This page is needed to understand bicycling in Newcastle, NSW, Aus today. Ideally we have proper separated bike lanes so it would be easy to get around. But until we get a CycleSafeNetwork.org.au solution you need to do about 2 hours of research to understand the secrets.
“Less road congestion (shorter travel times), more pedestrian safety, non-discriminating transport” Everyone wants this for everyone to be happy! Living closer to work/shops and many (not all) single occupant cars switching to buses or pushbikes (separate safe active transport network or safe back street short cuts). More roads and urban sprawl did not work for Sydney and doesn’t anywhere else in the world. Active travel is world’s best practice for saving time, lives and better for mental health! Frees up space for emergency vehicles, and people with disabled permits. The 2030 vision for City of Newcastle is for over 50% of trips by active transport (walk, cycle, bus, train). Fom Newy council’s 2030 vision (with full community consultation) document on their website.
Quick top 10
1. Road rules are here to help us all (same rules for cars and bikes, except for a few oddities). Never ride so close to parked cars that if they opened their door you would go immediately into the traffic lane where a car could hit you. Do not play this Russian Roulette game even if a bike picture (fake bike lane) is wrongly placed in the door opening zone. See points below for where to ride. Avoid the lightrail roads in CBD (the rail edges are bad, like driveway edges. One bike skill while riding is to lift the front wheel over edges so only the rear wheel will hit the edge (better to be done “out of the saddle” style).
It is very hard for people to change their behaviour even under the most compelling of circumstances. Science call it the Backfire effect of the brains defence mechanism to fight off its current views). Do you value reducing death, disease, danger and being happier? What is your indirect effect on others?
A fully covered electric-assist cargo pushbike ( or tricycle) with a trailer means no matter your fitness or what you have to carry you can ride. Pushbikes can be as easy as walking, just use the easy gears. So you do not sweat as much, but are faster than you may think. Take a sponge/washer and have a wipe down OR have a shower. Appropriate exercise (moderate to high intensity) is good for mental health and happiness, and ethical to stay out of hospitals. Save time combining exercise and transport. Never get to the end of the day without exercise again.
5. All Newcastle Cars tailgate other cars dangerously (should leave a safe 3 second gap to car in front, but most leave a dangerous 1 second gap, The police will soon enforce this to reduce the road death toll). Discover safety with better cycling skills on our website. Form good habits with appropriate use of technology and don’t create danger by driving cars. Urban sprawl is making broadband, homes & other infrustructure too costly.
6. Report bad bus driving to transportnsw.info, they have cameras on board to prove they were dangerous. Buses require a 4 second safety gap to the car in front of them (about 60 metres at 60km/hr). Anything less than 4 seconds and they are tailgating. Be happy to know that you can have good safety on pushbikes, and not tailgate like 99% of cars do.
LEARN more stuff that could save your life! A more comprehensive list of safe cycling and great Take Action page is at NUBUG.wordpress.com
Walking (including public transport) vs. Pushbikes vs. Cars (these are all just as safe as each other (do not get confused with the perceived danger of acivities, which is different to the actual danger) but you can improve your safety much more by doing these things that 99% of the time are not being done in Newcastle). Important info that the government refuses to enforce:
Walking: Stay to the left on footpaths and shared paths, because pushbikes should be passing you on the left (remember that adults with children are allowed to ride on foopaths) And assume no motorist has seen you
Driving: Keep 3 second safety gap to the car in front (50 metres at 60km/hr) 99% of all motorists are tailgating all the time and it means heaps of rear end crashes. Slow down to turn those “blind corners and blind crests” into safe corners that you could stop if a child is crossing the road. You don’t want to live with killing someone when all you had to do was stop driving with the bad habits of the 99% of drivers. And assume no motorist has seen you
Sites that provide a huge amount of useful info for dispelling the usual anti-bike/public transport pro-car lobby.
ptua.org.au/myths/ AND cyclingfallacies.com/en/
COMMON URBAN MYTHS ABOUT PUSHBIKES AND TRANSPORT
There is a solution to all the common cycling complaints, and we’d love to solve each, one at a time. Safety, sweaty, hot/cold, knees hurting, etc. Learn to solve problems so you can be happy!: If you get annoyed with cars or car doors opening in front of you and are not enjoying your ride, then you ain’t riding correctly, or safely. Compiled by James Davies and Daniel Endicott.
