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The best cycling city in Australia?

Michael O’Reilly – Sydney Morning Herald Thursday 15 Dec 2011

Simon Usborne: ‘I have long despaired of the sullen, patronising staff found behind the tills of bike shops’  

Cyclo-therapy The Independent  Saturday 05 November 2011

ELECTRIC BIKES:

The article below praises the abilities of the electric bike shown in the picture.  The bike shown is expensive for what it offers and the claimed range is probably ambitious for uneven terrain.  There are electic motors that are actually very good but they are not 200 Watt power output at the rear axle and they are expensive.  Many of the electric bikes currently in the marketplace are totally useless with very low range, short battery life, no pulling ability on hills, are unnecessarily heavy and are very slow on the level.  Some are also a nightmare to ride home when they run out of power. When the technology improves Fosscati will make electic bikes that perform as well as the current 4-stroke Fosscatis but that is still a little way off.  We are currently building a prototype for testing with a promising motor from an Australian manufacturer (although it probably is mostly made in China)  but it has been encountering serious clutch problems which the makers don’t seem able to rectify.

Readers should be aware that the RTA in NSW really want to ban the use of combustion motors on bicycles and that they consult with and, no doubt, take advice from Bicycles NSW.  Bicycles NSW are sponsored by two of the major bike brand names who, in turn, make electic bicycles and electric bicycle motors.  Getting rid of the combustion motor competition will give them a clear field to sell their electric bicycles.

Another major consideration is that in the coutryside 25 km\hr is just too slow to get anywhere and a speed of 35 or 45km\hr is actually much safer because it decreases the speed differential between the bicycle and other vehicles.  It is forceful rear impacts from cars that kill most cyclists on the open road and the greater the speed differential between bicycle and car the greater the force of impact and, most importantly, the less time drivers have to react before impact.  Bear in mind that those serious lycra-clad pedal cyclists you see every day often reach and maintain speeds of 65 km\hr on level terrain.   An ordinary  bicycle is capable of freewheeling downhill at speeds of over 80 km\hr.  Just for the sake of comparison in the Tour de France they hit 103 km\hr coming down the mountains.

Another very dangerous fact about electic bicycles is that they are silent and on shared cycle paths this can present a real problem when bicycles are approaching pedestrians from behind.  Fosscati is currently building an electric prototype that uses a very small powerful electic motor on a lightweight bicycle.  So far it looks pretty good and it goes well but it doesn’t come near to matching the small Honda, Subaru or Mitsubishi engines for range, reliability and environmental sustainablity.  Most of the low quality chinese-made electric bikes so much in evidence in the marketplace are actually totally unsustainable because they don’t perform, don’t get used and end up in garage sales or on the scrap heap after a couple of hous of use.

Click here to read more about environmental sustainability of bicycle motors

Meanwhile the RTA (NSW) is showing for all to see that they know very little about motorised bicycles and even less about environmental sustainabilty.  These are the same turkeys who, in the year 2000, were still building right angle junctions onto major inter-city freeways for God’s sake.  In their mad haste to outsource everything to the private sector they seem to have outsouced their own brains!  It is sad that not even the skeleton of that once great Govt Department of proud, trouble-shooting road and traffic engineers of the early 1980s remains.

An electric dream that’s built for comfort not for speed

Sydney Morning Herald  March 5, 2011

Boon for commuters ... Katy Leh wanted to ride to and from work in Paddington in her work clothes with shopping on the back. Photo: Ben Rushton

Matthew Moore takes an electric bike for a test ride around Sydney.

I ALWAYS need a shower after the 10-kilometre ride to work from my home in Sydney’s east. But when I rode a Gazelle electric bike 20 kilometres from Matraville to Pyrmont on a warm day I did not come close to breaking a sweat.

On the bike paths that run most of the way, the electric bike seemed to find its own rhythm, moving almost effortlessly at around 21km/h and I arrived at work feeling as fresh as Kristina Keneally looks.

Although the ”pedal assist” bike requires constant pedalling for the motor to kick in, I felt I was barely pushing. It was only when I tried to go above 27km/h, the speed when the motor cuts out, that I was suddenly working impossibly hard to keep the 24-kilogram bike going fast.

CLICK HERE TO READ ENTIRE ARTICLE

 

Cyclists put mettle to the pedal to capture collisions

Melissa Davey

Sydney Morning Herald, February 28, 2011

You're on bike-cam . . . Simon Hookham with the video camera mounted on his bicycle, and some of the footage he has captured on his commute, including near-misses with pedestrians and buses.
You’re on bike-cam . . . Simon Hookham with the video camera mounted on his bicycle, and some of the footage he has captured on his commute, including near-misses with pedestrians and buses. Photo: Main photo: Ben Rushton

CYCLISTS have found a new weapon in their battle to stay safe on the roads – the video camera. They are mounting the tiny cameras to their helmets or handlebars to film accidents or near misses.

Police say they are willing to use the footage as evidence.

On average there are three injuries a day for pedal cyclists in NSW, the RTA says, citing the most recent figures, from 2009.

A couple of years ago Nathan Besh hit a pedestrian who stepped in front of his bicycle.

He said the pedestrian was at fault but did not admit responsibility. ”In a lot of situations like that there are no witnesses and no evidence, it is your word against theirs,” Mr Besh said.

