Jane Bange, a Mitcham councillor and regular Greens parliamentary candidate in SA and NSW, was today quoted by The Advertiser as advocating for banning cyclists from Old Belair Road

“I would ban bikes, and I think we have the right to do that as a community.”

Elsewhere in the article she claims to be in favour of building a separated path to link the Mitcham Hills with the plains. But we all know talk is cheap with politicians, so how about a look at her actions to see if she's serious about it?

Earlier in the year she voted to scrap the Randell Park path which would have helped mitigate the problems with Old Belair Road. Not only did she vote to scrap it, she was actually the councillor to move the motion!

MOVED Cr Bange

(1) That Administration continues the implementation of the endorsed Randell Park Trail Plan to manage trail use in Randell Park without a sealed commuter trail.

(2) That Administration does not continue to investigate the Randell Park Sealed Commuter Trail Link Concept.

I call on the Greens to either back Bange and confirm that they are now an anti-cycling party, or reprimand Bange and confirm that she has been suspended from the party. If she gets selected to run as a Greens candidate, it can only be interpreted as an endorsement of her policies.

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If you want to let The Greens know what you think.
saoffice@sa.greens.org.au
parnell@parliament.sa.gov.au

Possibly she's just trying to protect Randell Park greenery from the bulldozer's blade. Possibly she just doesn't understand or care about the needs of ordinary people who happen to be cyclists.

If I remember correctly, she also voted against promoting fuel reduction in the run up to summer and enabling it with extra green waste drop-off days. So it could just be that she's the typical Mitcham councillor who ignores anything south of Springbank Road. 

It could also be that she's a heavy advocate of the Greens' infamous pro-marijuana policies of old. 

my reading of this was, she's trying to "ban bikes only from old belair road", or am I wrong?.

To be honest I would agree based upon common sense safety, but as mentioned also, you would expect a decent bike /walking path to be constructed to permit non-car traffic to use the area also.

A lot of other roads lend themselves to a similar situation though:

- Greenhill road ( only safe at 630am in the mornings when traffic is low.) no bike lane or path will ever be constructed here..
- New belair road ( again only good for climbing at 600am)  or take the bike path.


 

Out of interest Dave, you seem to have a good knowledge of these things, are you aware of the legality of such a move on a DPTI road? She may have that opinion but is anyone actually able to act on it, almost certainly not at council level I assume but what about State?

It seems roads which ban cycling are currently restricted to freeways which obviously don't have private properties branching from them and all provide a direct alternative (same start and finish point as the road). Could you imagine if you owned a house on Old Belair road, serviced by a dirt footpath which clearly states "no cycling", how do you cycle to and from your home?

I have been in email contact with Jane Bange over the last couple of years, funnily enough this was a an exert from an email prior to her getting the council seat

"I aim to get onto Mitcham Council where I will do my best for bike riders.  I'll be standing in the by-election caused by Mark Ward's resignation - it's actually my ward!"
Due to another matter she has actually suggested we have a chat when she returns from interstate and I intend to take her up on the offer. I am very unhappy with her proposal, ride down old Belair rd daily and while (like 99% of cyclists) avoid going up it in peak hour do choose to take the direct route on occasions (late at night etc) due to convenience.
Funnily enough her excuse for voting against the Randell trail was removal of trees. If you ride up New Belair road, have a look at how many trees would need to be removed to allow widening, its a staggering number.

Rob, my local council has led decisions for changes to state govt roads.

Dave, I think you are operating on less than full information here.

The first thing to say is that in local government, all political parties have members who stand and win council positions.  That doesn't mean they are party representatives on Council. As far as the Greens go, we don't endorse candidates, we don't fund their campaigns, we don't tell them what to do or say and in turn, those Councillors don't report back to the Party.  They are truly independent. 

I wasn't aware of Jane's comments until I heard her interviewed on 891.  I've attached a transcript below and you can see that her position is far more nuanced than you let on.  I know Jane personally and she is a fine person with a deep and abiding passion for fairer and more sustainable communities including better facilities for cycling.  Here's what she said:

My proposal is to get an alternative, viable bikeway between the hills and the plains.  Once that’s established then look at saying ... you’ve got a way to get up to the hills for cyclists and it’s not appropriate on Old Belair Road.  So it’s not about closing it off to cyclists now, that would be really unfair, but we need to get a safe and achievable bike path in another location.

