Cycling in Sydney Australia
Beware my sister was issued with an 'official' warning for riding on the pedestrianised area of The Hub in Newtown this morning. Now this is a popular and safe way to get from or to Bedford St from Wilson St or Australia St for cyclists and really should become a shared path, especially given there are a row of bike racks smack bang in the middle and it is a large and wide area.
Apparently pedestrians are being ‘hit.’ Though I have seen cyclists be less than overly careful around people here I don’t regularly see dangerous behaviour but perhaps those of us travelling in this section can be extra mindful of not scaring anyone into making an over exaggerated complaint to the authorities resulting in police being stationed at The Hub to ‘warn’ cyclists coming through!
(The fact that my sister arrived to her work and found a pedestrian had been hit by a van put things in perspective).
How would they like us to get from the end of Bedford St to the start of Wilson St?
That whole connection hub is terrible. Getting on and off Wilson Street is already dangerous with the abrupt stop to the contraflow lane and the lack of signage or lights for cyclists at that point, having to merge with traffic to get on to Wilson St from King St... and they are now going to fine people for using that 50m stretch of wide footpath which provides part of a safe connection?
Apparently - though I suspect it is a short term measure to appease a noisy complainer. I am critical of cyclists not being courteous to pedestrians but the vast vast majority I see every day here at this spot are very considerate.
Of course Bedford St - though the most popular cycle route from Liberty St up to Newtown is NOT the designated cycle route. The council last year painted all those green lanes up a much hillier and less direct route up Trade St and winding its way through Newtown park and then against traffic with now bike lane passed the Newtown Post Office! Of course barely anyone uses that route.
Mary St has a counterflow lane, but what about that little bit of Erskinville Rd from the PO down to Wilson St? It didn't have anything for bikes last time I looked, so there would still be a gap.
Pretty silly hassling people for riding on a footopath when we have govt sponsored debacles like Pyrmont Bridge.
Don't get me started on Pyrmont Bridge!
They pay two people to stand on the bridge waving orange sticks - I've been cycling Pyrmont Bridge almost every day for 14 years and have never seen a bike/pedestrian accident, despite the very poor design. It really wouldn't take much beyond painting a green "bike only" lane down the middle to help keep everyone out of each others way.
Amen to that, I cycle it everyday as well. Painting that little bike lane would cost less than paying those two bored chaps who do Sweet FA anyway.
Thank god I'm not the only one who finds those rangers' presence exceedingly condescending!
Their presence waving the batons while engaging in zero pedestrian education (keeping peds off the non-shared cycleway Murray-Union) also gives the impression that cyclists need policing and are bad and peds only need protecting and are good.
I actually stopped and had a conversation with one of the rangers and asked why they are not instructed to do pedestrian education and he gave me a bunch of disingenuous rot. I had something thrown (hard) at me while on the Union St cycleway a couple of weeks ago - no rangers there!! Pyrmont is by far the least pleasant part of my commute and it seems like CoS are trying to cause the cycleways' failure there.
Agree, the ranger thing is silly. Don't agree that CoS are trying to cause cycleway failure, rather that they are listening to lawyers (sorry!) rather than good sense.
I agree with Andrew, a painted lane would be another motorway effect. Better to persuade people to share nicely. I suppose that's what the rangers are meant to be doing, but it just isn't the right approach. Maybe CoS would be amenable to some educational suggestions. Hey if that costs less than the rangers they might be highly amenable.
Traffic analysis would determine whether a bridge duplication is really necessary. I think not, there's plenty of space. Possibly a clever design would work. Maybe even a project for a student of one of the design institutions in Sydney.
There are several options, IMHO.
1. Cantilever a cycleway off the north side of Pyrmont Bridge.
2. Cantilever a cycleway off the side of the monorail
3. Convert the monorail to a cycleway and make it actually useful.
I don't mind the rangers. I give them a cheery 'good morning' each day, and they usually smile and say good morning back.
But then I am usually the slowest cyclist on the bridge. Say what you like about the rangers and the peds, but there are too many cyclists going too fast on that bridge. It's not a path (like Anzac Bridge) where peds walk in one direction and are directed to keep to one side. It's a pedestrian precinct where people want to meander and enjoy the views. For the sake of an extra minute's commuting time why not just accept that, and ride in such a way that allows for random pedestrians walking in front of you?
I also say good morning to them :)
Your comment that is is a precinct, not a path, is bang on the money - the most dangerous thing about it is the unpredictability of movement. On the path between the Pyrmont Bridge and King St, you may get stuck behind pedestrians if it is busy, but at least you know exactly where they are going. With the Pyrmont Bridge you often have people randomly stopping, moving laterally from one side of the bridge to the other...
But, rather than just accept this fact, I think there ought to be a solution which allow for efficient cycling and safe walking. It is easy to say "people should just slow down and ride conservatively", but if that actually worked we wouldn't need shared paths or cycleways on roads or anything like that. The infrastructure exists because it has been demonstrated as unrealistic to expect motorists, cyclists and pedestrians to be able to share the same spaces with an acceptable amount of safety.if the only safeguard to that safety is an expectation that people will take the responsibility and care required.
It would not be difficult or expensive to make a strip through the centre of the Bridge as a cyclists area. I think it would make the bridge safer for both pedestrians and cyclists. I disagree that it would do nothing - it would take some adjustment, but pedestrians would get it - it took a while for people to get the hang of Kent St, but that is noticeably better recently. It is unrealistic to expect another bridge to be built across Darling Harbour, so I think if we are going to do something (and I think we should), we should be pushing for something that is achievable, inexpensive, quick to complete and would be more effective than the current situation.