shared path corner obscured with bushes

Hiding around the Corner

Perviously covered this narrow path was finally concluded 18 months ago complete with vegetation planted directly adjacent to the path. In their ideal positions with full sun exposure all day long the plants have grown tremendously and now completely block vision around the corner. So who or what is hiding around the corner today?

Just on 2 seconds from sight to a static obstacle as here, this arrangement ignores the minimum unidirectional sight distance of 2.5 seconds from the Austroads guides. They discuss the problem with great simplicity:

All two-way bicycle paths should be designed to provide a sight distance between opposing cyclists (i.e. as shown across a horizontal curve in Figure 7.8) at least equivalent to twice the stopping sight distance given by Figure 7.7. This is to ensure that cyclists who are overtaking can avoid a head-on collision. Path sight distances can be drastically reduced by the growth of vegetation and hence the location and maintenance of vegetation is critical to safe path operation.

Yet whats delivered in Melbourne misses the mark by its usual wide margin. The path at 1900mm (6 feet) is already below the minimum widths applicable to any type of shared path, and adding obstacles both sides, dangerously tight corners, and limited sight lines, leaves the “safe” design speed here at less than 8km/h. Back to Austroads for their guidance:

It is recommended that paths be designed for a speed of at least 30 km/h

So in the absence of any constraints limiting the curvature or setbacks, the council is happy to have a dangerously narrow and winding path grow over with inappropriate plantings. Its almost as if cycling isn’t actually designed for at all.

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