Build up your confidence on quiet back streets where cars are not as intimidating. Learn road/traffic skills and you will soon be confident on more busy roads. Austcycle.com.au :AustCycle is the national leader in providing cycle training to people of all ages and skill levels throughout the Australian community. Whether for fitness, fun or transport, AustCycle can give you the skills and confidence to get on your bike and ride more.
Only motorbikes are the deadly form of transport from NSW death stats. Walking, driving, cycling have almost identical death rates for time spent travelling. Federal Office of Road Safety : Fatality per million hours :
Pushbike : 0.4 Pedestrian : 0.8 Motorist 0.5
ALSO more deaths are caused by cars and their toxic exhaust emissions. So think about your ethical contribution to air pollution killing people.
The benefits are 7 times greater than risks for those under 40, and 10 times greater for those over 40 years.
But most (over 50%) city trips are under 5km. When parking is taking into account and not having to squeeze exercise into your busy day, cycling is usually quicker. Also the time you waste at work paying for your car and petrol can mean if you ditch the car for a sustainable bike lifestyle you can retire 25 years early. Travel times for bikes are grossly unknown to most people. With a correct bike setup or faster bike you will be surprised how faster you can be compared to distant memories of highschool cycling on a bike too slow and too small for you. Also top speed means little when comparing trip times in the city. So 60km/hr car will not always beat a 25km/hr bike. You will be suprised how easy riding a bike for half an hour is. And you will probably go 5 or 10km in half an hour.
Wearing correct layers of clothes and rain proof jackets, easily removed or added solves most problems. For heat remember to drink lots of water. After
your ride the cool breeze is gone so you will heat up after finishing your bike ride. Then you will cool down again which means later you will think it is cooler relative to after just hopping off the bike. Thinking it is cooler on a hot day is a good thing.
5. LOOKING GOOD (HELMET HAIR & SWEAT (when weather is too hot)
Prevent the sweat by buying electric assist push-bike. Or have a wash or wipe down after your ride.Fashion your hair for a helmet or take a brush with you. If your not riding because you don’t want to look stupid wearing a helmet then think about this – Cars are every day blocking or slowing down emergency vehicles causing them to reach their destination too late sometimes which could mean someone dies that would of been saved. If you drive a car you are partly responsible for this. Hollywood culture of perfect hair is also a part of consumeristic culture which brings unhappiness and destruction to the world. Check out freedomcyclist.blogspot.com
6. BIKE BROKEN or NEED a bike or POOR
Your local community bike help place can help you get a safe bike. Set one up in your suburb and become the star of your community. Otherwise go to local bike shop. Avoid getting very cheap bikes with gears and steel painted wheels from department stores. The brakes wear out very quickly on these low quality bikes and if you went on a long ride you could easily have little brakes left at the end of the ride, for this reason these lowest quality unsafe bikes should be banned!
7. HILLS or HEAVY LOAD Get electric assist. Or combine public transport with walking or cycling. Get bike trailers.
Just because the majority of adults in Newcastle may drive a car doesn’t make it right to do so. Remember the majority used to be in favour of slavory, and they don’t gat it right all the time. But you don’t have to drive a car everywhere. Try a bike for some trips. Try walking to close by places. Try some public transport sometimes. Just because you always drive a car does not give you the right to block or slow down emergency vehicles, or create road rage, or emit toxic exhaust emmissions, contributing to killing people.
9. BIKE WILL GET STOLEN
Get a lock and or insurance for your bike. Or get a cheap second hand bike that you will not mind as much if it gets stolen. Keep your bike inside overnight to stop theieves stealing your bike on noisy, windy nights.
10. I AM NOT FIT ENOUGH TO RIDE A BIKE
What a load of nonsense. Except for a very few morbid obese people or people with specific difficulties you are fit enough. You do not have to be super fit with a fast bike wearing lycra and going as fast as you can. Wear what you are comfortable with and take a steady pace. You will be suprised how easy riding a bike for half an hour is. And you will probably go 5 or 10km in half an hour.
Most people pedal too slowly, and don’t have correct seat height.
