Saturday 19 September 2009

Stupid, disconnected bike lanes

I branched out today and gaffer-taped a video camera to my handlebars in order to bring you one minute of cycling in the city. Generally, my trip to and from work is pretty safe; most of it is done in bike lanes or off road bike paths. However, there is one short stretch where there is a huge disconnect between a north-south bike route and the main bike route going west. I have tried a variety of different ways in order to make navigating this section as safe as possible, and none of them have worked out that well. This clip shows the latest method, which I think sucks.

Here's the problem. I'm riding along a really nice bit of bike lane going south on Sussex St, and suddenly it peters out into nothingness. You go from your own lane to being jammed in with two lanes of cars. No big deal, except it happens where the road suddenly slopes upwards (cutting your speed) and the road surface turns to crap (cutting speed even further). I am a great believer in speed - if I can go as fast as the traffic around me, the drivers will generally respect me and give me space and an easy time. If I move like a slug, drivers get cranky, and bad things can happen. Therefore, I avoid like the plague any busy sections of road where I am unable to pound along at traffic speeds. Unfortunately, there is no avoiding this particular section, which is why I hate it so much.

Anyway, in order to join the main westward trunk, I need to turn right at a spot where a purpose built bike lane joins a bike/pedestrian bridge. I think this particular route carries the largest amount of bike traffic going in and out of the city, so it is not an unknown, insignificant intersection. However, our idiot planners have not seen fit to link the two routes together, so expediency is the order of the day.

Normally at this time of day, the traffic along this section is going nowhere, so I can ride up between the two lanes of stalled cars and then duck right onto the pedestrian bridge. However, there are days when traffic actually flows in Sydney, and today was one of them. As the traffic started to move, I jumped in with a motorbike, and then did my best to crank it up the hill and through the pot holes, keeping up with the cars as best I could. If the lights had gone red as I approached, I could have stayed on the road, then turned right at the end onto the pedestrian bridge. But the gods of traffic were against me, so I had to leap onto the footpath (being careful not to get fouled by the inch high lip of concrete on the driveway), and then mix it with the pedestrians before crossing the road with the bike flow and reaching the pedestrian bridge.

I'm not happy with that at all. I know some cyclists take great delight in leaping from road to path and back again whilst showing complete disdain for motorists and pedestrians alike, but I hate that attitude. I'm sure the problem here is the totally fucked attitude of the RTA. Could you ever see a road engineer designing two freeways that cross each other, but don't connect?

1 comment:

kae said...

"Could you ever see a road engineer designing two freeways that cross each other, but don't connect?"

Anything's possible when you live in Queensland, the ALP has been reelected more times than they should have...

WV: botheed

Regardes mon visage, am I botheed?