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Forces cyclists to zig zag and lose focus on road ahead, say campaigners

A speed limit that forces cyclists to ride slower than 10 kilometres per hour is dangerous, campaigners in Brisbane have said.

The speed limit in the city's South Bank Parklands forces riders to zig zag and lose focus on the road ahead, they say. 

Police have stopped 24 riders in the last month for speeding; some at three times the limit, according to the Courier Mail.

One cyclist, Peter Banks, told the paper he found it difficult to cycle slowly, since the limit was reduced from 15 kmph to 10 kmph.

"One thing that's different about riding a bike compared to walking is how far ahead your vision is and where you have to be looking," he said.

"If you are riding at 15 -18km/h, which is probably fair, you are looking about 20 to 40 metres ahead because you have to be aware of what other path users are doing.

"If you are going 10km/h, you are going to be zigzagging to maintain balance and won't be as aware of your surroundings.

"It's hard to keep a bike up at 10km/h."

Another, Will Overell said that the problem was the shared use paths which make speed limits necessary.

He said: "The main issue is, with every bike way, pedestrians walking three abreast."

"I don't think there's any real simple fix unless you want to invest in infrastructure and create a separate cycleway."

The South Bank Parklands are a mixture of rainforest, water, grassed areas and plazas, with restaurants and shops, on the south bank of the Brisbane river.

In the UK, there are no speed restrictions in law for cyclists. 

The Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 states:

“It shall not be lawful for a person to drive a motor vehicle on a restricted road at a speed exceeding 30 miles per hour.” (RTRA 81.1)

And

“A person who drives a motor vehicle on a road at a speed exceeding a limit imposed by or under any enactment to which this section applies shall be guilty of an offence.” (RTRA 89.1)

According to Bikehub: "Cyclists who breach the speed limit may not be prosecuted for a speeding offence but, as stated above, can be prosecuted for 'cycling furiously' or 'wanton and furious driving.'"

Richmond Park in London operates a 20mph speed limit that is enforced by police, particularly at weekends, and a number of riders have reported being fined for exceeding it.

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.

17 comments

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Mart [110 posts] 2 years ago
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A lot of people run faster than this, will they be stopping people running too?

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SideBurn [890 posts] 2 years ago
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Three times the limit  13
Maybe this is because they are riding upside down in Australia? All the blood goes to their heads?

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stewieatb [292 posts] 2 years ago
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SideBurn wrote:

Three times the limit  13
Maybe this is because they are riding upside down in Australia? All the blood goes to their heads?

Three times the limit is 30kph - normal speed on a road bike.

A fine example of policy about cycling being set by people who couldn't find their own chamois pad with a map.

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Nick T [913 posts] 2 years ago
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Those pedestrians, they're always walking three abreast darn it  13

They don't even pay tax!

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Bigfoz [117 posts] 2 years ago
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Um, as it's not a legal requirement to have a speedo on a bike, how can cyclists be subject to any speed limit - it's pure guesswork as to how fast you're going...

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PhilRuss [352 posts] 2 years ago
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Nick T wrote:

Those pedestrians, they're always walking three abreast darn it  13

They don't even pay tax!

[[[[ Women normally walk two-abreast, I've noticed, unless there are four of them, in which case they walk eight-abreast. But seriously, 10kph is only 6.2mph, so you might as well climb off and walk it.
P.R.

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Tony Farrelly [2856 posts] 2 years ago
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While I can see where the Brisbane cyclists are coming from and riding a bike is obviously different from driving a car, I also can't help feeling that if this was a group of Brisbane motorists complaining of the risks of 'losing focus' due to the low speed limit their 'fears' would be the subject of a fair amount of mirth. At best.

That said 10Kph is bloody slow.

An yes actually, this fence is quite comfortable, thanks for asking

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eurotrash [88 posts] 2 years ago
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Well you don't need to keep balanced in a car no matter how slow you go, so no.

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Nick T [913 posts] 2 years ago
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10km/h is indeed slow but if you can't balance at that speed then you probably need to go on a cycling skills course. Keeping it balanced at much less than that isn't a big ask, even track standing is easy enough if you practice it.

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downfader [203 posts] 2 years ago
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Thats 6mph, or how fast a Royal Mail postie is expected to walk on his rounds...

...so effectively they're asking cyclists to ride at walking speed - which kind of defeats the purpose of riding in the first place.

Surely its easier to restrict cycling or better still provide proper infra for them..? As already said joggers will be going faster than that.

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Critchio [163 posts] 2 years ago
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Really? ReaLLY? REEAALLYYYY?

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ontheroad [12 posts] 2 years ago
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In context, South Bank Parklands is a a narrow riverside green strip in the city centre with meandering paths full of pedestrians. It's a place that no sensible cyclist would ride through at speed.

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bigant [43 posts] 2 years ago
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I live in brisbane and ride through south bank at least once a week and I have to say I've never seen a speed limit sign. Depending on the time of day there are often large groups of tourists walking along the riverside pathway so it's usually necessary to go pretty slowly anyways which really doesn't bother me, it's about 1k, the scenery is nice and the weather is usually beautiful. To be fair to brisbane city council there is some pretty good cycling infrastructure in the city although its a shame how much money they have wasted on a bike share scheme that hardly anyone uses.

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jimbrisbane [1 post] 2 years ago
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Great to see Brisbane making Road.cc! One of my training buddies got done last week. Bit silly as we run through there at 16-20 kph, but we do need to stop idiots attacking Strava segments on what is essentially a pedestrian boulevard.

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jacknorell [942 posts] 2 years ago
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If speed's the issue, shouldn't they fine runners as well when going faster than 10 KPH? Which is pretty easy to do...

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gmrza [15 posts] 2 years ago
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Hmm, so what would the the position if you got off, shouldered your bike, and ran (that is assuming you are not using road pedals).

There is also a 10km/h limit posted on Southbank in Melbourne. I think if it were enforced, cyclists would take to the surrounding roads en masse, which would be an undesirable result.

Realistically, if you are looking down at your bike computer all the time, you are not looking where you are going.

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jarredscycling [456 posts] 2 years ago
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that is only 6mph!!! How can you even stay upright going that ridiculously low speed? I sure hope it isn't downhill on top of it  20