Cycling Myths Exposed

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Nothing gets motorists quite as fired up as someone on a bike, however cyclists aren’t as bad as many may think. Despite the fact that cycling is good for your health and means one less car on the road, cyclists cop a lot of criticism. But why? Because apparently cyclists break the road rules, speed, weave in and out of traffic and show irresponsible behaviour on the roads. And it’s true, not every cyclist is an angel, but we need to do something about the blame game that takes place on our roads everyday. Arguments with motorists, while in a bike lane, are a common occurrence, and many experience verbal abuse, threats and general harassment. There are articles that blast cyclists as Lycra-wearing, careless road users, and Facebook pages aimed at picking up everything that is wrong with cycling. Most cyclists just want to use the road and get to work safely without the threat of conflict, therefore it is necessary that we get a few urban cycling myths straight. 

1. Cyclists should stay off the roads: 

Every state in Australia has laws dictating that cyclists can use the roads. If people really want this changed, they will have to find a way to change the law – otherwise they will have to deal with it. 

2. Cyclists always use the footpath:

It is not illegal for cyclists to use the footpath if they are under 12 years of age or riding with a child. Cyclists are also allowed to use footpaths if they are designated shared paths. These paths are often marked and sign posted. 

3. Cyclists shouldn’t ride side-by-side:

It is a myth that cyclists are not allowed to do this. Under New South Wales law, riders can travel a maximum of two abreast in a lane as long as they are not more than 1.5m apart. In Queensland, the law now states that cars must drive at least 1m from cyclists and 1.5m in areas above 60km/hr. Check with your local transport authority if you are not sure.

4. Cycling benefits are overrated:

The health benefits of cycling are well known, but did you know that cycling benefits the economy as well? According to a Department of Infrastructure report released in 2013, every time that someone rides their bike for 20 minutes, the economy benefits by more than $21.00.

5. Cyclists cause accidents:

Cyclists do indeed cause accidents, that is no dispute. But then again, so does every other road user. Cyclists are not always at fault when it comes to accidents involving cars, although many people think they are. In fact, studies show that cars are more commonly in the wrong. According to the Centre for Automotive Research, in 79 per cent of cases the driver of the vehicle was deemed to be at fault. 

6. Cyclists are a menace on the road:

Nobody is a perfect driver. While some cyclists may take risky moves in traffic, other roads users are just as guilty of doing the same thing. 

7. Cycling isn’t dangerous:

An alarming number of bike riders are being killed on the roads at a faster rate than in past years. Australia is one of the only countries in the world that had an increase in cycling deaths between 2000 and 2011. This isn’t because cyclists are taking unnecessary risks, but more so due to an increase of cyclists using the roads. It is important to remember that cyclists are often motorists too, normal people with friends and family. Be sure to think about this next time you are passing one of them.

8. Cyclists should pay registration:

This has long been desired by those who want to make cyclists more accountable. However, bike registration is an option not even Australia’s peak motoring body agrees with. The NRMA’s Peter Koury said it would be difficult to enforce and there would be potential safety risks. For example, the idea of displaying a number plate like you would on a motor vehicle caused concern about injuries or distractions. “If we really want to see accidents involving cyclists drop, we need more education, better use of cycle lanes and better separation of cars and bikes,” he said. “We want to encourage people to use their bikes and registration won’t do that.”

9. Cyclists cause congestion:

Unless cyclists are taking up an entire lane for the whole duration of their journey, it is unlikely that they are causing more congestion. Overtaking a cyclist is no different to overtaking a parked car, but if it really bothers you, the best solution would be to avoid main roads with cycle lanes.

10. Bike lanes are unnecessary:

Bike lanes make cycling safer but according to the NRMA, they need to be in the right places. Mr Koury said the organisation was happy to promote the separation of bike and car users but that lanes should be built in appropriate places and not on busy roads. On the upside, the cost of a typical off-road path is about $1.5 million per kilometre, far cheaper than building billions of dollars in highways.

 

Source: http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/health/cycling-myths-debunked-why-cyclists-arent-as-bad-as-you-might-think/story-fneuz9ev-1226925509305 


Bupa Around The Bay – Early Bird Entries Closing Soon!

