Friday, 19 June 2009

Main Roads complaint form

The Main Roads Department has a very good on-line form for letting them know where problems lie on their road system.

Of course, not everyone knows which road 'belongs' to MRD, which one is a TRC road and which ones are 'owned' by the Commonwealth Government.

Never mind, keep using the Qld Transport Hazard forms and now there is this new (new to TBUG) form.

However, to keep MRDs life simple, try to remember that MRD are responsible for the main road along Ruthven Street (excludes the inner city section which TRC 'owns'), and 'up the range' to Margaret Street, out along Bridge towards Oakey, but not all of Bridge Street.

James Street is 'owned' by The Feds and maintained by others.

Maybe it is possible to build a database that utilised Google maps and sent a complaint to the correct agency?

Although, a simple map would suffice with non TRC roads marked.

See the complaint form here:

ABC Radio National 'By Design'

This week Alan Saunders interviewed a young university student who has developed a folding bike.

This is well worth having a look at.

There are a few more designs there to view too, a bike stand for when you arrive at 'the other end' and a water bottle that never needs to be filled, just what you need on a long hot BUG ride.

Worth a look at all three:

1) Mr Robert Dumaresq, Monash University.

Product Description and Principal Function(s)

'Switch commuter bike' is a high performance folding bike that has
been specifically designed for easy handling in crowded environments,
taking up no more space than the footprint of one wheel.

'Switch' promotes sustainable living by encouraging people to use
pedal power as their primary mode of transport, creating a healthier
environment and life style.

Why does the product represent design excellence and why do you believe it deserves an Australian Design Award?
'Switch Commuter bike' offers the riders a fast and reliable bike
that can be folded for convenience. It has been specifically designed
so that it is easy to handle in crowded environments taking up no more
room than the footprint of one wheel [2].

Switch was developed to address the market need for a functional bicycle
primarily targeted at commuters' needs. It enters the market at a time when
cycling numbers are high and projected to dramatically increase over the
coming years to meet the changing urban environment.

Switch is aimed solely at users who want to ride to and from their places
of employment. It offers the user the added bonus of taking
the bike easily on and off public transport [3], in and out of lifts
and the ability to store the bike in a small place at home or in the
office when not in use.
Read more here:

2) Mr Robbie McIntosh, MONASH UNIVERSITY

Product Description and Principal Function(s)

The brief detailed that we would be responsible for designing a new system of bike storage that could be expanded as demand grew in the future. The use of a bike storage system integrated into a train platform would inheritantly promote sustainability and intermodality.

Why does the product represent design excellence and why do you believe it deserves an Australian Design Award?
The final design provides a simple, clear solution that could be implemented throughout a variety of stations as well as in general public spaces and can be expanded as demand grows for the area. Through the use of modular attachments individuality can be achieved between stations. Redeveloping the gateway to one of Melbourne’s local tourist attractions will drive the message of sustainability and intermodality in train stations. Through the use of a moving sustainability icon the message will undoubtedly be spread even further.

Read more here:

3) Student Designer, Mr Yuri Teodorowych, University of Canberra

Product Description and Principal Function(s)
Combining classic mechanical processes with a wonderfully innovative design, BLU/BOTTLE requires no high tech electronics or dependence on batteries, merely the most underused energy source on the planet: human energy!

By harnessing your kinetic energy through a manual pump, various valves and pressure chambers, BLU/BOTTLE compresses a coolant until a sudden release in pressure generates a drop in temperature, generating condensation to be collected for drinking. All of this happens inside this amazingly versatile and compact bottle.

Ideal for use in remote areas, aid/relief, handy to keep with you or simply take it outdoors and never refill again!

Read more here:

A Dutch (English) blog

This is well worth a visit.

An Englishman who lived in NZ but now lives in Holland. He is a basket maker and cycle guide.

Have a read and take a peek at the Utube video at the very bottom of the blog, of the 600 bike parking lot, just the right style for USQ and Q. Health Toowoomba.

Real Cycling

This is a UK blog site but it's quite interesting with some amusing stories and style about it:

Taking young children for a ride

How do you take a young child with you when you go for a ride?

There is a Swiss made machine that offers a pretty snappy idea here:

UK web 'Velorution'

This is a great web page from the UK, with access to all sorts of non-standard bikes that people ride in Europe.

Here is an introduction to a blog section from a purist old-style bike rider:

In the 70’s Gustav Thoeni and Piero Gros were the kings of the slopes: nobody could attack the slalom gates tighter and faster: they dominated skiing for six years.

Then came a young Swede from Lapland who did things differently; rather than trying to cut the sharpest corner at each gate, hitting the blue and red post with his shoulders, Stenmark focused on keeping his slalom has smooth as possible: no hard edges but an elegant flow.

