Sandgate Road cycling ban, Virginia

The overpass itself.

People who travel by bike down Sandgate Road will be well aware of the banning of cyclists last month at the overpass of the large roundabout at Downfall Creek, Virginia. The ban was imposed by the Department of Transport and Main Roads without any consultation that we are aware of, and has made it that much more difficult to cycle in from the northern suburbs.

Location of the ban.

Like most routes to the city from the north side, this section of road is quite unpleasant, and only the most hardy road cyclists are comfortable using it. These people are more deserving of a medal than another obstacle in the form of a ban. For people willing to take the overpass there is sufficient width for bicycles to safely share the road, even with wide vehicles such as buses and trucks.

The “safer”, alternative route

The alternative route recommended by DTMR involves a significant detour via Toombul Road, a U turn across a busy road (or crossing at some very slow lights), and lots of merges and lane changes, often in locations where motorists are looking in the opposite direction. There are just as many heavy vehicles, but the road is narrower, making it less safe for cyclists.

Below is our letter to the department, and our media release calling for the ban to be lifted.

Cyclists call for re-opening of route closed by Qld Govt (PDF, 57 kB)
Letter to DTMR 24 February 2012 (PDF, 524 kB)

14 March 2012

Cyclists call for re-opening of route closed by Qld Govt

The Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) has again disregarded its own policy, and has banned bike riders from another Brisbane north side bike route – forcing them into the path of heavy traffic on Toombul Road at Virginia.

Local bike rider and member of the Central Business District Bicycle User Group (CBD BUG), Mr Aaron Ball, said today he was appalled by TMR’s response to cyclists’ safety concerns about the Sandgate Road overpass in Virginia.

“It is a badly designed route that obviously had little thought put into it” Aaron said, “but TMR’s response to cyclists’ fears about safety was an outright ban on bikes. This blundering response will place people in even more danger, despite TMR’s stated policy objective of getting more people cycling more often on safe, direct routes.”

Aaron is concerned bike riders will have to choose between breaking the law by continuing to use the old route, or taking a lengthy and even more dangerous by-pass via Toombul Road.

“The only legal alternative now for bike riders is to chance their luck riding on very busy, dangerous roads where there is no room and they have to cross several busy lanes of traffic” Mr Ball said.

“Whenever it is too inconvenient to provide proper, safe, direct and connected infrastructure the easy response from authorities is to impose a ban on cyclists, giving the lie to the many statements about governments wanting to encourage more people to cycle” Aaron said, citing a number of closures and reductions in cycling infrastructure in and around the northern suburbs as a result of so-called ‘upgrades’ to Brisbane’s road network, such as the Inner City Bypass, Legacy Way and Airport Link.

TMR says it erected signs prohibiting cyclists from a 400 metre section of Sandgate Road at the Downfall Creek overpass in Virginia in response to cyclists’ complaints about safety.

Ends

Media contact: Paul French
0423 974 825
convenors@cbdbug.org.au

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