Sunday, 15 February 2009

What sort of loonies ride in the rain?

The radar picture for Sydney was not as green as yesterday - with the green being rain. It rained all day yesterday - a constant "English" drizzle that varied between "I won't bother with an umbrella" to "where are my gumboots?"

I took advantage of a gap in the rain to go for an hour-long spin this morning, which is pathetic, but the best I could do.

Another picture of the bike path construction works on The Bay in Drummoyne. One lane of the road has been closed for 2-3 weeks now, and it looks like it will be closed for another month at least. When talking about the costs of building these paths, I forgot to include the cost of a donga for a site office and the rental of portable dunnies.

Those yellow caps, which look like flowers, are plastic caps on the top of reinforcing bars that will form support pylons for the new bike path. I didn't count the number of pylons, but I'd guess they must be pouring at least 50 of them.

Here's a warning sign telling drivers not to park their car on the bike path - the graphic shows how the path is jacked out over the cliff at this point.

If I had been going just a bit slower, I could have taken a photo showing how the path is jacked out over the "cliff" at this point, and supported on pylons - but I was going too quick, and took a pathetic photo. If you look under the path where it curves, you can see that there's nothing there.

The next few photos show how the path has been extended in stages. This is the easiest stage, where the land is flat and there was plenty of verge to build a wide path on. Notice how the combined pedestrian/bike path is easily as wide as a car lane in toto. On a sunny day, these paths are crowded - you need a path that wide to accomodate the hordes of people that exercise around here.

One stage joins onto another - for some reason, the design changed between one stage and another, and we go from a pink path for pedestrians and asphalt for bikes to asphalt for both. I like the different colours - it makes it easier for most people to figure out that one path is for one mode and one path is for another mode. Except that a small percentage of the population are complete morons, and it never passes their tiny little minds that if they are on a bike they should stick to the bike path and if they walking then they should stick to the walking path.

Interlude - I spotted this rowing eight seemingly adrift in the Bay - except that it turned out to be moored. I've never seen a rowing shell moored in open water - you either put them on trestles on the beach, or you row them. You don't park them in the water like a sail boat.

Yet another stage of the path. This time, the designers decided to separate the bike and pedestrian paths with a nature strip. Again, most people are sensible enough to realise that the paths are separated because each one is for a different function or mode - one for two wheels, and one for two feet. However, as usual, there are morons that don't get it, or they just decide to ignore social convention, and be a pain in the arse for everyone else - cyclists and pedestrians alike.

Yet another stage - here the separate paths join into a single mixed-mode pink path. I hate this bit of path - the mangrove trees on the left block visibility and hang over the path, potentially whacking anyone walking or riding on the left in the face, and it's too narrow to pass two people walking abreast - and I'm not just talking about cyclists passing pedestrians - I am talking about joggers passing pedestrians or dog walkers (the dog counting as a second person) or fast moving walkers trying to get past dawdling pram pushers. The faster pedestrians often hop onto the road, without looking behind them, and come close to getting cleaned up by cars tearing around the corner.

Another interlude - notice the bus. This is the only one I saw this morning that was not plastered with a big sign saying something like, "This is a clean, green bus that is contributing to reducing climate change". Whatever.

The message was pretty clear - if you care about climate change, you should be riding on this bus.

However, how many people do you reckon have made the switch from cars to buses because they want to cut their CO2 output? Would I be wrong if I attempted to count all of them on one hand? Out of the millions of car drivers in NSW, have any made the switch to buses because of that slogan?

I hate this kind of feel-good pap. People are exhorted to make the change, but none ever do. If people really cared about climate change - I mean if they really, really cared, they'd be pouring onto the buses in record numbers. Yes, bus passenger numbers swelled late last year, but that was because of increasing petrol prices. I'll be interested to see if passenger numbers have stayed up following the higher petrol prices, or whether they have since fallen back.

I'm sure this sort of bus slogan makes some people feel good, but it shits me to tears.

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