Wednesday, 15 April 2009

A new transport minister

The re-election of of Anna Bligh has brought a change of the deckchairs in the ministerial seating.

Rachel Nolan is the new Minister for Transport.

Rachel has been a MP since 2001 and has a seat in Ipswich. Her electorate webpage is here:

Rachel likes driving cars, and has managed to gather five speeding tickets since being elected to Parliament.

On March 29 the following story was posted:

Queensland's new Transport Minister Rachel Nolan admitted she has received five speeding tickets since entering Parliament in 2001.

Ms Nolan was sworn in as the Minister on Thursday.

She says she lost one point from her licence last month when she was caught speeding.

Ms Nolan received two speeding fines in 2004, one in 2003 and one in 2001, and has lost nine points from her licence over eight years.

In a statement Ms Nolan says she regrets the speeding offences and she will make an extra effort to drive safely.

This story can be found here:

Paul Lucas, who has also admitted to speeding, explains that speeders are only human in a Courier Mail story here:,23739,25257468-952,00.html

The Cycle Promotion Fund has information on safe road use, and warns cyclists against riding too fast for the conditions:

A Queensland Transport survey tells us that 54% of car drivers believe our roads are far too unsafe for cyclists. Could speeding drivers play a role there?

Watch the QT 'share the road' safety video here:

Read what Queensland Transport say about speeding in their 'Slow down stupid' campaign here:

Anti-speeding campaigns

Many people believe speeding is not dangerous and they can do it 'safely'. These people are kidding themsleves.

In 2007 speed-related crashes represented more than 25 per cent of Queensland's road toll. Losing almost 100 lives in Queensland every year due to speeding is simply unacceptable.

In an effort to slow down speeding motorists and save lives, Queensland Transport runs anti-speeding campaigns to remind drivers of the real dangers of speeding and the potential consequences.
Current campaign
The ‘Slow down stupid’ anti-speeding campaign launched in November 2008.

The campaign reminds the main culprits of speed related crashes, males aged 17 to 39 years, of the most important reasons to slow down—if not for their own lives and wellbeing, then for their family, friends and loved ones.

The first phase of the campaign features two television commercials, outdoor billboards, and online advertising.

View the Queensland Transport 'Slow down stupid' billboard, depicting a young woman, presumably dead, the result of a 'human error', driving too fast:

Further information, from Queensland Transport, on the folly and dangers of speeding can be found here:

'Is speeding really dangerous?' is answered by Queensland Transport here:

But here is the official Queensland Transport answer if you don't have time to read the link article, "There is simply no question of whether speeding is dangerous. It is a well researched fact."

Read the Queensland Transport road fatality figures for 2008 here:

During 2008, 140 fatalities (or 42.8%) were drivers, 79
fatalities (or 24.2%) were passengers, 72 fatalities (or
22.0%) were motorcyclists, 30 fatalities (or 9.2%) were
pedestrians and six fatalities (or 1.8%) were bicyclists.

The last word goes to an article from Australian Cyclist:

In the 15 years from 1991 to 2005 very few cyclist crashes involved the death of more than one cyclist and 90 per cent of cyclist deaths resulted from a collision between their bicycle and a motor vehicle. Death from striking fixed objects was just four per cent. Since 1990 the largest proportions of cyclist deaths have occurred on roads where the speed limit is 60 km/h: 55 per cent in 1991-95, 42 per cent in 1996-00 and 35 per cent in 2001-05. The fall in 2001-5, is due to the introduction of 50 km/h speed zones in many Australian cities and towns and 18 per cent of cyclist deaths occurred in these zones in these years. That only 20 per cent of cyclist deaths occurred in 100 km/h speed zones may be surprising but these roads make up only a small percentage of the roads used by cyclists and, as the serious injury studies currently underway reinforce, there is a direct relationship between severity of injury and speed of impact.

UK advice on 'bike haters'

This extract from a UK blog is worth a read, along with the comments that came from it. The advice is worth taking note of here in Toowoomba where some of our drivers are not as 'country friendly' as many in the city would have us believe. In particular, note the advice to take the registration number and ring the police. Our Toowoomba police take road safety seriously, and they do take action against road users, and not just car drivers remember, who breach the law.

