Friday 27 November 2009

The stupidest pedestrian bridge in Sydney

Sometime earlier this year, the SMH did something half factual and put together a list of the 10 worst cycling black spots in Sydney. Since they utterly fail to grasp the idea of all this new media business, I thought I would show what it is like to ride over the bridge rated as their number 1 cycling sink hole.

The bridge in question crosses Victoria Rd at the bottom of Balmain. It allows cyclists like me, coming from the west, to get onto the ANZAC Bridge without being squashed flat by mental drivers.

Caution - this video contains muffin tops.

A partial defence for the RTA is that the bridge was built about 900 years ago, possibly by Chinese traders who had landed in Botany Bay for a bit of R&R (rape and run) with the locals. It really is ancient and out of date. It was definitely designed before anyone dared to ride a bike on Sydney's roads. It's not bad for pedestrians, but it is a shocker on a bike. For many novice riders, it's too steep, too narrow and the curves are way too tight. The RTA put up a new bike bridge last year just around the corner and the new bridge is three times as wide, features long, sweeping curves and it's long and flattish. Comparing and contrasting the old and the new is a good way of seeing how engineering thinking has changed in the last 90 decades.

A good test of the competence of an cyclist is to see whether they can get around the bends without unclipping from their pedals. If they have to unclip, they are a gumby hubbard.

The other fun thing about this bridge is that when you exit on the western side, it unceremoniously dumps you onto the road at a spot right where cars coming around the corner too fast will wipe you out. It has all the hallmarks of being designed and built by a special bus full of window lickers.

The thing is, the budget position of NSW is so rooted, I doubt this thing will be replaced in my lifetime unless a truck misjudges a bend and wipes it out.

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