Philip Gomes has a post in Lavartus Prodeo a couple of days ago about Michael Duffy’s dummy spit about Sydney cyclists. Read his post, and the comments – a depressingly familiar tale of bike riders being blamed for riding in the only ways that are left to them by the way the road system has been set up.
I had a similar experience when talking to a local councillor of my acquaintaince about why the cycle pathways were so bad. He explained that because no-one uses them, he doesn’t feel he can spend rate-payers money on a luxury item for the few. The trouble is it’s a vicious circle. If no-one uses the bike paths (because they don’t go anywhere useful, or occasionally have a tree in the middle of them that you are supposed to walk around, or most stupidly on the Harbour Bridge, three flights of stairs) then cyclists are blamed for them not being used, and no more are built. It’s like public transport only worse.
And then the cyclists go on the footpaths, because the roads are unsafe, and everyone complains about the anarchic cyclists.
Sydney is not as well built for cycling as Melbourne – it’s not as flat, and our streets are narrower. But there is scope for good cycling paths, as you realise when you occasionally find one (my favourite is from Darling Harbour to Leichhardt, which required very little actual infrastructure, just some imagination about which roads to put it on) and realise it’s possible!