It was all over for the Italians.

In the morning rush hour, people on racers and fixie, their head down, are keen to show the lightness of their machine and toughness of their calves; they distance me on some straight stretches, but when we approach a junction, I, sitting comfortably on a Retrovelo or an Azor, with a clear outlook on the movement of all other vehicles, find the perfect line and effortlessy leave them behind.

It happens every morning.

Read more and view the links to great bikes here:

Assistance for planners and engineers

This is a very interesting Qld Transport web page:

Technical information for cycling
This series of notes is designed to assist planners and engineers provide for cycling in their local area.

The cycle notes should be read in conjunction with:

* the Guide to Traffic Engineering Practice, Part 14—Bicycles (Austroads 1999)


* Queensland Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices, Part 9 Bicycle Facilities.

Download this page here:

Toowoomba Regional Cycleways Project

Here is where TRC and T&MR, the 'new' amalgamated super roads-ministry, is spending our tax dollars and rate dollars.

This project is filling in the gaps in the footpath supply around and about Toowoomba.

The footpaths are for shared use of pedestrians and cyclists.

Cyclist are required to 'give way' to pedestrians on these paths, a reasonable enough requirement, but this makes travel on a narrow footpath, with constant road crossings to be negotiated with motor vehicles, a very slow form of bike travel.

The shared paths do offer a chance for parents to encourage their school age children to start riding to school more.

TBUG has asked TRC officers if the council informs householders where a new shared path goes in, what it is 'all about'.

By that we mean, does TRC explain before the work starts that it is going to happen, with a letter drop in the area?

Does the letter inform householders that they are not to park their cars on the new path?

Does TRC police the new paths after they are built to see if cars park on them or not?

So far, and TBUG has not made a formal enquiry as yet, the answer seems to be 'no' to all of the above.

As for policing the footpaths, we have been advised by TRC that this is the job of the Toowoomba Police, not TRC parking attendants.

So, if you see a car parked on a footpath, ring Sgt. Col O'Shea and the Transport section of the Toowoomba Police and ask them to issue a ticket: 4631 6343

TBUG has previously informed TRC that while shared footpaths are clearly one aspect of increasing access to cycling for a group of current and potential cyclists, such a school students and inexperienced riders, the shared paths do need to be at least 3 to 4 metres wide, not 2 metres, or 1.8 metres, or even 2.5 metres and there needs to be a balance between on-road and off-road cycleways.

Read more about where these paths are going in, and their costs to see where your tax/rates dollars are going to increase cycling in Toowoomba region:

Sunday, 14 June 2009

a 'new design' bike lane for Toowoomba

All over Queensland, when Government policy suggests there is a need for a 'bike lane' the local MRD office understands what that means and undertakes the work as required.

For months, TBUG has been asking the local office of MRD whether or not we will be getting bike lanes along Ruthven Street for the $40million of tax dollars that are being spent on the upgrade.

'Yes' they kept saying 'Don't you worry about that'.

But when TBUG asked to see the overall plans.... all went quiet.

So, we wrote to the Director General about our concerns.

Mr. Alan Tesch wrote back, the Assistant DG of MRD, assuring us 'Don't you worry about that'.

And, knowing what the policy actually said, we believed him.

But, when at a meeting with a wide range of Toowoomba cyclists at the TRC offices, we were staggered to hear a TRC officer inform us all that Ruthven Street was to be fitted with BAZ signs (see picture).

TBUG protested that neither MRD not QT supported BAZ signs on work they funded.

TBUG rang the MRD 'Bike Champion' and expressed our serious concerns and misgivings, after all, didn't we have a letter from Alan Tesch assuring us that MRD policy would be followed?

So, TBUG wrote to the Regional and District Directors of MRD asking why they were funding BAZ signs instead of bike lanes.

The response from MRD follows:

I refer to your email of 31 May 2009a about Bicycle Awareness Zone signs.

I understand your concerns about this issue; however, this is a complicated matter that requires further investigation including formal discussions with your group,the other cycling groups in Toowoomba as well as other local and state government entities.

Until that process is finalised,I will not be in a position to provide further advice about this matter.

Amazing! After all the assurances up and down the MRD line, after all our studying of MRD policy, after all the MRD 'newsletters' telling the taxpaying public.... this is a 'complicated matter' that needs to be renegotiated with all the cyclists in Toowoomba.

Hardly a credible response.

TBUG has written to the Director General for a response.

Is this a bad joke... or a bike lane?

The top picture shows a car, angle parked, on the south side of Ruthven Street, just above the Chalk Drive section of MRD highway.

