Saturday, 9 May 2009

What a bunch of useless tossers

From the SMH yesterday:

Cyclists see red as bike path makes light of journey

To start with, that is one of the stupidest plays on words I have ever seen to illustrate a story. Those that manufacture headlines sometimes try to be too clever by half.

IT WAS trumpeted by the City of Sydney as an historic first step toward a network of bike paths across the inner city but, so far, the King Street cycleway has produced frustration, not transformation.
It's in its first week of operation. Teething problems are to be expected. But then again, we are talking about the RTA, which is the Mother of All Fuckups.

Every morning dozens of cyclists are banking up at the Sussex Street entry to the path and then facing a stop-start journey along the 200-metre stretch, because of problems with the much-touted "state-of-the-art" traffic-light system.
I am yet to find any traffic light system that recognises a bicycle. The magnetic loops buried in the tarmac are great for recognising a one tonne hunk of metal known as a car, but rather useless for detecting a 9kg bike made up of carbon fibre and other exotic materials.

The system, installed by the Roads and Traffic Authority, is giving cyclists only five seconds to cross Sussex Street and enter the cycleway before cars are given right-of-way.
Five seconds seems a bit sucky, especially if you have to clip into your pedals like I do. Cyclists should be on the same sort of traffic light cycle as regular traffic. Someone screwed up. Would you give pedestrian 5 seconds? Ever seen a grannie cross 4 lanes of traffic in 5 seconds, especially going uphill?

There has also been an apparent failure of the electro-magnetic loops underneath the cycleway, which are supposed to detect the presence of each group of cyclists and ensure they move smoothly and safely along the path.
See above comment. These things might work with a heavy as lead, made in China bike that you give the kids; but they useless for the modern road or commuter bike.

Thanks to what one council officer described as a "malfunction", cyclists have been facing red lights at the Kent and Clarence street intersections for no apparent reason. Most riders have ignored the red signal, while a handful have abandoned the cycleway in frustration and returned to the road.
Did the RTA bother testing this thing before opening it? Did they contact a cycling group and ask for 10 cyclists to spend a few hours riding up and down it to see if it worked, and then ironing out the bugs?

"It's really useless as it is - the cars running next to us on King Street had a green light and about six of us were just sitting there for about two minutes on a red light," one of the cyclists, Dougal McRae, said.
When I worked down that way, I used to walk across this intersection when on my way to Darling Harbour for lunch, and that comment seemed to be about right. The traffic light phasing was already very pedestrian unfriendly - they've just passed that on to bikes as well.

"I gave up and rode onto the footpath to get around it."
I have more patience than that, but I know that many cyclists don't. I would tend to wait. I'm not usually in that big a hurry to get to the office that I need to ride on the footpath.

An RTA spokeswoman denied the loop system was flawed.

Sorry pal, but the loop system that you use to detect bikes always has been, and currently is, fucked. It has more chance of detecting UFO's than bikes.

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