Hyde Park bike barriers a ‘hazard’

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• Ian Ker says new barricades are yesterday’s thinking. Photo by Matthew Dwyer

NEW bike barriers intended to slow down cyclists in Hyde Park are little more than hazardous barricades says veteran pedaller Ian Ker.

The former Vincent councillor headed the teams that developed the Perth bikeplan of 1985 and the Bike Ahead Strategy in 1996, and says these kinds of barriers reflect outdated thinking.

The world’s moved on to “increased recognition of the need to provide access for all—but not, it seems, in the City of Vincent” he says.

“To control a few rogue cyclists, the City of Vincent has created impediments and hazards for all park users.

Peak

“I wonder if anyone has considered, for example, how these paths are supposed to function at times of peak usage such as the Hyde Park Fair.”

Mr Ker also reckons the barriers have been installed far too close so any rider who’s not a keen BMXer will have to dismount. Riding’s not illegal in Hyde Park, and he’s sceptical of the scale of “problem” riders.

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They’re also pretty ineffective since anyone who does want to speed can simply ride around them (those with keen eyes will see trackmarks in the dirt): these kinds of barriers are most effective on bridges where they can’t be bypassed.

Mr Ker says people in wheelchairs or gophers will also find them extremely difficult to negotiate, and they’re at just the right height to give youngsters on trikes a whack on the noggin.

Three of the four barriers have entry on the right of the path, ignoring established convention—and now-legal requirement—for cyclists to keep left.

When the Voice was down there we spotted Vincent’s affable technical services director Rick Lotznicker measuring the distance from the barriers with a tape measure.

After he got back to the office with the results, CEO Len Kosova told us a couple of minor changes would be made.

“We measured the chicanes,” he says, “the gap between the chicanes is approx 1.45m which complies with the standards (absolute minimum 1.2m).”

The most troublesome obstacle near Norfolk Street will have one barrier removed and another moved back 1.45m to make it smoother to get through.

Mr Ker says “just because there is a ‘standard’ doesn’t mean it is right or even appropriate in every situation”.

The barriers cost about $10,000 to install, and only Cr Josh Topelberg opposed them going in.

by DAVID BELL

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