Cycling DANGER ZONES
Travelling along Spit Road and Military Road in morning peak time, the congested traffic flows intensely along the corridor as commuters rush to get to Sydney CBD.
But in this daily traffic mix, which is being described by many North Shore locals as "potentially lethal for cyclists", cars, buses and cyclists are sharing main roads, with dangerous consequences.
Calls are now growing for cyclists to be banned during peak times along this corridor and also Pacific Highway - despite North Shore councils pushing for more residents to cycle, with planned upgrades to cycleways in the local area.
Mosman councillor Simon Menzies tells North Shore Living, "the roads are a hostile and heavy vehicle environment" and he is calling for a peak cycle ban to be implemented.
"This is a toxic situation and you only have to observe the traffic in the morning rush hour to realise that, sooner or later, fatalities will happen," he says.
Cr Menzies warns that when the new B-Line buses start operating from the peninsula along Spit and Military roads after September this year, cyclists will be further endangered.
He says these hundreds of new buses each day will be taking up the whole left lane way and cyclists will be further squeezed between the curb, the buses, and the cars that travel at high speed.
"There are options for cyclists on both sides of Military Road, through Mosman, Cremorne and Neutral Bay back streets, but many are taking unnecessary risks with their lives on the main highways," Cr Menzies adds.
Pedestrian Council of Australia CEO, Harold Scruby says he would support a ban in peak hours as a safety measure.
"Having cyclists in busy bus lanes is an absolute farce," Mr Scruby warns.
"It's just bloody dangerous and the state government likes to describe the roads as 'shared' areas, but all that means is we don't have the right infrastructure to keep everyone properly separated and safe."
Mr Scruby maintains that "you cannot share the road with a bus if you are riding a bike".
"When the B-Line buses come into operation, it will be a 24-hour operation and a catastrophe for other road users, including cyclists," he states. "The whole system is crazy and unfortunately many cyclists do not obey the road rules and the only people who can enforce the laws are the police."
However, Bicycle NSW communications manager Kim Lavender tells North Shore Living that Mosman, North Sydney and Willoughby councils will continue to promote cycling and the use of local roads.
"Bans are not a solution to the problem," she says.
"Nor will they help increase bike riding participation.
However, investing in bike infrastructure and better education for all drivers, cyclists and pedestrians on how to share the roads and paths will result in a better experience for all road users.
"Cyclists already experience significant barriers, including lack of infrastructure, space on roads and negative publicity. If bans are allowed, there could be an avalanche of ban requests and further confusion between where bikes are and are not allowed."
Bicycle NSW and Bike North - a non-profit community cycling group - believe people on bikes are not the problem, nor the cause of heavy traffic through the area. "It's the high volume of single occupant vehicles that is the problem along these roads/' they say.
Mosman resident and regular Military Road commuter Kerryn Boys says she Is very concerned about the safety of cyclists on Spit and Military roads. "It's extremely dangerous? she tells North Shore Living.
it will be a nightmare when the B-Line buses commence. Everyone Is entitled to use the road safely but this is not safe. The riders are in and out of the traffic and when I am driving in my car, I always make sure I give them a wide berth, but it does make me very nervous when I do pass them? she says.
Cr Menzies says the council is "acutely aware of the dangers of cyclists on the main roads In peak time" and has therefore called on Transport NSW to perform a safety audit ahead of the introduction of the B-Line buses.