This car is parked legally in an angle park that allows a bare 0.660 mts on the road surface between the inside of the white bike lane line and the edge of the anglepark lines. With the car in place there is even less room for a bike to pass down a designated bike lane.

Is this what MRD policy says we should be getting as bike lanes on one of their roads?

NO.... it is not. But 'second best' is what we are being given here in the local area when it comes to 'following policy'.

The second picture shows a highway sign jutting out into what looks like a bike lane. The 'official' bike lane ended just a few metres back from the road sign, according to a footpath lurking 'end of bike lane' sign, but the white line continues unbroken, as if the bike lane continues. Meanwhile, a BAZ sign pops up on the highway, confusing both drivers and cyclists alike.

Is this an example of 'best practice'? Apparently so.

The third picture, the white logo indicating a 'bike lane' exists, shows how the main road road surface has been laid on top of a pre-existing bitumen surface.

This overlay has created a very dangerous ridge.

The width of this 'bikelane' is a mere 1.030 mts. Wider than much of the rest of the 'bike lane' but hardly meeting any MRD standard that TBUG has been able to find so far.

This section of so-called 'bike lane' is a danger to cyclists. It is unsafe to ride on, it does not meet any standard, it is a 'bad joke' and whoever is responsible for it should hang their head in shame.

TBUG is following this up with TRC and MRD.

TBUG believes this section of roadway is part of the MRD 'owned' highway.

We'll see if MRD try to pass the responsibility to TRC once the DG has asked a few questions of the local office.

In the meantime, take extreme care on this section of poorly conceived bikelane.

Bicycle Queensland

The TBUG supports riders joining Bike Qld.

BQ staff assist TBUG in all sorts of ways, with information, with public liability insurance cover for events, with moral support, with contact advice, with their constant lobbying for all cyclists.

BQ offers us all a service with their professional lobbying efforts, even if we are not members.

But this costs money, and we believe the modest cost of the BQ subscription is well worth the investment.

See for yourself:

Join Bicycle Queensland and make cycling a way of life

Benefits of becoming a member of BQ include:

* Personal accident insurance for damage to you if you crash while cycling;
* Third party and third party property insurance;
* Optional bike theft and damage insurance with special member deals,;
* Twelve months subscription to Australian Cyclist magazine (6 editions);
* Twelve months subscription to Queensland Cyclist newsletter (6 editions);
* Discounts on entry to our great events including Bike Week and the BDO Kendalls Brisbane Coot-tha Challenge, Cycle Queensland & Wilson HTM Brisbane to the Gold Coast Cycle Challenge;
* Discounts at many bike shops;
* Free legal assistance for any incident when riding;
* Advice on most cycling matters; and
* A national contribution to cycling advocacy through the Bicycle Federation of Australia and the National Bicycle Coalition.

To join Bicycle Queensland click on the link for the Membership Form then
Print and complete the details and mail it with your credit card details, cheque, or money order to:

Bicycle Queensland
PO Box 5957
West End QLD 4101
Fax: 07 3844 5343

To find out more about BQ go to their web page here:

or to the membership form here:

Brisbane to Gold Coast

A great annual Bicycle Queensland event is the Brisbane to Gold Coast ride.

Not a race, and not for 'experts', this event allows 'ordinary' riders to complete 100 kms in a day, with smoko and lunch provided, and a 'free' T shirt at the end.

Get yourself down to Southbank, with a bike, and then ride the 100 kms to Southport and have a party at that end.

Then, put your bike on a truck, put yourself on a bus, and smooch your way back to Southbank and get yourself home again, tired, but happy.

This day is completed by rank beginners, and by lycra clad fiends who pass you on their way home before you've even reached the 40 kms mark.

It's a great day, well worth a go.

See the FAQs here:

See the home page here:

Cycle Qld- the Toowoomba to Toowoomba event

Bicycle Queensland has been running these 'Cycle Queenland' events for some years now.

Gundi to Gold Coast... Miles to Mooloolabar... Bundaberg to Brisbane.

Our turn has come at last.

Toowoomba to Timbuktu? No, not quite. Toowoomba to .... um.... Toowoomba in fact.

Yes, it's a town worth two visits in one as far as BQ are concerned, and why not?

We can show our visitors the BAZ signs on Ruthven Street... the Clifford Gardens roundabout... the bike lanes on Ruthven between Bridge and Chalk Drive, another disaster waiting to happen.

But seriously, this is a really big opportunity for cycling in Toowoomba, but we are not too sure that the TRC understands it's even happening, and given their view of cycling so far, it's not too sure-fire that they'd understand the point of it all either.

Take a look at this BQ web page about Cycle Qld 2009:

Trip through the pages and if this looks like you, consider going to this night of information:

If you are thinking about coming on Cycle Queensland 2009 but have a few questions you would like answered before you sign up ... we are holding two more Info Nights in June.

