Bike rider

29 Mar 21 | By pp-admin | Cycle safety, Infrastructure

Pedal Power response to University of Adelaide research finding around safe passing distances – in particular, the finding that shows bike lanes may be insufficient to offer protection to cyclists and additional measures may be required.


Link to research report –


Pedal Power is concerned that a University of Adelaide research study shows that painted white lines along the side of a trunk road are not going to cut it when it comes to keeping bike riders safe.


The University of Adelaide study highlights the need for a safe, direct cycleway network that is adequately separated from both vehicles and pedestrians.


If the ACT is to achieve its targets for zero net emissions and improve population health, we are going to need more people to ride their bikes.


This will require the government to invest in infrastructure that creates a positive active travel culture.


Canberra’s roads have been designed to optimise rapid car transport between city centres. Our trunk routes are wide, direct, and have been well designed to minimise crossings and other interruptions to traffic flow.  In contrast, the ACT’s existing shared path network is often meandering, built to the narrowest standard width, requires frequent stops at crossings, and is used by a growing number of varied path users who move at different speeds.


Building adequately separated cycleways alongside some of our major trunk routes is the clear next step in increasing our active travel participation rates.


At present most people seeking to cycle between our town centres must either take the slow indirect path network, or risk riding on on-road cycle lanes where they have a higher risk of being crashed into by vehicles moving at dangerous speeds.


If Canberra wants to significantly increase active travel by bike, we must have a strategic plan to provide riders with direct cycleways between our town centres.


Pedal Power is really pleased that the ACT Government has committed to a feasibility study into constructing a separated cycleway along Adelaide Avenue as part of planning for Light Rail Stage 2.  However, if this isn’t feasible other measures to adequately separate cyclists on this major trunk route will need to be devised and implemented.


When the University of Adelaide (Centre for Automotive Safety Research) (Mackenzie, Dutschke, & Ponte, 2021) conducted research in 2018 to evaluate the effectiveness of the minimum passing distance laws, they found roughly 90% of drivers did the right thing and passed people riding bikes safely. That’s not a bad statistic on the face of it, but it leaves one in every 10 cars passing people on bikes dangerously close. The consequences of these close passes could be life threatening.



Thursday 18 March 2021