Dumbest ideas in Cycling #1

Welcome to the first installment of a new regular feature on Carbon Addiction (yes, another one).

This particular idea has been inspired by a couple of truly idiotic things I’ve seen while out riding in the last month or so. The first was a mindbendingly insane piece of traffic calming (aka concrete traffic island) placed directly in the middle of an established, marked bike lane by Canada Bay Council.

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Protect pedestrains (from motorbikes, according to the Council). Kill cyclists. Genius.

Still unsignposted over a month since its installation, it nearly brought me down the first time I came across it (pre dawn) and forced me to swerve quite violently onto the road proper. Ironically, before I’d even had time to complain about it that morning, a fellow member of my cycling club beat me to it. After chasing an explanation through all the proper channels, no one at Canada Bay Council is able to give me an intelligent reason for why they’ve done it. Clearly the person responsible doesn’t ride a bike. I imagine a lawsuit will be heading the Council’s way when, inevitably, an unwitting cyclist does come down and smashes themselves up – which will no doubt lead to its swift removal. Lunacy.

(Footnote: The official word is that cyclists should pass to the left ie. between the gutter and the concrete island. This essentially requires dismounting to be done safely. The hazard is further compounded by the fact that, unlike when the above photo was taken, there are almost always cars parked on the left hand side, right up to the crossing – forcing riders to make three sharp turns in quick succession.)

As crazy as this situation is, however, it isn’t the main reason I felt compelled to post this story this morning. Oh no. Yesterday morning, whilst innocently cruising around the inner western Sydney suburb of Concord with my regular Saturday bunch ride, we came across this remarkably stupid piece of “planning” infrastructure.

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Hey, let’s tangle cyclists in the bike lane with these rubber cords. Cool.

Not only are the traffic counter cords raised above the road surface, they do so right smack bang in the middle of a marked bicycle lane. We’ve used this lane for years. Thousands of cyclists do. I actually went back this morning with my camera to watch for ten minutes. Every single rider who passed, and there were many, was forced out of the bike lane and into the traffic. Several only saw the obstacle at the last moment. I suspect one poor woman soiled her knicks, given the intensity of her panicked exclamations.

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Hard to ride in the bike lane, so no-one does.

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Have you seen anything dumb out there (serious dumb or funny dumb)? Then please let me know. I suspect this will get rather interesting 😉

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4 thoughts on “Dumbest ideas in Cycling #1

  1. Almost hit the one in Concord on the way home yesterday. Couldn’t believe it. You beat me with the camera – would be interesting to know Council’s point of view – although low confidence of proper reply.

  2. I guess I am defending the indefensible, but there is a clear demarcation between roads run by the RTA and those by council. You can usually tell council roads because they will have 50 km/hour speed limits whereas RTA roads have 60 km/hour limits (generally). Councillor Neil Kenzler does ride a bike and he was responsible for some fixing up of the roundabouts along Lyons Road West (near the roundabouts) which are not too bad on a bike.
    Alas the problem really runs deeper than something which would be fixed by changes in operating procedures of the RTA or council. Obviously those who put the traffic counters in place couldn’t give a flying fruit bat about cyclists and was probably quietly chuckling about their effect on cyclists. Its the engineering equivalent of a “deliberate close pass” we all experience. It is highly unprofessional and I would love to know the contracting company that did the work – name and shame would be appropriate.

  3. Council’s reply to my email about the island was that, “the intention is for cyclists to pass between the kerb and the island” i.e. in that 50cm gap on the left, complicated by the fact that there is inevitable a car parked your the left

    Last week I was approaching the speed hump/ island and had a car overtaking me on the right, so I thought I’d try going through the aforementioned gap…and almost ended up in the signage in the process. The gap is smaller than it looks, even at just 15km/h.

    The islands in the bike lane on Queen St Concord are beauties too.

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