At the Info Night we'll show a short presentation about Cycle Queensland and there'll be heaps of time to ask all your questions!

Riders and volunteers who have already signed up for Cycle Queensland are also welcome to come along.

The last two Info Nights for Cycle Queensland 2009 will be held in Toowoomba on Tuesday 23 June and Brisbane (West End) on Thursday 25 June.

RSVP to (cutnpaste into your browser)

Open heart surgery?

Have you had open heart surgery and do you ride?

Have a look at this, sent to TBUG by Cr. Norm Wyndam.

Cr Norm Wyndham (Brisbane City Council) is inviting participants who have had open heart surgery to join him this year from 5th – 13th September on Bicycle Queensland’s Darling Downs Cycle Queensland event of 560 kilometres over eight days.

For their effort Norm is willing to outfit each rider with a ‘free’ quality Queensland made (Open Heart) team cycle jersey.

Having undergone three open heart operations since he was a child until as recent as 1991 Cr Wyndham is keen to promote both the Prince Charles Hospital Foundation and the Heart Foundation.

Often when people are first faced with the prospect of heart surgery they are concerned that they will be an invalid for the rest of their lives.

This is not true and Cr Wyndham wants others who have had surgery to demonstrate this while having fun, staying fit, and raising funds for these well-known charities.

For further information please contact Norm on 3403 7690 (work).

Or email here (cutnpaste into your browser)

It's just another day (Lou Reed)

Just another day in Toowoomba?

Pretty well.

Here are a few Chronicle stories in case you've missed them.

Car ploughs into cyclists

Louise O'Keefe | 11th June 2009:

DOCTOR Andrew Skerman thought the worst when a car crashed into the group of cyclists he was riding with yesterday morning.

The member of the Murray Greys’ cycling club said he heard the impact and had expected to find bodies lying under the car.

One man was taken to St Vincent’s Hospital with a dislocated shoulder. Two other cyclists received cuts and abrasions.

“There were around 20 riders in our group and we were cycling up Bridge Street towards West Street, two-abreast,” Dr Skerman said.

“The driver of a car approached from the rear and tried to overtake our group. “The driver must have seen an approaching car and pulled back over the edge of the traffic island and skidded into one of the cyclists.

“They then sped off.”

Dr Skerman said he heard another cyclist call out “car back” prior to the crash — a call used to alert other riders in a group, warning them to move to the side of the road.

“Then there was a loud car engine rev, a long skid and the sound of bikes being hit and riders falling off,” he said.

Dr Skerman said the crash had caused potentially life-long shoulder problems for one cyclist.

The crash had also caused “a few thousand dollars” damage to the bikes, with some valued at as much as $14,000.

“Absolutely nothing could have been done by cyclists this morning to avoid the accident and it was lucky no-one was killed,” he said.

“I fully expected to turn around and see riders wedged under the car.”

An off-duty police officer followed the vehicle responsible into Newtown and recorded the registration plate.

A man was later arrested in Blue Gum Drive in Newtown and charged with dangerous operation of a vehicle and failure to remain at the scene.

He was given bail and will appear in Toowoomba Magistrates Court on June 30.

Notice how the journalist reported 'a doctor' and not 'a cyclist'. Had this been 'a foundry worker', would the story have received the same high profile?

And this one:

Cyclist says our dangerous roads like Gaza strip

Jennifer Huxley | 7th January 2009

WORLD Championship triathlon hopeful Liz Swinton likens cycling on Toowoomba's roads to living on the Gaza Strip.

Only she believes it's more dangerous.

The Toowoomba triathlete had a close call on Tuesday morning when she was knocked off her bike by a car driving along Anzac Avenue.

The 7.30am traffic wasn't heavy, and according to Swinton, the driver unnecessarily tried to overtake her.

“All of a sudden this gold bonnet got closer and closer to me. I had my hands on the car trying to hold myself up, I was physically on the car, and the driver kept going,” Swinton said.

“The driver said she didn't have enough room and had the choice between hitting me or the car on her other side.

“I was riding single file with my husband along Anzac Avenue. When there are two lanes you're allowed to take one of them up and we were just occupying a narrow section of the lane.”

Swinton escaped from the collision with an elbow injury and damage to her bike, both of which will set back her training for the Australian team qualifying races ahead of the ITU Triathlon World Championships.

And worse still, this is not the first dangerous encounter Swinton has had with a car on Toowoomba roads in the past two months.

“This is the fifth time something like this has happened. I reported four incidents to the police in the past two months and that has only been when I can remember the number plates,” Swinton said.

