driver must approach and
         enter the intersection from the left of, parallel to, and as
         near as practicable to, the centre of the road.

So there I was: riding to the left of the centre of the road and indicating right. So what did the car do?

Read the rest of this entry…

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