As part of my ride today, I decided to revisit the Iron Cove Bridge in order to take some snaps of the location where pedestrian meets bicycle, sometimes with terrible results.
Of all the rides that I do, this is one of the few where I need to dismount and carry my bike up a set of stairs. The other location is the northern end of the Harbour Bridge. Note that up the top of the stairs, someone has thoughtfully installed a sign that says "watch for bikes". Fat lot of use that is, because most pedestrians spend 95% of their time looking at their feet when they walk and climb stairs. Very, very few ever bother to lift their head and look upwards. It's even worse when they are wearing a cap with the visor pulled down low, which obscures even more of their "upward" looking vision. I bet I am the only person to have seen that sign since it was installed. Bio-mechanics and all that ensure that it is outside the normal line of vision.
When you get to the top of the stairs, the bridge is on your right (note the fairly narrow path which is totally unfenced from the heavy road traffic) and Balmain/Rozelle is on your left. The solid concrete walls of the bridge ensure that you have no visibility to the right until you step out onto the path. If a cyclist is coming over the bridge towards you, you have no hope of seeing them until you are standing in front of them - never a good place to be.
This is the view looking up the footpath towards Rozelle/Balmain. Note how much wider it is than the path over the bridge - it funnels in very rapidly to a much narrower path just as you hit the bridge. You can see here how the path curves up to the left, and how the shrubbery on the left can obscure visibility - it's been trimmed back recently, because it normally pokes out a lot more, interfering with sight lines. The wide path encourages the unwary to put their foot down and hoon down through this section.
I walked up the hill a short distance and took this photo looking back at the bridge. Note the incredibly well maintained wooden fence on the right! Where the fence ends is where people pop out when they have climbed the stairs, and that is where the pedestrian in my previous story was knocked down. The dots of spray paint from the investigators are still there, but to my amazement, they were right over on the edge of the road. I thought they'd be on the left, near the stairs. I guess the pedestrians came up the stairs and walked straight across the path to the far edge without looking to their left, which put them right in the path of a bike coming down the hill. If they did that, they're insane.
I went even further up the hill, and then rolled down it to see how fast a bike could go without effort. I hit 30km/h without even a nudge on the pedals, and I didn't go all the way up the hill. It would be really easy to hit 45 or more if you gave the cranks a few turns on the way down the hill. That is also insane - no sensible person goes over the Iron Cove Bridge footpath at over 20km/h. It's a really slow and annoying speed to be going, but it's safe.
I wonder what the crash investigators found, because I found that even when rolling down at 30 km/h, I had plenty of time to brake when I came around the blind bend. Either the cyclist was going mentally fast, or they had the attitude of "you will get out of my way, because I will hit you", or the pedestrians did the "two-step of panic".
The "two-step of panic" is where you are approaching two or more pedestrians, from the front or behind, and they are filling the path from side to side. As you get closer, they finally figure out that they need to make a gap for the approaching bike, so they scatter in all directions.
What usually happens is that the person on the right goes left, and the person on the left goes right, and the person in the middle goes left then right and then left again. In other words, they go from walking forward in a predictable manner where there might be enough of a gap for you to get through to a brainless mob of flapping morons that go this way then that in an completely unpredictable manner, and in so doing so, wipe out whatever gap was there for you to go through.
I have seen another cyclist refer to this as the "inner-west intelligence test", with the comment that many pedestrians fail it completely.
That aside, this really is an engineered crash zone.