Once your balance is good on a bike (and you can hop on and off easily), you should aim for the following:
1. While riding leg extension to pedals is almost straight with only a slight bend in the knee. If you have a big bend in the knee at the maximum extension point, then you are damaging your knees, you tire easily, etc. Most people when stopped can touch the ground with tippee-toes when seated. I, myself prefer to not to be able to touch the ground, to achieve maximum pedalling power (so I have to hop off the bike every time I stop). So have the seat as high as you can comfortably able to stop the bike without falling off it. But you should learn better bike skills of stopping and hopping off the bike aswell. When you overextend the seat height you will rock side to side while riding to reach each pedal, this is too high, so lower it.
2. Leg rotation speed should be 80-100 times a minute. This mainly has to do with gear selection. If you are in too high a gear you are pedalling slowly and if you exert too much force you will again do damage to your body. A faster pedalling gear is easy to pedal and will not make you wear out as fast. Pedalling too slowly can also damage your bike.
ELECTRIC ASSIST BIKES
REGO and LICENSING
Safe Cycling Tips
Pro and nonPro Cycling Tips you do not know about (yet……..)
*** Safe Cycling tips AND Solving all your Cycling complaints (from The Bike Love Corral)***
Don’t ride too close to parked cars:
• You may collide with a car door opening OR You may swerve to avoid a car door and get hit by traffic coming up behind you.
• Always allow room to avoid an opening door. Don’t bother slowing or looking for people in cars (unseen kids open doors all the time)
• Road rules require cyclists to use signposted bike lanes when provided.
• Bike pictures painted on the road accompanied with a “bike lane” signpost are intended to designate a bike lane but poor design or bad parking may mean that it is safer, and legal, not to ride in these lanes.
• Many bike pictures painted on Newcastle ’s roads are unsignposted and Road Rules 153, 144 & 247 advise not to ride in them because they are not proper bike lanes. Bike pictures on the road positioned where a parked car door opens is a very dangerous place to ride because of crashing into opening doors. These archaic lanes have to go, and hopefully this is only a temporary Newcastle strategy.
• Travel in a relatively straight line – position yourself to avoid parked cars or other obstacles well in advance so that you don’t weave in and out or swerve at the last moment.
• If the road is wide enough, keep left to allow motor vehicles to pass you safely.
• If the road is not wide enough to allow motor vehicles to pass you safely, either stop and pull over to allow vehicles to pass or, when no vehicles are approaching from behind, signal, then occupy the centre of the lane to prevent vehicles from attempting to pass you.
• At roundabouts – keep left and give way to vehicles that want to cross in front of you to exit, or occupy the lane and negotiate the roundabout in the same way a motor vehicle would.
• Inexperienced cyclists often “hug the curb” and wonder why cars pass so close. Experienced cyclists let traffic pass when they can but occupy the lane when needed for safety. Occupying the lane by a single rider, or two riders abreast, is legal but preventing drivers from passing can cause aggravation, so be considerate and move left to let motorists pass as soon as it is safe to do so.
Bikes not maintained well cause many crashes to cyclists. If you are not sure you can check your bike for safety then get the Bike Love Corral to give it a free safety check!
• When not riding keep your bike covered, inside or in a shed to stop rust.
• When riding try not to hit potholes, or drop off gutters to save denting wheels
• Keep tyres inflated hard to PSI written on side of tyre (30% lower for old tyres), check for tyre wear
• Quick release levers are levered over into the “closed” position. Just don’t screw these up. This stops front wheels coming loose.
• Oil the chain with a little vegetable oil. Oil cables with synthetic oil. Never use WD40 as it wears out your bike (and it is toxic)
• Fix any wobbles in wheels, pedals, cranks, steering before they get worse
• Choose correct gears for longer lasting parts. (Eg. Match slow gears front and back, match high speed gears, etc.)
• Seat and Handlebar heights so the safety limit marks are hidden in the frame. If your knees hurt, put your seat up higher.
• bell or horn is working.
• if riding in poor light – a clean reflector and flashing or steady red light at the rear of the bike and a flashing or steady white light at the front.
• Make sure nothing can catch in the front wheel, especially items falling out of a front basket, or being carried , such as a beach towel.
• Wear bright coloured clothes or a high visibility vest with reflective strips.
• Flags and wide mounted reflectors can help motorists see you.
• Wearing an approved helmet is required by law and may offer some protection in some accidents.
