Every city with a sizeable cycling population likely has one ride popular amongst the Strava set, the wannabe neo-Pros and resident/visiting elite riders. Here in Brisbane it is, apparently, the Zupps ride, a fast-paced 90km hit out departing the northern suburb of Aspley for Burpengary followed by a loop of the Redcliffe peninsula, before returning, via Nundah, to the starting point at the car dealership from which the ride takes its name.
The numbers participating in the ride vary depending on weather conditions (regardless, the ride still will take place every Sunday from 6.30am) or if regular riders are otherwise engaged in a real race somewhere else in southeast Queensland. Several years ago I took part in a number of Zupps rides with up to 100 other cyclists. Yesterday, at about 7.10am, whilst on the train to work I saw a bunch of about twenty riding north on Narangba Road passing the Dakabin rail station. From the speed they were going it can only have been Zupps, despite the route being popular among other bunches in the area.
The etiquette of the riders has been called into question on many occasions before. Previously I have criticised the attitude of the ride leaders and some others in the bunch towards compliance with the state road rules; apparently, red traffic lights on busy Gympie Road through Strathpine and Lawnton do not apply to cyclists before 7am!
Yet, despite the call by Queensland cyclists for respect, consideration and tolerance by drivers and the recent enactment of a minimum passing distance to provide an appropriate safety barrier between bicycles and motorised vehicles, there are some who, by their flagrant inability to ride safely and within the law, damage the reputation of those who do not take part in the ride and so do nothing to promote the hobby/sport.
This was never more obvious than at about 8.30am on Sunday at the intersection of Barclay Street and Adams Street in Deagon. Having received numerous complaints over several months of poor riding behaviour in the locality on Sunday mornings as well as generally poor driving behaviour by some motorists towards cyclists, particularly with regard to the safe passing distance legislation, officers of the Queensland Police Road Policing Task Force deployed on an operation to monitor and target errant cyclists and motorists. Knowing well the locations cyclists would be likely to break the road rules, the officers attended and observed in this instance numerous cyclists in the Zupps bunch ride straight through the intersection without complying with the visible stop sign and stop line.
Well done. Now not only do many motorists think cyclists wilfully flout the law but so do the police and we can be sure of an increased police interest in the area in the months to come.
The non-compliance with the recognised law on this raised some discussion Australia-wide on what is and what is not required to avoid falling foul of the law with there being some confusion as to whether the Queensland Government had agreed to the trial/ implementation of the “Idaho Stop” rule, effectively permitting cyclists, and only cyclists, to treat “stop signs” as “give way” signs. Proposed in the recent review of cycling law (which heralded the 1m rule) the motion was discarded as it would treat motorists different to cyclists, particularly at a time when cyclists were seeking a higher degree of equality with motorists.
In essence, the existing law remains the same: cyclists (and motorists) are required to come to a complete stop before crossing the stop line and then proceed if/when the road is clear for them to do so. Contrary to what some cyclists believe there is nothing in the Queensland Road Rules which requires ANY VEHICLE to stop at a stop sign for a prescribed time before proceeding. Likewise there is NO REQUIREMENT for cyclists (or motorcyclists) to place at least one foot on the ground whilst stopped.
Different states have different interpretations on this but in Queensland, to avoid copping a fine, you only need to stop before the stop line. Nevertheless, at least one Facebook discussion on this incident generated numerous comments from misinformed locals and interstate migrants alike indicating a poor knowledge and worse interpretation of the law on this matter.
One local cyclist, during the discourse and chastisement of myself (who unbeknownst it him has a higher than average knowledge of the road rules), proudly declared his cycling pedigree and imparted his and his ancestors’ opinion that stopping at stop signs is an unsafe practice.
I’ll wager it’s safer than blowing through such an intersection in a bunch (or by yourself) and ending up as a bonnet adornment of the P-plate Commodore speeding in the street you are entering.
Your call mate…