As a result he started an online company which sells mounts for attaching cameras to bicycles. He has mounted a forward-facing camera to his bike for his Chatswood-to-city commute.

Police could take action after reviewing video footage, a NSW police media spokesman said. ”Such footage could be used by police to make further inquiries, but whether they used that footage to take things further would be reviewed on a case-by-case basis,” he said.

A partner for Armstrong Legal, Lionel Rattenbury, said the footage could give cyclists strong ammunition if an incident made it to court, so long as conversations were not recorded without consent. ”It is akin to CCTV footage,” he said.

Simon Hookham, who rides from Castle Hill to work in St Leonards, uses the bike camera.

”The most common things I see are vehicles nearly shaving off my arm as they go past me, and cars that overtake without indication across double lines,” he said. ”When you play the footage back, you can see just how close you came to getting hit.”

He puts his footage on YouTube with comments about the people he films, calling them ”tools” and ”idiots”.

CLICK HERE TO READ ENTIRE ARTICLE

Mitigating The Risks Of Cycling

From an article in The Age 1st Feb 2011 by Wade Wallace who lives and breathes cycling

Wade Wallace lives and breathes cycling

Each time I find myself in a situation that could have ended in disaster, I think to myself “how the hell did I get myself into this position?” Most of the time I can think of some decision I’ve made that got me into the situation and realize that it could have been avoided if I were more careful. It’s up to you as a cyclist to take responsibility, because if you aren’t watching out for yourself, I think it’s safe to assume nobody else is.

Now, I realise that many things can happen that are completely out of your control and there’s absolutely nothing that you can do about it, however I know people who seem to get themselves into these situations on a weekly basis. Is it just me being lucky? I like to think that’s not the case. Here are some common sense rules that I follow to keep myself out of trouble on the roads:

1. Design a cycling route that is as safe as possible using back streets, bike lanes, and low traffic areas. All too often I see people cycling on highways that simply aren’t made for cyclists. Just because you have the “right” to be on any road you like, doesn’t mean it’s always a good idea.

2. Watch for taxis, delivery vehicles and couriers. They’ll brake and turn in front of you without any warning. These guys are just doing their jobs and looking for addresses they’ve been called to. The only thing that’s certain is that they’re unpredictable. This isn’t going to change, so it’s up to you to watch out for them.
3. When riding beside parked cars, watch out for brake lights, reverse lights or a head in the driver’s seat. These are indications that a car door might be opening unexpectedly. Also, ride about a meter away from the cars so you don’t have as far to maneuver if a car door swings open. As a driver I’ve almost opened my door on a cyclist when I thought it was clear. We’re not always easy to see and are traveling much faster that people think.
4. Don’t ride on Friday afternoons at rush hour. If you need to ride, try to get to the bike paths as quickly as possible. In my experience, Friday rush hour traffic is the worst, drivers are the most careless, and everyone wants to get home. These are my own personal observations however. I’ve read research (in the MUARC report – download here) that states the highest number of motor vehicle / cyclist crashes happen on Wednesdays and Thursdays. It also says that crashes involving motor vehicles are highest between 2pm and 6pm.

CLICK HERE TO READ ENTIRE ARTICLE

 

This recent article by Ross Gittins is very interesting but what is far more interesting are the 62 public comments expressed below the article.

THE CITY IS CHOKING THANKS TO OUR IDEA OF TRANSPORT NIRVANA

Sydney Morning Herald – February 17, 2010

Comments 61

At our behest, successive state governments have been pursuing a magnificent dream, to make Sydney a place fit for cars to be driven on all occasions. Now the Herald-commissioned independent inquiry headed by Ron Christie has exposed that dream for what it is: the wrong tram (forgive me).

It’s not just a dream incapable of being realised, it’s one that’s made our present transport problems worse rather than better and offers no answer to the looming worsening of those problems.

You and I, our parents and our children, are the car-driving generations. Young people long to get a driver’s licence (and a car) at the earliest possible moment; elderly people fight hard to keep their licences. As our affluence has grown we’ve got closer to our nirvana: one car per adult.

Illustration: Kerrie Leishman.

We’d like to drive our cars everywhere we go – even to work. This preference is constrained only by the time it takes (the congestion we encounter) and the difficulties we face finding or affording a place to park – although there was a surge in the use of public transport the last time petrol prices shot up.

For years we’ve pressured our politicians to reduce travel times and congestion by building more and wider expressways. And for years they’ve obliged without it doing any lasting good. Why not? Because of our insatiable preference to drive.

As soon as the new highway has cut the time it takes to get from A to B, more people decide to drive rather than use public transport, thus forcing travel times back up. Studies suggest that motorists keep piling in until travel times are pretty much back to where they were.

But the inquiry’s report advises that our pursuit of a world fit for universal motoring is unattainable for another reason: a big city’s sheer lack of space in the main places we want to drive to.

CLICK HERE TO READ ENTIRE ARTICLE

CONTACT FOSSCATI by e-mail:      fosscati@gmail.com

Phone in Australia: 0266 805740  or, if calling from outside Australia,  (612) 66805740

Mobile: 0431 417 588 or, if calling from outside australia, +61431417588

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