Heavy Transport route and bike lane

Hi Port Adelaide Bicycle User Group,

You commented, “From an Active Transport p.o.v there are many problems with sharing roads on a daily (and sometimes 24 hour) basis with commuter traffic and heavy freight vehicles.”

I would like to share the following comments and observations with you. Several years ago a “heavy freight bypass route” was put in place so that heavy vehicles would bypass Port Adelaide and also not travel over the Birkenhead Bridge. This bypass has brought about obvious benefits in reducing heavy vehicle movements within Port Adelaide and also lessened the burden on the Birkenhead Bridge which has shown increased signs of decay and fragility in recent years.

As with most good things however, there has also been a downside, in this instance increased opportunities of conflict between heavy freight vehicles and cyclists, who are some of the most vulnerable of all road users.

The intersection of Bower Road and Old Port Road, shown in (figure 1) below, is an area where cyclists need to exercise extreme caution.

Figure 1: Intersection of Bower Road and Old Port Road, West Lakes. (source: Nearmaps)

Last Friday a heavy freight vehicle (semi-trailer style separate cabin with tanker trailer) was at the stop line in the northern turning lane awaiting the green turn right priority arrow, I was situated immediately adjacent the front of this vehicle (to the north) also waiting to turn right. When the green arrow appeared the traffic waiting to turn right commenced turning, as I was adjacent the front of the heavy freight vehicle on my bicycle I also commenced turning, but rather than continue the turn into the marked bicycle lane, I paused and allowed the heavy vehicle to proceed in front of me. It was with a real sense of horror that I then witnessed the heavy vehicle’s front passenger wheel proceed through the bicycle lane. I am not sure what instinct of self-preservation caused me to pause rather than complete my turn into the marked bike lane, but I would most likely have been seriously injured or killed if I had have completed the turn without pausing.

Reflecting on the circumstances I realize that there are many examples where bicycle lane markings are quickly worn away from the road, most notably at corners and bends. This indicates substantial traffic straying outside of their marked lane and trespassing within the bicycle lane. Perhaps often this practice is of little consequence, but in the instance recounted above, the consequences would have likely been catastrophic for me.

So, be wary when cycling within these types of intersections, particularly if you have been unable to make eye contact with other road users who may sever your swept path with disastrous effect.

Regards, Dave

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