Human-powered, or petrol-powered choices

During March and April there will be greater numbers of cyclists on the Two Gorges Route, Old Northern Road, Wisemans, Cattai Ridge, Kenthurst, and Annangrove Roads. Apart from the usual weekend riders, many more people will come here from all over Sydney to train for the Bobbin Head and Blayney to Bathurst events and endurance mountain bike events like the Convict 100.

Here is some safety-related information for human powered vehicles, and petrol-powered vehicles.

YOU CAN: Overtake cyclists across double white lines in NSW when it is safe to do so. Legally, you must pass with a metre plus between your car and the cyclist(s) if on a 50-60km/h road, or 1.5m + if driving in an 80km/h+ speed zone. (Much easier than being unable to overtake a slow, erratic driver).

YOU CAN: Bunch ride and legally cycle two abreast on the road, providing there is no more than 1.5 metres shoulder to shoulder between cyclists. Bunch riding is a critical skill to master if you are a competitive cyclist and vast distances are covered very efficiently in a bunch. Cyclists feel safer, and are also more visible on the roads if riding together. A large bunch of road cyclists is just like encountering a bus full of people. Overtake them with the same level of caution.

YOU CAN’T: Ride any sanctioned mountain bicycle trails networks to connect and appreciate our amazing Sydney bushlands and national parks, because nothing much longer than 6km laps in official bike park areas have built for bicycles.

YOU CAN: Ride safe, fairly extensive cycle paths networks to transit hubs, major events and to connect centres of recreational interest throughout the Greater Sydney Metropolitan area. Look for opportunities to leave the car at home ! (Hills Shire Council has been building our closest cycle paths network since 2009.)

YOU CAN’T: Overtake a cyclist who is approaching, or already cycling through a traffic circle. All local road users have several traffic circles they must daily negotiate in Kenthurst, Dural, Round Corner and Galston Village. Many of them have ‘traffic calming kerbs,’ which are extremely dangerous to bicycles as they force cyclists to merge into the middle of a narrowed traffic lane. Please don’t overtake cyclists in or approaching a traffic circle!

YOU CAN’T: Overtake a cyclist and then immediately turn in front of them to park your car outside the shops or turn down a street. Cyclists can be traveling as fast as 30-40km/h on a level road and will collide with your vehicle if you suddenly cut them off.

YOU CAN’T: Legally cycle on a pavement in NSW if you are 16 and over.

YOU CAN: Legally cycle on a pavement if you are accompanying a minor under 16. Why add to traffic congestion and therefore your carbon footprint by driving short distances (<10km) to school or sports or shops and back every week if you can all cycle there safely out the traffic on a footpath?

YOU CAN: Ride your mountain bicycle for long endurance miles on the vast networks of remote firetrails all over Sydney. Unfortunately, most firetrails are unmarked for navigation via biking or walking, many of them are dead ends or they traverse mobile reception blackspot areas. In order to connect bushlands, Sydney mountain bikers soften have no choice but to ride on the roads. Arrange to ride offroad with friends, carry enough water and a charged up phone…or at least tell someone where you are going, if going solo!

In conclusion, don’t adopt the de-humanising ‘us and them’ blame mindset, so beloved of the sensationalist media mix. We all have freedom of choice, but we don’t have freedom from the consequences. Choose wisely.

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