2012-09-05 Meeting minutes

Victorian BUGs Meeting, Wednesday 5th September 2012

Carringbush Hotel, Abbottsford

Status: Draft

1.      Minutes of previous meeting, 28th March 2012

These were circulated prior to the meeting.

 2.      Attendance and Apologies

Present: John Parker, Gordon Macmillan, Glennys Jones, David Leong, Julia Blunden, Alister Huth, Alan Tonkin, Graeme Stone, David Farrow (Boroondara BUG); David Hall, Robert Cook (Whitehorse Cyclists), Helen Millicer (Glen Eira BUG) (Chair); Alan Ball (Manningham BUG); Frank Kinnersley (Moonee BUG); Graeme Oke, Frank Reinthaler (BrimBUG), Jason den Hollander (Bicycle Network Victoria); Edward Hore (Darebin Council); Raili Simjoki (Melbourne BUG); Bill Cawte (Moreland BUG); Steve Barnett (Yarra BUG)

Apologies: Peter Campbell (Boroondara BUG); Russell Hick, Michael Hassett (Whitehorse Cyclists); Richard Adams (Monash BUG); Ferdi Saliba (BrimBUG); Maurie Abbott, (Banyule BUG); Rachel McKay (Glen Eira BUG); Eric Ball (Manningham BUG); Kevin Balaam (Hume BUG)

3.      Guest Speaker: Alistair McDonald, Bicycle Strategy Project Manager, City of Yarra

Alistair began by giving a brief sketch of the City of Yarra and the characteristics that have helped make it the most bike friendly municipality in Melbourne, with the highest rate of people riding to work in Australia. It’s small, has relatively low car ownership, has a left-leaning council and it spends big on bike infrastructure, leading Bixie in the last three years with expenditure of $16 per head.

He went on to outline the approach that Yarra is taking to making the city even more bike friendly. The overall rationale is to prioritise pedestrians and cyclists over motor traffic on local roads. This includes reducing speed limits and reducing lane widths for motor vehicles, thus making these roads less attractive as rat runs. This is being done incrementally as roads are re-sheeted or line-marked. Bike lanes are being gradually widened, and where there is no room for bike lanes, bike stencils (Yarra sharrows) are used to alert motorists that they are sharing the roadway with cyclists. They believe that Australian standards cannot be applied in older areas such as Yarra. There has been no cost in terms of road safety but rather the contrary, and there has been very little parking loss as a result of their works.

For a fuller account see Alistair’s slides and conference paper attached to these minutes.

4.      BUG Presentations

Spokespeople for each of the BUGs represented gave short presentations on their various activities and concerns.

·         Yarra BUG: Steve Barrnett pointed out that Yarra BUG is atypical with its main focus on running its radio show on 3CR. They have now produced over 200 shows. They also attend Yarra BAC meetings and will be presenting at the next Council meeting on the Wellington St bike lanes.

·         Glen Eira BUG: Helen Millicer reported that lots of new bike lanes have been installed as per the Bicycle Strategy. Cycling is getting good support from Council and positive bike messages are appearing in the local paper.

·         Boroondara BUG: Alister Huth reported that the BUG is currently pushing two projects in particular. One is the Hawthorn to Box Hill Trail through the centre of the municipality, and the other is the Dights Falls Trail alongside the Eastern Fwy along the northern boundary. Neither is expected to happen quickly, but both are important projects that need to be pursued in the long term.

·         Melbourne BUG: Raili Simjoki reported that a new east-west route through the city is badly needed as neither of the trails beside the Yarra is working well. Improvements to St Kilda Rd and Princes Bridge are in the pipeline. A new masterplan for Southbank and Southbank Bvd has been completed but the BUG has not yet seen this. A cycling ban instated on the Sandridge Bridge was very quickly reversed after outrage flooded the social media. Raili commented on the BUG’s support for the BNV rallies and the good result so far from these.

·         Whitehorse Cyclists Advocates: David Hall reported that his group is still working on the Box Hill to Ringwood Rail Trail with the DOT, including issues of grade separations. They have also been involved in a committee working on an off-road path along the Healesville Fwy reserve. They continue to push for a path along the pipetrack from Syndal to Heatherdale, but there is no money as yet and problems of responsibility for maintenance need to be resolved. Roads with 70 and 80kph speed limits are a problem for cyclists in Whitehorse.

·         Moreland BUG: Bill Cawte reported that Moreland has a new Bike Strategy, and a Council ride coming up. He raised the issue of private car parks, eg at supermarkets, that need better bike parking. Council while sympathetic lacks power to enforce this. This was seen by others as a State Planning issue with a need to involve the Minister. There is material on the BNV web site on this. This was signalled as a possible agenda item for our next meeting.

·         Darebin Council: Edward Hore reported that Darebin has a new Bike Strategy up for comment. Darebin like Yarra is using sharrows. Edward described an issue with trams in St Georges Rd which he intends raising with Darebin BUG.

·         Brimbug: Graeme Oke reported that the new section of the Kororoit Creek Trail which connects Sunshine to the Federation Trail is to be officially opened on 22/9 complete with interpretive signage. A recent reconciliation bike ride attracted good numbers. There is currently a serious issue with works on the new regional rail line cutting off access to whole areas that were already isolated. A petition is in train. A new Sunshine town centre plan has been released. At LaTrobe University monthly bike breakfasts continue.

·         Moonee BUG: Frank Kinnersley reported that the Maribyrnong River Trail is still not completely repaired. Long delays were attributed to dealings over insurance but it now seems the path was not insured. Some repair work has been carried out but recent heavy rain has caused further damage. The trail should be realigned to avoid this recurring in future but issues with aboriginal artefacts in the area make this difficult. Some new bike lanes have been installed in the municipality, and there are currently proposals for some kind of lanes on Mt Alexander Rd.

