Cycling in Sydney Australia
I often take pictures or think of possible blog posts as I ride along, but often they turn out not to really be worth a whole article. So here are a few tidbits and odds and ends from the past few months that I thought about; sorry most of them are not very topical.
One of the problems with the City of Sydney’s excellent new bike lanes is the traffic lights at each junction. They just never seem to go green, as the sensors (designed for cars) just don’t work for bikes. The RTA (who owns them) blames the City of Sydney, which I think it a bit odd. They put them in, so surely they should take responsibility for making them work properly? Anyway, some very professional laminated A4 signs have gone up on some lamp posts to tell cyclists what to do – position your bike right on the centre of the sensor, where the dots are. Unfortunately, the centre of the sensor is in the middle of the lane, and most cyclists like to wait on the left, so they can rest their foot on the curb, as you can see from the picture. The upshot of all of this is the lights often fail to go green, meaning cyclists go through on red, to undoubted cries of ‘scofflaw!’.
The picture on the left is what people who drive to work have to endure. Trapped in their cars on a beautiful spring day. The picture on the right is what I enjoyed on my bike – the shadow of the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge projected onto the water by the morning sun. Lovely.
This rather intriguing object was chained up outside a cafe in Sydney recently. It is a bike shape cut out from perspex. Upon closer inspection it turned out to be advertising NRMA home insurance. Personally I wouldn’t recommend the NRMA; they are very anti-bike, and famous for stunts like this one.
Burns Bay Road in Lane Cove used to have a horrible door-zone bike lane in it, but recently I rode along it and found it had been removed. Wonderful! It was truly much more pleasant to ride along; I could ride at a safe distance form the parked cars and uneven surface, and passing vehicles gave me space. Unfortunately it was only temporary, and it has now been reinstated, albeit about six inches wider. Sorry Lane Cove Council, it’s no better; that horrible lip in the road surface just where you might ride is a hazard; and indeed this type of bike facility has been implicated in at least one recent tragic fatality. To stay safe and clear of opening car doors you have to ride to the right of the line, but this frustrates passing motorists who pass too close to try and force you into the ‘bike lane’. Just take away these horrible things; honestly it’s more pleasant and safer without them.
These rather odd bike racks have sprung up in Balmain. I think the idea is that they turn a regular lamp post into a cool bike parking station. However, I can’t help feeling that there’s no real advantage compared to just locking your bike to the post.
PS There is a special prize for anyone who gets the reference in the title to this post…