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Cyclists on the Narrabeen Lagoon Trail

Rob's picture

By Rob - Posted on 11 February 2014

We received this letter from the Mayor of Warringah last night.

Please note the Mayor's concerns and remember to always be courteous to other trail users. I have updated the General Trail Etiquette page as is suggested.

Dear Mountain Bikers

Cyclists on the Narrabeen Lagoon Trail

I have recently had several residents raise with me their concerns regarding the behaviour of some cyclists on the track around Narrabeen Lagoon. Their main concerns seem to be the speed at which the cyclists are travelling and the lack of warning by cyclists as they approach walkers and joggers.

I realise multi-use trails can raise complex issues and require considerate behaviour from all parties involved. I also understand cyclists can reach quite high speeds and this can be particularly frightening for the elderly and children if they are unaware a cyclist is approaching.

I am therefore writing to cyclists' groups in the area to ask that you raise this issue with your members and fellow riders to see if they might have any suggested solutions to this problem. It would be good to get the dialogue going now as the trail will no doubt become increasingly popular especially when the bridge is constructed over Deep Creek and the link is completed.

I very much look forward to hearing from you and would be happy to meet with cycling groups in the area to discuss this further. It was great to see that NobMob has already gone a long way towards promoting courteous behaviour on trails with your "Etiquette" pages on your web site. Maybe you could consider expanding this information to include mention of walkers and joggers on shared trails?

Yours sincerely

Michael Regan
Mayor of Warringah

Black Flash's picture

Firstly, I am a cyclist. I might be a pretty crap one in some peoples eyes, but none the less I enjoy riding.
I am also a father of 2 "smaller" cyclists, and am working on creating a cyclist out of my wife.

The narrabeen trail, soon to be loop, is where most of our cruise family rides take place, I've taught my girls to ring their bike bells when approaching from behind and to say hi, and thank you to everyone that we ride past. Which on most days, is a lot of people. But thats fine because you expect that when you have a great path around such a beautiful area.

More to the point. Narrabeen lake is not a race track. And I echo the concerns of the mayor and whomever else has taken umbridge to most likely a small number of hot lap heros. Granted, most of the members here would shows common sense and keep their cycling speed to an "acceptable" level pending the conditions/level of traffic etc.

In my experience it has been the casual singlet and thongs rider, often helmet less, often plugged into their iPod, belting along with fragrant disregard to ALL other users.

It's not about saying, "hey, you're being a dickhead" , but more about educating some of these riders on the ramifications if it goes pear shaped, if it hasn't already. So f you know someone that might be a "culprit", reach out to them with some alternative places to ride fast, and that narrabeen lake probably isn't the best place to v max your retro cruiser or bunky huffy.

Only my 2c.

Flynny's picture

This can come down to perception too. To a cyclist you are travelling along at a reasonable speed, well in control of your bike. You pass a walker or jogger at what you deem to be a safe distance.

The unsuspecting walker/jogger has their ear phones in or head down, contemplating life and suddenly a shaddow whizzes by shocking them.

No one was put in danger. No one was speeding. But someone got a shock so there perception is out of whack.

The answer here is communication and respect.

Call out a freindly "I'm just coming past on you right" or something. Follow it up with "Good day to be out for a bit of exercise" as you go on by.

Once or twice I have found even that friendly greeting/warn has made a walker jump. To which I apologise, "Sorry about that, didn't mean to startle you." to which I've gotten a sheepish "you're right I wasn't paying attention"

Communication and respect. It aint hard
Have a conversation. you might just convert these heavens to a more rightous mode of transport.

Grand Poobah Flynny, out

VTSS350's picture

I agree with the comments above. Its not a race track and we should be careful, BUT

There are a lot of walkers that wear earphones listing to music. They can never hear you coming and you have to yell at them to get them to hear you.

There seem to be a lot of walkers interested in their feet. If they actually looked up while they walked they wouldn't be so surprised.

If both walkers and cyclist are sensible then there shouldn't be any problems!

hawkeye's picture

I ride a few shared paths on my commutes to and from work. The ones that stand out are the one along Burnt Bridge Creek Deviation, the top of Parriwi Road alont Spit Road, and on the trip home, through St Leonards Park.

Burnt Bridge peds are on the whole pretty good. They stay on the correct side of the line, expect to see cyclists passing, and return greetings. Smiling

On the others the behaviour he describes is unfortunately common. So, given that this is apparently normal sheep pedestrian behaviour, the onus is on us as the more situationally aware citizens to exercise restraint and consideration.

Would be nice though if the call for consideration could go both ways. Groups spread across the whole path is not good form IMO and unfortunately I've encountered a few Jobsworths over the years who've used that as an excuse to be obnoxious and not allow room to pass.

It's a pity common sense, consideration and graciousness apparently have to be legislated. Sad

rossco_'s picture

If u are cycling at 20kmh and see someone walking 10 meter away, it takes only 2 seconds before run over him. Within 2 sec, also need to consider his reaction time, your reaction time plus buffer and maybe braking time, etc.

Anyway, i would keep at least 2 second distance in shared path.

GiantNut's picture

Should put a bell on my bike - anyone know if you can get one made of carbon fibre?

obmal's picture

Yes people ride too fast..
lets just put some big speed signs up, install some speed cameras, perhaps double demerit systems and media flood us with graphic imagery, sell bikes in boxes with gory pictures plastered all over them and post bills on all busses with catchy jargon like "don't die for a deadline", "26in bikes are so last year", "how fast are you going now" and some anti bike hoon messaging just like that cute girl holding up her little pinky?

Failing all that; perhaps just a please slow down sign or two may help?

mikethebike's picture

Riders slow down....WALKERS KEEP LEFT!

Narralakes's picture

there are signs that ask for riders to ring a bell if approaching walkers, but how many riders have them on their bikes? I have one on my 2nd bike because I ride there often with the kids, it helps to ring a bell to warn others. As others have said, its not a race track and there are plenty of trails nearby to get that speed fix. We need to be more thoughtful of others as i imagine crashing into a little kid is the last thing anyone wants.

bobozzie's picture

I use this trail regularly, for 98% of it there is rarely if any problem with pedestrians keeping to one side and allowing cyclists to pass.

The one section where there is an almost always a problem is Berry Reserve (NE section of trail -33.713538,151.296404), between the fenced off childrens play area and the Kayak Rental shop.

There are a lot of parents with young children, walkers with dogs, tourists, etc that more often than not are preoccupied talking to each other, on the mobile, or otherwise distracted.

Slowing down to a crawl, ringing of bells, shouting out, nothing seems to get their attention.

Promoting courteous behaviour sounds wonderful, but this needs to be practiced by all users of the path, not just cyclists.

Many of these walkers are either unaware or do not allow for cyclists, joggers, or other people to also use this path. These are the ones who are often surprised and indignant when you try to pass.

There may be room for an engineering solution, providing a childrens mini-cycling track in the area adjacent to the kids play area where they can wobble around, and mums can push their prams.

There is already some signage about keeping left and shared trail, but it is limited, and much of it is worn away.

Another option may be to provide a bypass route for cycles on this section.

In the meantime, I'll keep ringing my bell, slowing down, and being completely ignored.

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