The full blog can be found here:

Never, ever get into a fight with a “bike-hater”.

This is the motorists who is angry with you, or who is angry with his spouse/boss/kids/world and you are the nearest target. The warning signs are erratic or aggressive driving, rude hand gestures, verbal abuse. This is the person who deliberately blocks bicycle lanes, or who passes you with only a hair’s breadth between his wing mirror and your handlebars, then shouts abuse if you complain. Very rarely, it can escalate to objects being thrown at you, car doors being opened in your path, sometimes even to full on ramming. Don’t let it get that far.

The only way to tackle a bike-hater is not to tackle him at all. Simply get off the road to a place of safety as quickly as you can. If you feel threatened, get help. If that means walking up to the nearest building and ringing the bell, or walking into a shop to ask for help, do it. As soon as it is safe to do so, ring the police with your location and the car’s number plate.

You will want to fight back, your pride will be hurt, but never let that tempt you into escalating a confrontation. Let’s be clear about this: you might be in the right, but your antagonist has over a ton of metal at his disposal. When a cyclist mixes it up with a motorist, the cyclist will always lose. Just let the motorist go.

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Highfields Community Cabinet meeting

We see that Anna Bligh is to bring her Cabinet to Highfields to allow we electors to bend their ears on what concerns us in the local area.

This is too good to miss, what with the reluctance of various arms of government to come to grips with cycling in this immediate area.

Maybe the new Transport Minister will notice the lack of cycle lane markings in Highfields, on all that roadwork that seemed to go on for so very long. Or, should the fleet of petrol guzzling American sourced government cars follow the highway up from Toowoomba, perhaps the Minister will notice the lack of a cycle lane in all that great expanse of bitumen from Toowoomba to Highfields, and back?

Maybe the new Minister will inspect the Ruthven Street road works and wonder at the too-narrow cycle lane at Alderley Street, or the lack of any cycle lane markings on the new work elsewhere, from James Street back?

Who knows what Ministers notice, especially when their MRD and QT officials seem not to notice all the discrepancies between what policy says and what they actually deliver themselves, but anyway, it may well be worth our while to point all this out, along with some photos of TRCs engineering prowess when it comes to putting BAZ signs in the gutter, power poles in the middle of footpaths, and providing concrete car parks along West and Nelson Street for residents to park on, where cyclists are supposed to be able to cycle.

Should you wish to have some particular cycling issue raised, please email the TBUG and provide all the necessary details and we'll add it to the list.

Photos or Googlemap coordinates make life easier when it comes to explaining these matters, so consider sending them both if possible.

Ipswich information

The TBUG has been contacted by Bernie Ripoll's office about the Brisbane to Ipswich challenge.

Here is the information sent through to us:

Calling all Cycling Enthusiasts

The Brisbane 2 Ipswich Challenge is on so get on your riding gear and be part of supporting some great causes. Over the years the race has already raised close to $100,000 for the Royal Children’s Hospital Foundation and Ipswich Hospital Foundation

Formally the Mall 2 Mall Challenge this ride has been a magnificent success and gets bigger and better every year.

What: 2009 Goodna RSL Services Club Brisbane 2 Ipswich Challenge

When: Sunday 26 April 7am start arrive in Ipswich from 9am

Where: Starts Moorland Park, Toowong and finishes at Queen’s Park, Ipswich

Who: Bernie Ripoll MP and 1000 cyclists

Cost: $40 adults and only $20 kids under 16

Why: For a great community cause and some fun on the bike

Register online at

For more information email or call 3818 3900.

Helmet hair: how to keep it dry

This Easter the rain came in buckets, rare enought these days to make riders forget it exists.

Thankfully, it does but isn't it 'orrible when your head gets soaked, your hair drips and your glasses, already wet from riding into the rain also have rain dripping down from the holes in your helmet?


A raincap on the helmet.

We went looking for one some time ago and found none in local shops or even further afield.

Here are some urls to find a suitable helmet cover:

Carradice of the UK panniers and saddlebags fame make a complete set of rain gear:

Avanti make a 'night gear' cover that shines in the dark:

The black or flouro lime waterproof one is here:

The famous Goretex peole turn this one out:

And here's a review of a breathable waterproof yellow cover:

If you know of any others send them in and we'll add them to the list.