“The big issue here is that drivers need to realise cyclists are human beings. There is very little to protect us so it's incredibly easy to seriously hurt someone.

“I know triathletes who refuse to train on Toowoomba roads because they're so dangerous. I think you'd stand a better chance on the Gaza Strip.

“Drivers need to be more aware. At the moment there are a lot of careless drivers who aren't thinking before trying to overtake us.”

Senior Sergeant Brad Clark of the Toowoomba District Traffic Branch said there were ongoing issues in Toowoomba between cyclists and motorists.

“There is always a certain element of road users who think cyclists should not be on the road,” Snr Sgt Clark said.

“Cyclists need to comply with the road rules too and have a right to be on the road.

“There have been incidents in the past when foolhardy people have pushed cyclists from their motor vehicle.

“Motorists need to be aware that they face the possibility of charges of dangerous driving for incidents like this.”

Liz is correct about the Gaza Strip... and there is the Anzac Avenue area again.

Then there is the 'new' old story here:

New cycleway slammed as 'dangerous'
Madeleine Logan | 12th June 2009

The Tor Street cycleway, built about four months ago, was funded by the Toowoomba Regional Council and Queensland Transport.

IT looks like an Irish gag.

But the joke is on us. This Toowoomba cycleway cost us $150,000.

“Unmitigated disaster,” is how cyclist Hugh Wilson describes the Tor Street path, constructed about four months ago. “It beggars belief. No engineer could possibly have designed it.”

And nobody would ride (or, more accurately, pole dance) along the obstacle course, he added.

“It’s a danger to cyclists.”

The pathway, near Prosser Street, was jointly funded by Queensland Transport’s Cycle Network Program and Toowoomba Regional Council.

It is part car park, part footpath, part comedy.

Yes, the poles were there first.

“Queensland Transport is doing all it can to encourage cycling, while the council is doing all it can to prevent it,” Mr Wilson said.

“(This cycleway) invites disaster.”

Council engineers designed the Tor Street cycleway, treating the power poles “as bollards in accordance with guidelines”, a spokeswoman said.

The power pole-free footpath on the opposite side of the road was not widened because engineering issues made it “impractical and problematic”. In the end, the poles were thought the lesser of two evils.

More than $2.5 million has been set aside for similar cycleway projects in Toowoomba and Highfields over the next two years.

About $1.12 million of that was committed by the council.

When asked about the path yesterday, Matt Davis from the Toowoomba Bicycle Users Group said it was a perfect example of the need for consultation with cyclists.

He is pushing for an Active Transport Reference Group, which will advise Queensland Transport, Main Roads and the council.

A meeting of interested parties is planned for next month.

“We are calling for the effective use of funding, to ensure it is spent wisely,” he said.

“Positive steps have been made.

“We’re promoting same road, same rules, same responsibility.”

Other cycleways are planned for West Street (south to Nelson), McDougall Street, Hargraves Street, Ruthven Street, Kearney Street, Nelson Street, Baker Street, Mackenzie Street and one at Highfields between Cawdor Road and Highfields school.

But that’s the end of the jokes, council has promised.

“There are off-road cycleways where there are obstacles on footpaths, but none like Tor Street,” a spokeswoman said.

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Toowoomba roundabouts?

Oh dear, here is a story about roundabouts from Bicycle Victoria.

We can see a 'likeness' here in Toowoomba, and thought you should be made aware of what up-to-date thinking was, well, 'thinking'.

Toowoomba has Clifford Gardens, a hopeless case of 'design' that the Toowoomba Police have identified as a major blackspot.

TBUG has had a supporter complain to us about it, and we followed it up with TRC, even getting engineers and a councillor out to inspect the site.

Nothing could convince them that this was a pig-in-a-poke, a poorly conceived 'resolution' to a social problem... car drivers are not really aware of other people trying to share the road with them.

No, for engineers, there is only an engineering solution that 'people' are required to comply with come-what-may and to-hell-with-the-social-costs.

Then there are the Hume Street roundabouts, where bike riders are consigned to the gutters.

And on it goes....

But 'hang on!' is there another view?

How to reduce the negative effect of single lane roundabouts on a bike route

3 June 2009.
In the past traffic engineers regarded roundabouts as a magic bullet; cheaper than signals with better motor vehicle flow and reduced motor vehicle collisions.

Bike riders hate them with good reason. They know a roundabout intersection will be the place where there will be close shaves and collisions.

Today bikes are common and in most places the numbers are growing at a startling rate. Riders are normal, everyday people, riding to school, riding to work, and saving the Treasury millions in health and transport infrastructure costs.

And they are asking: "Why are we still building all these roundabouts when the studies show that current designs are hostile to bike riders?"