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Bupa Around the Bay is Australia’s largest one-day bike ride which takes place in Melbourne, Victoria on Sunday 19 October 2014 and forms part of the Melbourne Cycling Festival running from Friday 7 October – Sunday 19 October 2014 at Alexandra Gardens. There are 5 different ride options available to cyclists, from the family-friendly 20km ride to the iconic 250km loop.

This is the 21st year that The Smith Family has been the official charity partner of Bupa Around the Bay, and it has grown to become their largest national fundraising event (raising over $1 million for disadvantaged Australian Children in 2013). Run by Bicycle Network, all the event entry fees go towards improving road conditions for all riders. That’s why The Smith Family challenges all riders to go the extra step and get sponsored to ride for a child in need. Riders who fundraise will be helping The Smith Family empower thousands of disadvantaged kids to create a better future through education.

Head to their website https://www.bicyclenetwork.com.au/bupa-around-the-bay/, select your preferred riding distance and secure your place in Australia’s largest one-day bike ride. Early bird prices close Friday 20th June so don’t miss out!

Source: https://www.bicyclenetwork.com.au/bupa-around-the-bay/


Cycle on through Winter

 

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We all know that when the weather gets colder and the days get shorter it’s harder to stay active and motivated. Lying in bed all day seems so tempting, but you don’t want to lose the fitness you have worked so hard for! Cycling is one of the few sports that you really can do all year-round, so here are a few helpful hints to keep you cycling through the cooler months.

  • 1) Dress for the weather – with the latest cycling clothing it is perfectly possible to insulate and protect yourself from the elements so you can cycle quite happily through the winter. And, when you buy new clothing, you’ll benefit from the motivation to try it out.
  • 2) Preparation is key – don’t leave everything until the morning. Get all your clothing, kit and bike prepared the evening before, so when you wake up everything is laid out and ready to go.
  • 3) Get some lights – don’t let the dark mornings and evenings put you off. With a set of modern high powered lights, you can get outside before most people are even out of bed.
  • 4) Enter an event – set your sights on a future event. You will have the incentive you’ll need to summon up the motivation to ride because you’ll want to stay fit and improve your fitness so that you arrive at the starting line in the best possible shape.
  • 5) Have a winter plan – having a goal to give you a sense of purpose can be a great way to get you outdoors on the bike when the weather conditions might be less than favourable. It can be anything from deciding to commute to work twice a week, to setting a weekly or monthly distance or duration goal.
  • 6) Cycle commuting – if you don’t already cycle commute, then winter is a great time to start. Not only is it a great way to keep your fitness ticking over, but it will save you money and is exhilarating compared to being stuck in a train, bus or car.
  • 7) Explore new routes – avoid riding the same routes all the time. Instead, plot new routes to explore roads around your local area and to discover new roads and new ways of linking up existing roads.
  • 8) Meet a friend for a ride – cycling on your own is hugely rewarding, but sometimes when the weather is bad it can be really encouraging to plan a ride with a friend. You’ll have the incentive of not wanting to let them down and having to meet them at a certain time to force you out the door. Riding with a friend in bad weather can be great for moral as you’re both in it together. It can be good from a safety point of view too.
  • 9) Ride with a local club – these clubs are not only a good way of making new friends, but having a regular meeting time gives you the boost of motivation you need to get on your bike. Riding in a large group is good for spirits when the weather is bad, and you can also usually ride a bit faster and seek shelter from the wind by taking it in turns at the front of the group. Time flies by compared to riding solo.
  • 10) Get a coach – If you’re a competitive sort and maybe fancy doing some racing next season, then enlisting the services of a professional coach can be a really good idea. It might seem an elaborate expense and only for the professionals, but a coach can help cyclists of all levels and abilities.
  • 11) It’s only weather – just remember, it’s only weather so don’t let it put you off riding in it. We’re fortunate here that the winter is mostly mild and is well suited to year-round cycling.
  • 12) Just get outside – don’t think too much about how bad you think it might be and instead, don’t think about it at all. Just get dressed, get out the door and get riding. Most of the time it’s never as bad as you think it will be. And the reward for having gotten out will be immeasurable.

So there you are, no excuses now! Go into winter with a positive attitude and come out of it feeling fit and healthy and well prepared for the following Summer months.

Source: http://road.cc/content/feature/99064-16-top-tips-keep-you-motivated-and-cycling-through-winter

Image: http://to.yale.edu/sites/default/files/image_galleries/metro_bike_snow.jpg?1392324364