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Byron Shire
March 3, 2021

Not-so-safe cycleways

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To Ian Evans, Mullumbimby, regarding his ordeal with potholes, and his suggestion that money has been diverted to unnecessary bicycle paths:

If our cycleways are so abundant, why don’t you join us? This would improve the appalling ratio of motorists to cyclists you have noticed.

Perhaps there is a reason why so few people use these amazing bicycling lanes: they are blatantly designed by motorists with their own interests and comfort in mind, not the cyclists’. They are highly dangerous, and would discourage any inexperienced person from adopting this alternative mode of transportation.

No cyclist with more than half a brain would have designed the cycle paths in the Byron Bay area the way they are.

I cycle regularly to work and back between Brunswick Heads and Byron Bay and I am often joined by others who do the same.

Assuming you did manage to safely use those cleverly designed cycle paths, there is still 80 per cent of your trip remaining with no cycleway in sight. Any of you riding in from Lennox Head, for instance? You are very courageous, as I don’t think I’d last a week on these narrow winding roads through the forest, with no visibility around the bends.

From Tyagarah up north, the proper emergency lane provides a very safe ride, allowing for ample distance from traffic. If all motorists could have the courtesy of signalling when they are about to take an exit ramp, even better.

On all of these non-cycleway sections, we deal with the same potholes you do. They might break your suspension when you hit them doing 80; chances are they will break our neck or spine when we hit them doing 40.

So let’s put things into perspective and chill out on the subject shall we? There is already enough unjustified hatred towards cyclists because we might slow you down for a few seconds on your 30-minute trip, to now fuel that anger with allegations of wasted public funds.

I acknowledge that if casual cyclists were to do us all a favour and get some lights on their ride (front and back), this could substantially improve our relationship in sharing and enjoying the shire’s roads… and its potholes.

I would like to conclude by proposing a simple law for our politicians and decision-makers to consider: whoever designs and/or approves a bicycle path project must then be forced to use it five days a week for the next 12 to 18 months. I suspect this would quickly and dramatically improve the safety and quality of such projects.

Philippe Chambin, Brunswick Heads


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  1. Monsieur Chambin writes: “if casual cyclists were to do us all a favour and get some lights on their ride …”

    Agreed – but if only!

    Within the past week, on dark, wet evenings in Burringbar and Dalley Streets, Mullum, and Jonson and Shirley Streets, Byron, observed by this one motorist:

    a total of FIVE cyclists riding BLACK machines with nothing more than a bespattered rear reflector of limited function (on some bikes; others had none), and wearing ALL-BLACK attire!

    At best one sees them silhouetted against lit shopfronts, but once away from that unreliable, contrasting background they become suicidally invisible.

    These people – the irresponsible, unprepared portion of cyclists – are temporary citizens: their death or serious injury by collision with a larger, faster vehicle is not a matter of IF but of WHEN.

    LIGHT UP, please!


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