TBUG riders should know that the TRC engineering department are burning candles to 'past the wick' even now as they design a series of brand new single lane roundabouts for Nelson Street, between Ruthven and West.

Where they ripped up the bitumen to make it 'safer' for buses to turn a corner in the rain, never mind the effect it has on bike riders in the dry!

Yes, Toowoomba city engineers LIKE roundabouts and are not inclined to listen to 'fresh' evidence.

Why change the habits of a lifetime, after all, just because the evidence points in another direction?

See more here:

New Road Signage Directs Motorists To 'Move Over' For Cyclists

Ah, the nation of the free!

Where else could a lone cyclist get a clutch of public servants to listen to their reasonable concerns?

Not in Queensland, that's for sure, and certainly not in Toowoomba.

All we cyclists ask for is 'a fair suck of the sauce bottle' and less of the 'zip, nothing' attitude (borrowing from our Prime Minister, of course).

How's this for a story of grit and determination?

A single bike activist, tired of being honked at by motorists as they passed her in a narrow lane, lobbied her small city for a sign directing motorists to "change lanes to pass", and got it. Motorists have since ceased honking and changed lanes.

"Margaret Pye remembers the honking, shouting and tailgating she endured while commuting home. The bicyclist grew tiresome of the treatment she received from drivers in San Carlos, and fought for equal access to the roads by lobbying city leaders for a unique kind of sign. Instead of 'share the road' signs, which Pye said are ineffective, the city recently installed “change lanes to pass” signs.

Once the sign went up this summer, the honking quickly stopped, she said.

'I believe the motorists understand and do what they’re supposed to do,' Pye said. 'I think it’s been a significant difference.'

Additional improvements are on the way, including narrowing road lanes to install bike lanes."

Read more of this story, and see Margaret's new sign, at the link below while you reflect on the possibilities of TRC "narrowing road lanes to install bike lanes"... Heavens above... and infringe of the right of motorists to drive at full tilt, like Mr. Toad?

See here for more:

How fast should Ruthven Street be?

TBUG is very concerned about the speed of road taffic here in Toowoomba.

We know, and anyone interested enough to read the evidence would know too, that the faster the road traffic goes, the more danger there is to cyclists and pedestrians.

TBUG would like to see the 60 kph zone on West Street dropped, for instance. We believe it would be safer at 50 kph, which is not an outrageously slow speed to expect motorists to drive at.

The whole of the UK manages to drive on similar roads at 30 mph, which is 'about' 50 kph, and still people get to work, still the trucks roll on delivering freight.

So, should Ruthven Street be 60 kph or 70 kph from Burstows to Nelson Street?

We say it should be 60, all the way (but, of course, the evidence tells us that Qld should abandon the 60 kph blanket speed zones and adopt a blanket 50 kph, which TBUG believes would be an inspiringly intelligent move our politicians are all to scared too make).

Why do we lobby for 60 kph?

Because TRC and MRD are putting in traffic lights at this increasingly busy intersection.

Because we all know that drivers pay scant attention to red lights in Toowoomba.

Because having an increase in speed from 60 to 70 will encourage drivers to keep accelerating as they approach a red light.... and keep on going.

Because being hit at 70 hurts more than being hit at 60, even in a car.

Because, frankly, only a complete goose would watch the State Government 'Slow down Stupid!' campaign and still think it was OK to encourage drivers to accelerate approaching a set of traffic lights.

This is what Mr. Murray Peacock thinks (on behalf of his Minister it must be said):

As you are aware the speed limit through this area was 80km/h prior to the
highway upgrade. This is due to the limited number of accesses along this
section of the highway.

The speed zones following the upgrade will be:

60km/h north of the entrances to Burstow's Funeral Chapel and the

70km/h from the entrances to Burstow's Funeral Chapel and the
Crematorium (350 metres north of the Ruthven/Nelson Street
intersection) to 400 metres south of the intersection

80km/h from 400 metres south of the intersection, as it is currently

A speed limit of 70km/h through the signalised intersection is acceptable
and is commonly used in this type of environment (eg. a speed limit of
70km/h for the New England Highway through Highfields, which has much
higher traffic volumes).

The sections of the highway in the 70km/h and 80km/h zones are rural
residential with very few accesses.

These speed zones are appropriate for the upgraded road environment, road
users perception of appropriate speeds and are enforceable.

So, when the first 'stack' due to running a red light at this intersection occurs, TBUG will email Mr Peacock, his DG and his Minister and remind them all of this 'wise counsel'... while the Health Department and Emergency Services add to the nations GDP.

Toowomba Regional Council and BAZ signs

Riders may have noticed the rash of yellow bike logos around Toowoomba, in the city and dotted around the Hume Street roundabouts.

