Nearly five years after a bike rider had a ‘terrifying near-miss‘ falling over the railing and into traffic, the western side of the Commonwealth Avenue Bridge continues be hazardous for people cycling.
The National Capital Authority has been aware of the problem for many years, with community groups including Pedal Power ACT and the Canberra Cycling Club continuing to report the issue again and again.
A number of Pedal Power ACT members have voiced concern regarding the zone over the years, several just recently.
“I would like to bring attention to a highly hazardous situation for bike riders in the heart of the Capital,” said Alan Muir, who works at ANU.
“I am an experienced bike rider with 30 years riding in and around Canberra both on and off road with my share of harrowing incidents, however I have just recently experienced the most frightening near-miss on a casual and normally riskless ride home.
“I was riding my road bike over the western side of Commonwealth Avenue Bridge, I was half way across heading south, staying left to allow for other on-coming pedestrians, when hit by a medium gust of westerly wind.
“I was forced about half a meter towards the 0.6 metre (approximately) high barrier dividing the foot/bike path and the road.
“Beyond this barrier are on-coming cars where there is no safe gap at all. If I had gone across any further I would have hit the barrier, over balanced and being top heavy would have no doubt toppled over the barrier into on-coming 70klm/h traffic with little chance of survival.”
Pedal Power ACT has once again contacted the National Capital Authority regarding the danger to bike riders and has been assured that temporary traffic management arrangements will be put into place while a long-term solution is developed. They anticipate that this will happen within the next three months.
This is a safety matter that has been of concern to the cycling community for years. Strong winds on the bridge and potential human error with other path users have the potential to lead to tragedy, with the low railing providing an insufficient barrier from motor vehicle traffic.
The National Captial Authority says they are looking at options for both temporary and long-term solutions. They were close to making changes to the western side of the bridge some years ago but the unexpected cost of fixing Scrivener Dam gates meant that money for the project was redirected.
Pedal Power ACT strongly advocates for high priority action for this dangerous situation, before tragedy occurs.