Bike Lanes

I went for a bike ride on the weekend – across the Sydney Harbour bridge. The harbour bridge bike lane Harbour Bridge bike pathis the only way for a bicycle to cross Sydney Harbour Bridge without dismounting or cycling in 80 km/hr traffic until you get as far west as Concord Road    (20 km west of where I live, roughly). The Gladesville Bridge pedestrian lane is too narrow to ride a bike across unless you have better bike skills than I do.

There are 12 lanes of traffic crossing the harbour at that point – eight on the bridge and four in the tunnel.

But the bike path has three flights of stairs. Not only that, but to save us from terrorists, the path has recently been narrowed by about half a metre to create a security fence, and narrowed further by another metre or so to create a little booth for security guards who walk solemnly up and down the bike path. At that point, there is a sign, asking for you to go no faster than 5 kilometres an hour – which is necessary, because I don’t know how easily I could create enough space at that point for a bike coming the other way.

I imagine that if you did a fully calculated cost benefit analysis (risk of injury from terrorism vs risk of accident from head on cyclist collision, and then throw in the extra obesity from discouraging cycling) you would fairly quickly realise that this was a dumb idea. Unfortunately, I doubt if anyone even thought about it.

On the plus side, at least the security guards mean that you don’t get bridal parties having their pictures taken on the “no pedestrians” cycle lane – which was a regular feature of my Saturday afternoon bike rides a few years ago – nothing beats being glared at by a bridesmaid as you try and fail to sneak past her and her friend sipping champagne without having to dismount.

  4 comments for “Bike Lanes

  1. September 5, 2006 at 4:05 pm

    Stairs! How do you manage?

    Didn’t realize the Aus. gov’t was making insanely bad decisions based on the terrorism threat, too.

  2. September 5, 2006 at 7:40 pm

    The stairs have a ramp in the middle you can roll your bike down. I’ve seen mountain bikers ride down it, but I wouldn’t dare. Everyone else just trudges up and down the three flights (and it’s quite busy in rush hour, being the main thoroughfare, and all).

    Thinking about it some more re-reading this post, if you wanted to blow up the harbour bridge it would be MUCH more effective to drive a huge truck full of explosives onto the bridge, and pull to a stop close to a support. There’s a limit to how much damage you can do from a pedestrian or cycle walkway, after all.

    I really can’t imagine how the security is going to do any good at all.

  3. September 12, 2006 at 10:31 am

    The security is going to make us all feel like we are safe from the men who like to blow up things. It is a ruse really, as any of those security guards could be overcome by two or three men quicker than you can say “The harbour bridge is sinking”.

  4. Eckhard
    January 22, 2007 at 12:08 pm

    I ride the harbour bridge every morning north bound and every evening south bound. The booth that was supposedly for security was in fact for workers building the new security fence and painting it. It has been removed. I think the strip is wide enough for two bicycles to safely pass. I don’t see the point in complaining about the condition of a dedicated bicylce lane with guards keeping pedestrians from walking on it. Hey, Sydney traffic conditions are shocking and certainly a reason for moving back to Europe, but the Harbour Bridge is in my opinion one of the safest part of my daily journey from Glebe to Chatswood and back.

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