Cycling in Sydney Australia
I have been thinking about writing something like this post for a while and have been mulling over this issue for the past week. There is a site called www.crapcyclelanesofcroydon.blogspot.com/, it details some of the dodgey cycling facilities in the Croydon area of London. It is a favourite of mine. The web site spawned other websites detailing facilities which were well intentioned but dangerous and ultimately became a book titled "Crap Cycle Lanes 50 worst cycle lanes in Britain" with the royalties going to the Cycling Defence fund.
I have found an Australian equivilant to some of the engineering "master pieces" presented in the websites and books. In my area there is a stretch of the Princes Highway footpath which has been designated a shared path. On this stretch there is two large bus shelters which take up about 50% of the footpath. Behind one there is a well worn rut in the ground, where cyclists have gone around the bus shelter. At the other they don't have such a luxurary. Both bus shelters have the usual smashable glass panneling - which in the case of the rut has left some glass in the ground behind it. I have also cycled on "shared" paths that should barely rate a mention as a footpath let alone a cycle path. In some cases this has lead to pedestrian cyclist conflict. This conflict has lead Rockdale council to re-route the shared section of the cyclepath away from the beach side. While I am not particulary fussed about this as I do not feel secure riding on the loose sand blown on to the path by the wind, Rockdale council has routed the path through the carparks. The path is still shared, so while pedestrians get to enjoy the seaside views cyclists still have to share the "path" with pedestrians and now cars and four wheel drives. In their defence Rockdale council has signs stating that the path is a "low speed" shared path and as such I use this stage of the ride to and from Kurnell as a chance to warm up or down. Given that the area is popular with pedestrians and other cyclists I am looking at getting my air horn mounted given that the "ding ding" doesn't alert some pedestrians as much as the air horn does.
Having visited Adelaide and found a path near the University of Adelaide where cyclists and pedestrians are separated by lanes with signs stating pedestrians must not walk along the lanes designated for cyclists, instead of the "Cyclists to Give Way to Pedestrians" as exists in Sydney; I am lead to wonder could something like that work here? Having attended "Creating a Great Pedestrian City" on the 11th of September last year I am hopeful that the City Of Sydney's "Sydney CBD Public Life and Public Spaces Survey" may bring better cycle lane facilities to Sydney. However it appears that the NRMA and the Daily Telegraph are getting together to oppose the plan. Reasons for opposition to the plan range from "imposing cycleways on major arterial roads and worsening traffic congestion in the process simply does not make sense" in the NRMA's case to outright contempt for the concept and the Mayor who commissioned the plan as demonstrated in the comments made by Paul Pottinger in the Daily Telegraph's Cars Guide blog. I am begining to think that the debate about safer pedestrian and cycling facilities is going to become hijacked by the motoring interest groups who and the subsequent "compromise" solutions will result in more dodgey cycling infastructure symtomatic of a car-orientated society. What do Sydney Cyclists have to do to get a safe place to ride?