• Glasses can protect your eyes from wind, rain, dirt and bugs. Tinted glasses can protect your eyes from glare.
• If you don’t need to ride in a racing position, consider setting up your bike so you can ride in a more upright position making it easier see the road ahead or look over your shoulder.
• Watch out for grates, potholes, stones and kerbs that can stop you in your tracks.
• Ridges, grooves or cracks in the road surface can cause “tram-lining” forcing your front wheel to track along the fault in the road.
• Oil, water or sand can cause sliding.
• Painted surfaces can be exceptionally slippery.
• In wet weather conditions regularly “touch” your brakes to help keep them dry and working well when needed.
• Choose a route with safe cycle paths where possible.
• Avoid roads with fast moving motor vehicles, inadequate space for bikes and poor road surfaces.
• A hook turn avoids sitting in the centre lane while waiting to turn right and avoids having to turn right in front of oncoming traffic.
• To perform a hook turn, pull over to the left when entering the intersection, joining traffic approaching from the side street. Proceed through the intersection (to the street that was to your right) when safe to do so.
• You may not be visible in the rear view mirrors of a motor vehicle ahead of you so be prepared for it to turn in front of you to park or turn left.
• A motor vehicle immediately behind you can probably see you. But a second vehicle immediately behind it may not be able to see you. As the first vehicle passes you the second vehicle may approach without realising you are there. Make sure you have adequate room to move left as the second vehicle approaches.
• Vehicles entering from side streets may be unable to see you because they are looking for larger vehicles or if a vehicle is passing you.
• Being in the right is little comfort if you are hit by a car.
• Assume that you are invisible until a driver’s action show that they have seen you.
• Assume that a motor vehicle will not give you adequate space or recognise your right of way until the vehicle shows that it is taking action to avoid you.
• Always have a Plan B – go slow enough to stop in an emergency or make sure you leave space to steer out of trouble.
• Defensive riding becomes second nature once you practice it for a while.
• It is illegal for cyclists to ride on footpaths unless younger than 12 (July 2018 NSW now 16) or accompanying a child younger than 12.
• If you must travel along a footpath, dismount and walk your bike.
• On shared cycle paths use your bell to warn pedestrians when approaching and slow down when passing. Show pedestrians the same courtesy we would like car drivers to show cyclists. Shared path courtesy is also on-road courtesy
• Take note of which brake is for the front and back wheels. In Australia the left hand should operate the rear brake.
• Learn the limits of braking. Applying the rear wheel brake too hard may cause it to lock and skid. Some fish-tailing may occur but the bike will still be controllable. Applying the front brake too hard could cause the rider to go over the handle bars. Keep your weight low and to the back to minimise this chance. Locking the front wheel can be catastrophic as steering is lost and the front wheel will often skid out from under you. The front tyre’s tread pattern helps with braking and water dispersion. Look for the direction arrow on the sidewall or the tread has an arrow formation pointing forward when looking down at it when you are riding your bike.
• Careful application of both brakes, without skidding, provides greatest stopping power.
• Find a safe place to practice braking hard while steering straight, left or right.
• Ride with a buddy or join a Critical Mass group ride – talk about and practice safe cycling techniques.
• Cyclists and motor vehicles are often forced to share roads that weren’t designed to be shared. Responding to an aggressive motorist with aggression is likely to make them more aggressive to all cyclists – so just let it go. Avoid conflict and save your energy for campaigning for better cycling infrastructure.
• Society has progressed away from training wheels! Best way for all types of people to learn how to ride a bike is to get on grass and lower the seat so you can scoot with your feet on the ground (take the pedals off if necessary). Learn how to stop the bike with the handbrake/s. Start confidence of being in control and knowing you can stop with handbrakes and put feet down at any time. Then scoot along with your feet and use your brakes. Then lift up your feet for 2 seconds to learn balance/steering. Then lift up feet and roll for longer times until you can balance and steer. Then start pedaling. This way coincides with the 2010 start of the popularity of balance bikes for 3-5 yr olds. The pedaling is learnt last, which is the exact opposite with training wheels on bikes. With training wheels you don’t learn the balance or steering (leaning) at all. And then the removal of training wheels needs more learning. But there are lots of ways to learn how to ride a bike. The method described here will cater for all types of people with the least amount of crashed/frights.