These yellow signs are called BAZ signs, Bicycle Awareness Zone, is what it stands for.

Even though BAZ signs are being put in place on Ruthven Street, paid for with the $40million plus of tax dollars under the control of the District Director of Main Roads, TBUG has been assured by very senior officials in both Queensland Transport and Main Roads that neither department supports them on work they fund with our tax dollars.

But go in they are.

And, of course, the other partner in the Ruthven Street highway works is our own council, TRC.

Years ago, when the old TCC was thinking about getting serious with cycling, it convened meetings of interested people, which is where the TBUG sprang from.

One result of all the consultation was the Pedestrian and Cycling Strategy, something the current TBUG supports and encourages the current TRC to fund more seriously than it currently does.

Here is a very telling section about how cyclists felt during the consultation process, that is relevant to both the BAZ signs fiasco on Ruthven Street (and all over the city) and also the 70 kph speed zone being imposed on us by the local office of MRD.

Turn to page 5

Sharing Roadways - Behaviours and Attitudes

There is potential conflict between motorists and cyclists when using the roadways. The main reasons for this are there is no allocated space for cyclists to ride comfortably alongside traffic and motorists generally have a poor attitude towards sharing the road with cyclists, finding them a nuisance rather than a legitimate road user.

• Motorists don’t always look for cyclists when changing their direction of travel and don’t give a cyclist much room when passing them on the road. Cyclists are generally forced to ride in the gutter or far left of the road on poor surfaces making their travel hazardous and uncomfortable.

Of course, TRC likes to place the BAZ signs in the very same gutters cyclists told the old council they did not appreciate being forced into.

Progress! It's a funny thing, isn't it?

Active Transport here?

Time to read a few articles about 'active transport'.

This is a special phrase used by governments and councils that are serious about cyclists and pedestrians, and about skateboarders for that matter.

Anything that gets people 'active' is involved in 'active transport'.

TBUG has been promoting the creation of a Bicycle Advisory Committee (BAC) to our council for some time.

And we were successful too. The previous council supported our concept 100%.

But then the elections and the amalgamations changed things completely.

Just recently though, after months of waiting, TBUG met with the Mayor and he has agreed to form a group, not called a BAC, but an Active Transport Reference Group.

Good news, we hope.

Below are some web pages that can tell you more about 'active transport'.

A good council to look to for some direction is Noosa. Brisbane knows what it is doing, and why, too.

Have a look at these:

Active transport BCC:

Active tpt PhD:




Travel Smart Qld:

Noosa is a Travel Smart city:

Ride to Work 2008 Report

Here is a Bicycle Victoria document reporting on the 2008 Ride to Work Day.

Toowoomba had its very first R2WD in October last year, so we formed part of this 'national day of action'.

It is well worth having a look at, and then thinking how we can improve things for 2009 here:

Bike Fleets

Do you work for somewhere that could benefit from a few work bikes, a bike fleet even?

This slim document is well worth a read, and if you think it might benefit your workplace, pass it on to the owner/boss:

What do Main Roads think about bikes?

It is hard to understand how hard it can be to implement a government policy when it is all written down for managers to follow, isn't it?

But maybe that is our fault too, for not bothering to check to see what our taxes are paying for when it comes to policy formation.

Here are a couple of MRD urls below that are worth reading, and then comparing with what happens on-the-ground in the Toowoomba District.

The first paragraph is well worth reading... "Main Roads considers all road users in the design and maintenance of our state-controlled road network. This includes motorists, public transport users, pedestrians and cyclists."

So, if MRD considered cyclists to be 'road users', just the same as car drivers and truck drivers, there would be some evidence of this, say at Highfields, where millions of tax dollars were spent on upgrading the highway?

Sadly not, there is no provision made there at all for cyclists, and the highway speed, at 70 kph, seems to be an open invitation for some drivers to go even faster!

By the way, when the Nelson Street-Ruthven Street works are completed, there may, or may not, be bike lanes. TBUG has asked for 'the plans' but these are being kept hidden from us at the moment, even though Mr. Alan Tesch, the Assistant MRD DG, has assured us in writing that bike lanes WILL be going in, from James Street south.

We do know, however, that MRD are currently refusing to make this section of road 60 kph, as it should be, and have told us that they need to consider the truck drivers trip times first, so from Burstows to past Nelson Street the speed limit will be 70 kph, just like at Highfields, which the local MRD boys regard as a great success, so they have told us anyway.

Maybe we need to look closer to home, to the new works between James Street and Nelson Street?

Sadly not. The $40million plus of our tax monies is being spent only on motorists, again.

