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Later describes suggestion as “a brain fart”

A Canberra politician has suggested that the government use data from Strava to take action against cyclists who ride too quickly on bike paths. Mark Parton, himself a regular cyclist, was quick to change tack however once elements of his own ride data were brought to his attention.

Parton’s comments came during an Australian Capital Territory (ACT) parliamentary hearing in which the enforcement of the 10km/h speed limit on the path over Canberra’s Commonwealth Bridge was being discussed.

The Canberra Times reports that Minister for Transport Meegan Fitzharris had expressed concern about people on bikes speeding on shared paths and Parton said she should look at Strava data.

"Every hard-core cyclist is on Strava. They have a digital record that's public as to how fast they're travelling and specifically where they've done it ...

"If you were getting to the point where you're trying to crack down on cyclists you believe are riding in excessive speeds in those areas, it's like people get prosecuted for posting something on YouTube – the data is actually available for most cyclists as to exactly how fast they've gone and exactly where they've done it."

According to ABC, it's legal to ride on footpaths and shared-use paths in the ACT at speeds of up to 50km/h – the default speed limit for urban areas. Cyclists can be fined for three types of offences in these areas: for not keeping left, for not giving way to a pedestrian, and for not keeping left of an oncoming cyclist.

Parton first started cycling during a weight loss challenge and often commutes from his home in Tuggeranong to the Legislative Assembly. “I found I could eat whatever I wanted, as long as I rode my bike regularly,” he observed.

It was pointed out that his own Strava data showed him doing 62km/hr on a recent commute and it was put to him that this speed was highly unlikely on a flat stretch of road and was therefore likely to be the result of inaccurate data recorded by his smartphone or GPS device.

Writing on Facebook, Parton later described his own suggestion as, “the silliest thing I’ve said publicly since being elected.”

Describing the comment as “a brain fart in a committee hearing,” he added: “I was thinking aloud and it was an ill-conceived thought. It didn't take much examination for me to realise that the suggestion was ludicrous.”

Last year, councillors in California banned mountain bikers from a local preserve after Strava data revealed riders were travelling at speeds in excess of 20mph on shared trails.

Horse riders and hikers had raised concerns over people riding on Byrne Preserve trails in Los Alto Hills at “incredibly unacceptable” speeds.

One councilman who had been reluctant to ban cyclists said that the Strava data had “put a hole in the whole argument.”

Alex has written for more cricket publications than the rest of the road.cc team combined. Despite the apparent evidence of this picture, he doesn't especially like cake.

11 comments

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alansmurphy [864 posts] 7 months ago
14 likes

Cool, each car to be fitted with a black box and points issues for breaking the speed limit by 1mph or more. Zero tolerance.

 

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Al__S [1254 posts] 7 months ago
3 likes

With cars, the tech exists to rather than punish drivers for exceeding the speedlimit, simply stop them from doing so.

 

With bikes, the onbvious question has to be "are people going fast on bikes killing or injuring people or are those complaining just anti-bike moaners?"

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SingleSpeed [359 posts] 7 months ago
4 likes

I've long thought this must be possible.

Also we are constantly getting told that the police force is facing cuts left right and centre... we currently have a network of hundreds of thousands of automated machines that can automatically fine people breaking the law cut speeds and increase road safety...they are just all turned off, makes me' piss boil.

Imagine turning on all the speed cameras and putting that money back into policing, we could have bobbies walking the street in every town within a few years....but no apparently it would offend the motorists.
 

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alansmurphy [864 posts] 7 months ago
0 likes

Enforcement shouldn't be a problem either, insurance and/or new car sales should demand the box otherwise not insure!

 

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EK Spinner [75 posts] 7 months ago
0 likes

I have a ride on Strava which indicates I was riding at 98mph across a field, strangely it was around the time I was having a cardiac arrest, maybe the worry about getting done would have induced another one.

Never did work out what actually happened to the GPS recorder (phonee in rear pocket), never had it happen before or since.

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CygnusX1 [531 posts] 7 months ago
4 likes

Many politicians are guilty of brain farts, the trouble is many of these ill conceived ideas end up being turned into legislation. 

At least this guy owned up and called it out ... "the one who smelt it, dealt it" as my kids would say

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PaulCee52 [26 posts] 7 months ago
1 like

And Strava is accurate enough to be able to tell if you were on a bike path and which side of the path?

 

My arse!

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nniff [189 posts] 7 months ago
0 likes

I once picked up the KOM for the steepening at the top of Box Hill.  According to Strava I monstered it at nearly 32 mph - my acceleration from a more restrained pace on the lower slopes must have been something to behold.  I did the decent thing and handed the title back to its rightful owner, Mr Bibby I think.

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CygnusX1 [531 posts] 7 months ago
5 likes

For those of you who haven't followed the link to the Canberra Times article, this little extract from it is a peach:

Quote:

Liberal Steve Doszpot pointed to complaints from inner south residents about cyclists on Alexandrina Drive using the road instead of the shared path. It was impossible for motorists to observe the 1m road clearance rule, with cars backing up behind cyclists. It was an accident waiting to happen, he said.

Director of capital works for city services Ben McHugh said forcing high-speed cyclists off the road on to shared paths with slower users created its own problems, and cyclists had a legal right to use the road.

"A legal right to cause accidents?" Mr Doszpot asked.

Bravo, Mr McHugh.  Take a running jump, Mr Toszpot (sic)

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Leviathan [2776 posts] 7 months ago
1 like

Isn't a bit dangerous to cycle at only 10kph? I might wobble in the wind and collide with a jogger overtaking me.

 

All he has to do it flag the offenders and they might get the message when they loose their precious data.

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KevM [46 posts] 7 months ago
1 like

He's just upset that someone stole his KOM.