Respect! on the footpath
Cycling South recently neatly summarised the rules in Tasmania around riding on the footpath. As most of us know, it is legal for people of all ages to cycle on footpaths in Tassie unless there is a specific sign prohibiting it (Rule 250) which is really great.
Riders must keep to the left unless impracticable to do so, and must give way to pedestrians which means the rider must slow down and, if necessary, stop to avoid a collision. Did you know that there is a potential fine if you don't do this? "Penalty: Fine not exceeding 2 penalty units" (i.e. $318 at the moment!!).
Footpath riding is very useful where there is no safe bikelane and: road conditions are intimidating; when riding slowly uphill on a busy road; or travelling in the opposite direction on a one-way street. But due to the narrowness, the poles and the driveway crossovers we often find on footpaths, we need to ride slowly and carefully to avoid all the obstacles.
Remember, unlike on shared paths, people walking on footpaths often don't expect to encounter people on bikes and there is usually less space for passing as footpaths are narrower than shared paths. When approaching from behind remember to give warning that you are about to pass, communicate your intentions (with your bell or by calling) and be prepared to stop in case the person inadvertently steps into your path. Always watch out for a pedestrian suddenly emerging from the gate or a side path.
[Of course it is not good enough to have to share a footpath. We advocate for 1-2-3 i.e. safe separated space for pedestrians, bike riders and cars, just like you'll find all over The Netherlands and Denmark].
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