·         Manningham BUG: Alan Ball reported that the issue with bike bypasses at roundabouts has been resolved satisfactorily with signs now indicating ‘Cyclists Only’ instead of ‘All cyclists’. The BUG now has a councilor member riding with them. The extensions to the Mullum Mullum Trail continue at a slow pace, with one new 1km section to Park Rd recently completed, but much more still waiting.


5.        Bike Share 

Raili Simjoki explained that the State Government is currently assessing the Melbourne Bike Share as its initial term comes to an end. Melbourne BUG is proposing the scheme needs an exemption from helmet laws to succeed and create a new demographic of cyclist in the City area. They propose to write to the Minister and seek a meeting on it and would welcome support from other BUGs. At the moment the bikes are used on average less than once per day, in contrast with successful schemes in other cities where usage is from 5 to 10 trips per day per bike. There was some discussion of this. Views differed but it seems that there are various possible reasons for the poor performance of the scheme, and it is not clear who will be willing to take over when the current contractors, the RACV, withdraw.

6.        City of Melbourne is planning improved lanes in Elizabeth St between Haymarket Roundabout and Victoria St. 

In the outbound direction they are planning a kerbside, physically separated lane, but inbound they want to put the bikes on the dangerous side of the parked cars and make them cross two lanes of left turning traffic at Victoria St. Melbounre BUG is proposing a red left-arrow for cars to allow bikes to travel with the green, and the left-turning cars would get their green arrow while the corresponding reverse movement (right turn into Elizabeth St from Victoria St) takes place. Council has to argue this with Vicroads who are against it because they say it will cause congestion for inbound car traffic. Melbourne BUG plan to write to the minister on this, and would appreciate support from BUGs to the north and north-west. Several of those present use this route and had comments to make. Frank Kinnersley suggested an alternative solution involving moving the bike lane across to the right of the left turn lanes at the previous intersection.

7.        Guidelines/etiquette for group rides on shared paths similar to VicRoads 'On Road Cycling Events' 

Alan Tonkin said that he had experienced situations where large groups of recreational cyclists were blocking shared paths making it hard for single, faster riders to pass. Others present agreed that this can be a problem. Suggested solutions included an accredited ride leader program. BNV has offered such training in the past but is not doing so at present. There was general agreement that there are many issues of behavioural problems on shared paths. Some very fast riders should get off the paths and onto the roads. Other suggested solutions were liaison with local councils, items in In the Loop, and adoption of Bike Ed standards. Alan agreed to convene an informal meeting over coffee to draft some guidelines to bring to our next meeting.

8.        Use of rumble strips on bike paths – potential dangers. 

Alan Tonkin spoke of his concern that rumble strips now being installed on bike paths to slow cyclists, eg on downhills, are potentially dangerous as they can cause road bikes in particular to lose traction in wet conditions. They were also seen as a tripping hazard for pedestrians. Jason den Hollander compared rumble strips to bollards, both being mechanical devices used to slow cyclists which then become hazards in their own right. BNV supports painted strips as a visual warning to slow down but opposes rumble strips.

9.      Move to stop cyclists riding through parks in Boroondara

Julia Blunden reported that Council is investigating bringing the rules for riding on paths in parks in line with VicRoads rules for cycling on footpaths. Only children under 12, accompanying adults, Australia Post workers and those with a medical certificate may legally ride on our footpaths. It seems that this is not an issue in other municipalities at present.

David Hall raised the question of possible change to Victoria’s rules on footpath riding. Queensland, Tasmania, ACT and NT permit riding on footpaths. Jason den Hollander said that BNV is proposing that the age for riding on footpaths be raised from 12 to 16?

Glennys Jones pointed out that the provision for use of a medical certificate could be used much more fully than it is at present.
Adults and youths who have obtained written permission (certificate) from a Registered Medical Practitioner are legally allowed to ride on the footpath. VicRoads does not specify any forms or assessment. It is much like a Doctors Certificate, the Registered Medical Practitioner states that it is “undesirable, impracticable or inexpedient for the rider to ride on the road”  Practitioner notes can be found on page 148 of the Austroads Fitness to Drive March 2012) The bulk of the document deals with fitness to drive a motor vehicle with just one paragraph dedicated to riding on footpaths.

The letter does not specify the degree or nature of the disability. The earlier sections of the guide give some insight to conditions that have implications as a road user – including vision, hearing and age related conditions. 

10.    Reasons for non-renewal of BNV membership

Gordon Macmillan spoke of his dissatisfaction with the non-response to two letters he had sent BNV about a local issue. Others present commented that cycle advocates often have their correspondence ignored and need to accept this as part of the job and focus on their successes. Jason den Hollander apologised to Gordon for this oversight, asked for a copy of the letter, and offered to follow up on the issue.

11.    BNV Report 

Jason den Hollander gave a brief roundup of some of the main issues BNV is currently working on.

·         ‘Vote Bike’ is the campaign being waged to get more bike friendly councilors elected across the state. 27 Councils are being targeted. All candidates in these areas will be canvassed and their statements emailed to members and friends in the relevant municipalities. Lists of questions will be sent out to BUGs.

·         Bixie is due out in mid-November. There will be a briefing session for BUGs. Glennys Jones, who works on this, asked those present to scrutinize their councils’ budgets and report to her if there is any bike expenditure that she may have missed.

·         New State Cycling Strategy. Jason said that this has been a rush job. Alistair MacDonald added that while a few Councils had opportunity for input this too was rushed. BNV’s involvement has been fairly minimal.

·         Preparation of the next State budget is now getting underway so the time is ripe for input.

12.    Next Meeting 

Wednesday 6th March 2013

 

Notes by Julia Blunden

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