The other day I was riding to the beach with my daughter, who currently has a bakfiets on loan. This is very handy for her with her two young children…We rode from Maryville to Newcastle Baths, along Throsby Creek track, which was fine for most of the way. The last section, however, between Nobbys Beach and Newcastle Baths, was very narrow on the footpath, and there were constant obstacles with prams, car doors opened to let out passengers, dog walkers, etc. It is a narrow footpath and the road has two way traffic as well as a row of parked cars, so it is not really safe for taking children on the bike. Everyone on the path was understanding and made way for us, there was no ill will, possibly because everyone was there for recreational purposes and not running late to work etc. And of course, we had babies with us which made people forgiving, and as the bakfiets is something of a novelty around here, everyone was keen to look at it with the children in it.
So it is rather disappointing to read a series of letters to the editor in the local paper over the past few days regarding how cyclists sometimes ride on the footpath and how they should be hit with the full force of the law if they commit these and other transgressions. (The links in that last sentence will take you two of the said letters, which I have commented on.)
This made me think of some of the infrastructure failures which are fairly local to me, one case in point being at The Junction:These two photos show a great piece of road marking, where I feel quite safe riding, but once around the corner, there is this road with little space for bike riders, only a narrow strip beside parked cars, with fast car traffic close by:
A few streets away there is other great infrastructure:I feel perfectly safe riding in this lane, I clearly have a space on the road, and there is also this on the footpath nearby:Great use of a wide and little used footpath! Then on the next block, it looks like this:Clearly, there is not space for riders here, nor are there markings for them, and the road also is not suitable. So where are we riders supposed to go in these areas? I am sure that these shortfalls in our infrastructure will ultimately be fixed, but in the meantime, we have to make do and, hopefully, share the spaces with some goodwill.