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Journeys : Jun Jul 2012
Travelling on Robyn Marshall-Jung wins a $50 travel voucher for her letter about Tasmanian devil leaflets in hire cars. We welcome letters on any motoring or travel-related topic. Keep them brief – we reserve the right to edit. Contact us by post or email and please include your postal address. Email the editor at email@example.com In our community Pedallers in precarious positions As an avid reader of your magazine I always look forward to the news and comments dealing with traffic rules, so it came as no surprise to see the latest news about the above-mentioned roundabout. Having read it more than once I still could not understand who could dream this up. How is it possible to suggest that a bike rider sits on his bike looking sideways or even backwards to ensure that a vehicle wants to exit the roundabout in front of his bike! Even if he/she did so, would it also mean that the bike rider would have to give way to traffic in that side road enter ing the roundabout? How long would the bike rider be expected to remain in the stationary position in the green lane knowing that the number of vehicles may continue for some time? A precarious position! What if there is more than one bike in a queue? I resorted to looking on the internet and searching for information on obtaining a driving licence in countries where bikes are more plentiful and regarded as traffic, not as some sort of sport equipment or road nuisance. What a surprise (not to me) that bike riders have the same rules as drivers of motor vehicles with the exception of ‘competition’ from trams. So traffic entering a roundabout gives way to any traffic on the roundabout, irrespective if it is a bike or motor vehicle. Bike riders must also signal when turning left on exit, no signals if continuing around the circle. They could be asked to give a right hand signal in the latter case if this was considered helpful. It still surprises me that someone can make rules more complicated than needed. There is still time to avoid this roundabout getting a bad name for accidents and I am convinced that the road users do not wish to turn this roundabout into a three-r inged circus with the already built-in unusual exit roads that now exist. We have not even dealt with scooters for handicapped and the absence of footpaths to homes and businesses! Bynow there have been a couple of close calls on this circus. The green paint showing the bike lane is rapidly disappearing as well as giving wrong directions and one white arrow on the ground had to be blackened as it forced everyone to keep going in circles if you obeyed the law. Same w ith solid white lines that should not be crossed So, where to from here? C van den Hoff Kingston A mandate of responsibility A s a motorist, I hate cyclists, who state their kamika ze attitude by riding several abreast on double white-lined arteries, in defiance of a nation’s time-table, with seeming indifference and unbearable selfishness. And as a cyclist, I hate motorists. Remarkable as our R ACT magazine is for its high standards, the more striking is the lapse regarding cyclists on the road, where there is less enthusiasm expressed towards the principles of ‘share the road safely’ than there is for safety in Porsches, Getzes and roadside fur niture. Cyclists stand the most likely chance of sustaining injuries that produce life-long misery and incapacity. As a motorist, I simply do not know how to ‘maximise my minimising’ the trauma, to both cyclist and motorist. And vice versa, when I am a cyclist. Consider, for instance, the obligatory training given to lear ner dr ivers regarding cyclists – none at all. And then consider the training given to the cyclist – minus none! In brief, the ideal duty of care would include barr iers to separate motorists from pedallers; obligatory training for both groups; ‘greening up’ by ‘carring down’; and primar ily, a mandate of responsibility in all those who take to the road. Oliver Koefman Huonville The right tyres for the right road Among the issues I have is the incessant advertising of low-traction, hard-wearing ty res for light four wheel drives. My entire family was almost killed by this problem and my son was permanently brain injured. When asked for details of traction qualities for these ty res, sellers eventually admit ‘these are light truck tyres’. That only lets them out of honest statements in respect of poor road-holding on wet bitumen. Many of these tyres use aggressive tread patterns and hard rubber combinations that do not belong on dry bitumen roads, let alone wet ones. Rex McCarthy Darren Moody writes: A tyre with a high wear-rating (longer life) will have trade-offs in grip and handling, including lower traction. The wear-rating is displayed as a number – the higher the number, the harder the tyre. The traction and temperature are displayed as letters. So the rating might be 450 tread wear, with traction and temperature at A and A. In the case of a longer-wearing tyre, say 720, the likely traction rating is going to be C, offering decreased grip and poorer handling characteristics. Traction ratings are A A for high performance-type tyres, down to C. The trick is finding a balance between tread wear and traction. Traction and temperature resistance ratings are specific performance levels, while tread wear ratings are assigned by manufacturers following tests conducted and are reliable when comparing tyres of the same brand. The tread wear grade indicates the wear-rate of a tyre and is a comparative rating based on tests conducted by tyre manufacturers. The grades are not an indication of actual mileage, but can be used as a relative comparison. For example, a grading of 400 should last twice as long as a tyre graded 200, given similar driving conditions in the same brand. June / July 2012 13
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