I went for a bike ride on the weekend – across the Sydney Harbour bridge. The harbour bridge bike lane is 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.