I also live in the Mitcham Hills and I agree with Jane that Old Belair Road is really problematic for cyclists, especially travelling uphill.  Downhill, an accomplished commuter cyclist is travelling at a similar speed to the cars anyway. I'm a pretty competent cyclist with 50 years experience.  I don't use Old Belair Road.  For my part, I mostly use Shepherds Hill and South Road or even Main Road / New Belair Road because they are safer. 

I don't support banning cyclists from Old Belair Road and wouldn't do so unless there was an equally convenient parallel route that serviced all the same destinations as the road.  My view has always been that the cyclist's trip is just as important and valid as the motorists.  I think that is Jane's point as well.

As for banning two abreast cycling on Old Belair Road, I'd hope it doesn't come to that as common sense should prevail and cyclists struggling along at 10-15kph shouldn't unnecessarily impede other road users for no other reason than that they legally can.

So as for the Greens reprimanding, sacking or otherwise trying to silence a democratically elected local Councillor - it's not going to happen.  Ditto for declaring our party to be anti-cycling.  If you check the Hansard over the last 12 years, you will see which party stands up for cyclists most often.

Mark Parnell MLC, Parliamentary Leader, Greens SA (and convenor, Parliament House Bicycle Users' Group).

- SA Government Media Monitoring Service -

 

RADIO NEWS & TALKBACK PRECIS

 

v

Morning / Lunch Period  (9am–1pm)

(Plus talkback items scanned from last night)

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

 

Jane Bange, Mitcham Councillor [& Callers]   (ABC RADIO ADELAIDE 9.06-9.18)   Push to ban cyclists from Old Belair Road / Proposal for a bikeway between the hills and the plains

 

(Bevan:  Love your thoughts on the issue of bikes up in the Adelaide Hills ... I am something of a weekend warrior when it comes to cycling but it’s mainly off-road, so I’m familiar with some of these roads that we’ll be talking about.  I try to avoid the roads because frankly they’re just so dangerous.  One Mitcham councillor has suggested that we actually ban bikes from using Old Belair Road ... she’s saying not just ban them and leave it at that, maybe we can provide a better facility for cyclists so that they can ride safely on their bit and the motorists can use their roads safely as well.  So maybe a separation of the two would be a good thing to do ... if it applies to Old Belair Road well it must apply to dozens of roads right throughout the Adelaide Hills.  Jane Bange ... joins us now ... can you tell me what exactly is your proposal?) Well I must say I haven’t seen the Messenger article on this, I’m actually interstate at the moment, but I think it’s a very, very dangerous road, Old Belair Road, at the best of times and especially with peak hour.  My proposal is to get an alternative, viable bikeway between the hills and the plains.  Once that’s established then look at saying ... you’ve got a way to get up to the hills for cyclists and it’s not appropriate on Old Belair Road.  So it’s not about closing it off to cyclists now, that would be really unfair, but we need to get a safe and achievable bike path in another location. (Bevan: Old Belair Road would be typical of many roads through the Adelaide Hills though, what do you say are the problems?)Well it’s a very, very busy road ...  busier than Belair Road in my opinion in peak hours because it’s a shorter road; it’s very windy and narrow and unfortunately there isn’t any passing room for cyclists ... cars are held up behind them and people do get impatient unfortunately and then they do sometimes overtake at really bad times and I’m just worried that someone’s actually going to get seriously injured on that road.  (Bevan:  But one of the sillier things that I’ve done is ride up Belair Road – now I get confused with the names.  Belair Road’s the one that goes past Windy Point, isn’t it?)Exactly and it has an incline of about 6%.  Now I can’t do that so ... I take the train back up ... I ride down Belair Road, but Old Belair Road is 13% ... it’s twice as steep in parts, so it’s really difficult for the average commuter to go up there and I think we do need a commuting track for cyclists between the plains and the hills.  I think it’s really, really important.  (Bevan:  Well when I did Old Belair Road I finished it and I thought ‘actually that was one of the sillier things I’ve done’ because not only is it really hard but it’s also really dangerous.  I thought should I really have done that because there’s very little room for a cyclist; you’re up against rock face ... when you’re going up and on the way down of course on the other side is a huge ditch ... I thought ‘really should I have done that’; was it fair to me, was it fair to the motorists who were trying to get around me ... on corners of course if you leave room for the cyclists you’re going to run the risk of going out into oncoming traffic.  So I think that’s the last time I’ll do Belair Road, but you reckon Old Belair Road’s even worse.) Yeah Old Belair Road is really bad.  Belair Road you know if it was a dedicated, separated bikeway I think it could be really, really good ... I think it also has tourist potential.  We were living in Tasmania before we came here and tourist operators would take a mini bus with bikes behind up Mt Wellington and people would cycle down ... I think you could go up to Belair National Park, cycle around there.  People, if they had a safe cycle way, could cycle down Belair Road, stop at Windy Point, have a coffee or something, these are tourists, and then go down you know into the parklands ... it has a lot of potential.  Sure it’s going to be expensive but I have talked with both Martin Hamilton-Smith and Sam Duluk, who are both going to be running for the seat of Waite, which ... covers this area and it was interesting one of Sam’s office workers, Narelle, she is a really, really keen cyclist ... been in the Tour Down Under and she said Belair Road is the one that she would recommend ... if there’s a better way I’d certainly support it but I don’t think there’s anything that doesn’t have steep inclines ... that’s a problem when you’re a commuter ... (Bevan: But would you remove cars from Belair Road?) Oh God no, no, no I think you need to widen the road.  (Bevan: Well how would you widen it because ... this is hard rock face; it would cost an absolute fortune to widen that road.) It would cost a lot but I think you know we need to value people being active on bikes, having a safe way to use cycle ways without having to compete with cars ... to use less cars ... sure it might be you know a lot of money but ... it can be done.  Governments have the money when they want to.  (Bevan: ... just be quite clear Jane Bange, Mitcham Councillor, your proposal is to eventually ban bikes from Old Belair Road but put in a purpose built track on Belair Road through a widening.)Well yes, if someone can give me a feasible bike trail that has reasonable inclines ... there is one that is proposed from Randell Park.  That is too steep ... it’s also through native woodland ... which has you know got stringent conditions ... that’s been one that’s been touted as well, but it’s very steep and I don’t think it’s achievable ... if there’s anything else besides Belair Road I’d support it but I just can’t see there’s anything that doesn’t have steep inclines.  (Bevan: ... getting lots of texts.  One person says, “What about the Lynton bikeway at Belair?” ... that’s for off-road bikes ... people who have road bikes wouldn’t be using the mountain bike track ... another person says, “Look I’m all for sharing the road and more money for cyclists but we’ve got to be realistic about cycling safety in the hills.”  David at Evanston Gardens says, “How about Norton Summit Road?”  He said, “Not only dangerous for bike riders but so frustrating for car drivers.”  Tom has called from Basket Range ... what are you thinking?) (Caller Tom: ... I am a courier, I live at Basket Range on Lobethal Road, so I do that run every single day, twice a day ... I think it should be mandated that it’s single file ... hills zones only ... especially coming up to Tour Down Under we’re getting three, four and five abreast in the massive groups that go through and it’s ridiculous ... amount of cyclists has gone up ridiculously.  Now I’m allowed to break the law when it comes to cyclists – I can cross over a white line legally and endanger the lives of people in cars oncoming and my life and the cyclists’ lives.  Also I would like to point out that the law protects your rights not your life ...  they don’t give way ... I think they should be compelled by law to pull over ...) (Bevan:  Damon from Nairn ...) (Caller Damon:  ... I live up at Nairn and work down Pasadena way, I drive a 4WD, I travel either new Belair Road or Old Belair Road ... even worse for the cyclists is Sheoak Road ... you can’t cross the white line because you can’t see who’s coming.  Sometimes you come around the corner even on the speed limit and you’ve got to lock your car up so you don’t skittle them ... they’re taking their lives into their own hands; they’re just temporary Australians ... it’s just a matter of time ... when you get their own little private pelotons it’s a nightmare all through the hills.) (Bevan: ... Janet from Coromandel Valley ...) (Caller Janet: ... I’d just like to ask Jane, the Lynton bikeway asphalt paved from Goster [phonetic] Avenue all the way down to Lynton train station it’s not well advertised and I think that people would use it if they knew about it ... safe route down ... to the bottom of the hills ... off near Belair Road, so I’m not sure why ... she hasn’t been talking about that ... also too I know Mitcham ... have got that plan down from Burnell [phonetic] Drive down to Randell Reserve ... yes she’s talking about the steepness of gradient is an issue but I think that there would be other alternatives going through that area.  That’s been proposed for a while and I’m wondering why there has been no further work done on that.) (Bevan: ... lots of texts coming in on this.  One person says, “I’ve never agreed with a councillor in my life but Jane is on the money.  I ride at least four times a week in the hills and on the flat and Old Belair Road is a shocker and bikes should be banned ... the Lynton bikeway is for road and mountain bikes but in spots it’s a ridiculous 20% incline.”  Somebody else says, “Yeah the Lynton bikeway is bitumen all the way with mountain bike tracks off each side.”)

 

Christian Haag, Bicycle SA   (ABC RADIO ADELAIDE 9.18-9.22)   Push to ban cyclists from Old Belair Road / Proposal for a bikeway between the hills and the plains

 

(Bevan: Christian Haag ... good morning ... what do you think of Jane Bange’s idea to ban bikes from Old Belair Road but give them an alternative with an expanded Belair Road to get up into the hills?) Yeah, we certainly commend the councillor’s idea for a separated bikeway ... on that particular road corridor.  We know that separated bikeways significantly increase the number of people who ride ... it’s really about those people who currently feel unsafe on the roads.  In terms of banning bikes on the other corridors ... our view is that banning bikes on roads is not practical, it’s not appropriate.  The bicycle is actually legally considered to be a vehicle and while I appreciate that there could be frustrations for motorists there are clearly many in our community who are confident and very safe riders and they actually enjoy the opportunity to ride up steep gradients ... they also don’t particularly have an issue riding within traffic ... we’re looking at a transitional arrangement here; we certainly encourage councils and the State Government to invest in a separated bikeway, but I think from a behavioural point of view what we’ll see is that when you provide that wonderful infrastructure people then make a choice to use it and they generally move away from those environments which are more threatening.  (Bevan:  So Bicycle SA would welcome a separated bike lane on Belair Road but you’d still want the option of using Old Belair Road, you would not accept a ban on Old Belair Road?) Yeah, look I think ultimately when we start banning bikes from roads it ends up being a bit of a slippery slope ... it would be ... unfortunate for the state to promote itself as you know the cycling centre of you know the Southern Hemisphere in terms of the TDU, which is the largest cycling event we have, and then inviting people to come in and cycle in our state and then make it very clear that they’re actually banned from riding on certain roads, particularly those roads which take us up into the scenic hills and also having a riding experience which many people enjoy. (Bevan:  So cyclists should be able to go wherever they want.) Yeah, we say all roads are cycling roads, but ... within five to ten years I think the issue of hierarchal road use is going to come increasingly into play ... the disruption of autonomous vehicles is going to start to redefine how we use our road space. (Bevan: Do you think trucks should be banned from certain roads?) Well we don’t have a view on trucks because isn’t our business but.. (Bevan: No, no but do you think trucks should be banned from certain roads?) Well look I don’t have a Bike SA view but certainly personally view is that trucks you know need to be moving freight and really road environments, road corridors are the primary use of those to move goods around so, you know, I guess the banning of trucks would not be appropriate on the assumption that ... that particular road corridor is going somewhere where a truck needs to go.  (Bevan:  So trucks should go wherever they like too?) If they have to do their business I think that’s absolutely appropriate ... (Bevan:  So you don’t mind what road a truck drives down?) Well again, you know, I’m not the head of the freight industry so I can’t really speak.. (Bevan: No, but you can see where I’m going with this Christian, can’t you?) Lay it out for me David. (Bevan: Well it’s horses for courses, isn’t it?  I mean we’ve got a text from somebody saying “Well look we ban trucks on certain roads because it’s just not practical, so why not ban bicycles on certain roads because it’s just not safe.”) Well you see if the issue here is encouraging people to get on a bike then clearly the investment in say separated infrastructure is really appropriate.  If the discussion we’re having is about road safety then it’s a completely different conversation.  So.. (Bevan:  But that is what we’re talking about, we’re talking about safety.) Okay, well if we are talking about safety then clearly the rules and regulations of the road are really clear.  So I appreciate that motorists and even truck drivers can be frustrated, equally as cyclists can be frustrated ,but ultimately it’s everyone’s responsibility to respect the road environment and all the users on it ... the Government’s recently changed the laws to allow people to cross the white line and I appreciate that that’s required when safe to do so ... (Bevan: Okay, well Christian Haag thank you for your time.  Bicycle SA.  Somebody sent us a text saying, “Well the trucks can’t go on Old Belair Road.”

 

Bill Spragg, Adelaide Hills Mayor [& Callers]   (ABC RADIO ADELAIDE 9.22-9.29)   Push to ban cyclists from Old Belair Road / Proposal for a bikeway between the hills and the plains

 

(Bevan:  Bill Spragg is Adelaide Hills Council Mayor ... do you think there’s some merit in what Jane Bange is proposing in the neighbouring council of Mitcham and does it apply to other councils? I would think that Old Belair Road is typical of many roads in your council area.)Yes, we’ve had people complaining a lot over the years about cyclists on the roads and the issue is of course going up the hills when they travel slowly.  At a recent community meeting I had a person on Norton Summit talk about Norton Summit Road saying ‘could we get a bike lane marked on that?’  Now the issue of course is roads aren’t wide enough but interestingly around Norton Summit the cyclists self-regulate; they don’t use the Old Norton Summit Road because that’s too steep and too dangerous but they do use Norton Summit Road.  Greenhill Road’s another problem for us.  What we’d like is cyclists to stay away from some of these roads at peak hours, but of course they like to get out early in the morning and that often clashes with peak hour. (Bevan:  So you’re happy to not ban things and just leave it up to the cyclists to regulate themselves?) Well it is interesting because cyclists are banned from the freeways and of course with the South East Freeway there is a dedicated bikeway beside it, but of course to put in dedicated bikeways in different locations is a big engineering feat through the hills.  It would be great if we could just widen some of the roads so that we could fit bike lanes on the up tracks ... going down the hills of course they travel at similar speeds to vehicles ... one thing I’d have to remind people is ... the dangers of overtaking bikes, you’re only supposed to do it when it’s safe to do so, but shouldn’t put people’s lives at risk by trying to overtake.  (Bevan: What do you think of ... banning two abreast in the hills?)Oh look I totally agree with that.  Any road that’s got a speed limit of greater than 80km an hour ... they should be required to do single file because we have to leave a metre and a half when it’s a road of 80km or more; it’s a metre at speeds below that.  (Bevan:  Yeah, see a few months ago I was driving with my wife down Shepherds Hill Road, which is a road I’m very familiar with, I’ve ridden down there many, many, many, many times.  There were two people, two women riding two abreast on their bicycles down Shepherds Hills.  It was insane ... because there were parked cars there because the bike lane only exists at certain times, so there’s cars parked in the bike lane and they were moving out two abreast out into the lane that the cars were using ... they were talking ... you can easily do 40, 50k’s an hour, easy going down Shepherds Hill Road on a bicycle and they were riding two abreast ... I thought gee if you want to talk get off your bike, go for a walk or go to a coffee shop; if you want to ride then ride single file.  Anyway.) ... cyclists who are riding two abreast through the hills they often register that there’s a vehicle behind them and they will move into a single file to allow the car to go past.  The real challenge is when you get those little groups, the small pelotons of half a dozen people where if they go into single file of course it stretches them out, so ... one of the biggest problems we have, and also the fact that bikes go both ways through the hills, so you might pull out to pass someone who’s going up a hill only to find there’s a cyclist speeding down the road in the opposite direction that you haven’t been able to see because they’re small and they’re not wearing high vis outfits. (Caller Mike: … I live at Blackwood, I go down Old Belair Road. It shouldn’t be for bicycles … it’s not for large trucks and … it’s all very well for these cyclists to say they’ve got a right but … it’s about time if cyclists want all these things, they want infrastructure, how about registering bikes and people who use them contribute a bit to the cost?) (Bevan: But a bike has got very little wear and tear on the road … ) (Caller Mike: … if we look at the exercise of the Adelaide City Council … spending millions of dollars … it’s not the wear on the road, but if you want special facilities for it, we pay for every other special facility we have … you could build anything down Old Belair Road or anything else with money … you could widen the cliff face … a lot of the way, but it I simply not practical. As somebody who uses that road all the time, it is very, very dangerous particularly because of the incline … even the fittest cyclists wobble all over the road. It is just not practical … we’re so safety aware on other things and yet we’ve somehow turned a blind eye to this … let the user pay.) (Caller Paul: … the freeway bans bicycles, I think the Southern Expressway does too, so there’s two examples where the Government has built roads and banned cyclists from them … I don’t see that Christian’s argument washes terribly well. But my main point was that Old Belair Road is a bottleneck at peak times. Over at Flagstaff Hill we’ve got Flagstaff Road that is a three lane road that swaps one of the lanes at peak hour. I can’t see why engineering could be done, widen Old Belair Road … it would be a shorter length where you’ve got to actually construct a new lane and you could put a bikeway in at the same time and you could therefore alleviate some of the traffic problems and the snarl that backs the traffic up … Belair Road’s too long.)

 

Spence Denny, Roving Reporter   (ABC RADIO ADELAIDE 9.29-9.32)   Push to ban cyclists from Old Belair Road / Proposal for a bikeway between the hills and the plains

 

(Bevan: Spence Denny has been up talking to people in the Belair area … )… I’ve actually done the drive … up the Old Belair Road … and now I’m coming down the new one which is the one that the councillor has proposed might have a bike track on it and I think the callers that you’ve spoken to already who do this road regularly ... technically as you’ve said, to put a bike lane on the Old Belair Road from my rudimentary engineering knowledge would be pretty well impossible. I think we can discount that option … (Bevan: … what about Belair Road?) Well, sections of it you could. Other sections would require significant removal of rock face. And you’ve ridden up here, and to be honest … I was just thrilled to hear when you said that you’ve ridden up here and you thought that was the stupidest thing you’ve ever done … as controversial as this might sound, I actually think it’s selfish of cyclists to go up roads like this, particularly when there’s lots of traffic on the road … why would you put yourself in danger and also ignore the possible effect it’s going to have on somebody driving up? …

 

Hi Mark, thanks for adding to the discussion. I thoroughly agree with your statement:

I don't support banning cyclists from Old Belair Road and wouldn't do so unless there was an equally convenient parallel route that serviced all the same destinations as the road.

I suspect this is were Jane may differ in opinion, I intend to get clarification. Her proposal is a widening of Belair rd as an alternative route. These roads really take people in different directions, especially when going down. For the record I do go out of my way to not ride up Old Belair, but that is my choice and sometimes for various reasons this is not possible.

A convenient parallel route would have been the proposed sealed track that as Dave mentioned she voted against. Without that link there isn't really a comparable alternative.

Rob, if you look at the full transcript at the bottom you will see that the quote about building a separated bikeway first and then closing Belair Rd to cyclists is actually from Jane in the interview.

Yes I'm aware of her proposal for the bikeway next to Belair road and this doesn't provide a comparable alternative to warrnt banning cyclists from Old Belair rd. It turns 2.3km downhill trip into a 5.6km downhill and uphill route with 2 sets of traffic lights. I was referring to the her voting against building the bikeway next to Old Belair road which was presented to council.

Surely the cost of widening Belair Road would be huge compared to the cost of a bikeway through Randell Park. And a Randell Park bikeway would be more practical too. Yet, Councillor Bange voted against this. 

Residents of Mitcham vote her out!

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