Of course, there is a modest section of bike-laning at Alderley and Ruthven, but this partial work assumes no cyclist ever wants to turn right at the traffic lights, going north or south, with no bike lanes marked for turning cyclists and no 'green boxes' anywhere to be seen.

And further back down the road, at James Street, the MRD are putting in those tiny yellow BAZ (Bicycle Awareness Zone)signs that motorists ignore, those signs that tell cyclists to get-in-the-gutter-where-you-belong.

It's a bit odd that these BAZ signs are going in because both MRD and QT officials have assured the TBUG that neither department will support them on work they fund.

So, how can this be happening here?

TBUG has raised this issue with the local MRD Director, Mr Murray Peacock, and were not the least bit satisfied with his response.

Do read his own newsletter, where readers are told all about the new work, and how bike lanes are going to be provided:$file/in-and-around-toowoomba-november-2008.pdf

This is what the newsletter says about fitting bike lanes.... and it never mentions BAZ signs once!

New England Highway (Ruthven Street) Nov. 2008

This is a series of six projects to upgrade sections of the New England Highway (Ruthven Street) through Toowoomba including seven intersections.

Two are completed, one is currently under construction, another is out for open tender and two are in design.

The projects are being funded jointly by Main Roads and Toowoomba Regional Council and will consist of intersection improvements, route lighting, signal upgrades, four-laning of short sections and bicycle lanes.

The total cost of the projects is $41.065 million.

We have now written to the Director General, asking him if he expects MRD policy to be implemented in this District, or not.

Why did we do this? Because, perhaps foolishly, we read the following and though it also applied to Toowoomba:

Main Roads will encourage and facilitate cycling. Cyclists are legitimate users of the Queensland road network and as such the planning for, and design,construction, maintenance and operation of state-controlled roads should be undertaken on the basis that cyclists will use the network. Main Roads will allow for cycling as part of the planning and protection of new road corridors.

Seems not... MRD policy only applies to Brisbane, apparently, where voters obviously count for more.

Have a look here for the general statement on what our public servants promise to deliver for us, with our taxes:

For those cyclists who want to know more, read the policy here:$file/MR_Cycling_on_StateRoads_Policy.pdf

End of journey facilities

Just how hard can it be for end-of-journey facilities to be retro-fitted into large employers buildings, hospitals, universities, town council carparks and so on?

The boffins at QUT have put their minds to this problem and come up with a wizard solution.

Have a look at the Utube video, and then email our Mayor and/or your employer and ask them 'what are we doing about creating some end-of-journey facilities?'

Just goes to show, universities are not just ivory towers, they do real life research and design.

Watch this:

6 reasons to get more women on bikes

Most bike commuters find that the negative assumptions they had about bike commuting are mostly false. This goes double for women, who might find that riding in high heels is easier than walking in them; a special wardrobe is not necessarily required (though fun); and that biking boosts a sense of freedom in ways a car no longer can. Benefits to women are multiple, and the benefits to society are just as big. Read on for how we all get dividends when women take to their bikes.

a resource centre to add to Favourites

Here is a great resource on cycling to add to your Favourites list:

Bike trailers

This web site is probably not the best place to go to to buy a bike trailer but it is 'the best' web site we have found to see what bike trailers are available.

Once you've found the trailer that suits your needs, search 'the Googles' for a local Australian dealer.

Where to go?

Winter time light-up

Now Winter is upon us it is probably past time to make sure you have a good set of lights, front and rear, on your bike.

Without getting a really expensive set of rechargeable lights, there are more than a few perfectly reasonable battery sets on sale these days.

Bicycle Queensland members can buy front and rear lights at a reduced price from the BQ offices in Brisbane:

Failing that, have a look at the Bike Victoria web site report on bike lights and make your way down to one of the local shops.

Bike Victoria:

See also what Choice magazine for consumers has to say below:

What to look for

* Most bike lights use LEDs rather than globes. Lights with multiple LEDS are usually brightest, but a single LED can still be very bright if the light has a good reflector.
* Ask the bike shop if you can test the lights before buying. Try the different flash rates – if the flash is too slow or fast, a driver could have trouble judging your exact location.
* Check the light is clearly visible when side-on or at an angle.
* Light mounting brackets will fit most bikes but check they'll fit yours.
* Ideally the light should use easily obtainable batteries such as AAs or AAAs.

Stay visible

Too many cyclists ride at night with weak bike lights or none at all. Check your lights periodically to make sure they are still putting out a good, bright light; if they’re looking dim, put in new batteries.

If you’re a regular night rider, it’s worth investing a little more to ensure you stay visible to other road users. Bike lights can sometimes fail, especially in the rain, so it may be worth having an extra light or two on your bike or backpack. Wear light-coloured or reflective clothing, or a reflective strip or vest.

Read more from Choice here: