Infrastructure failures

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…photo-24We 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:photo-21photo-23These 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:photo-29

A few streets away there is other great infrastructure:photo-22I feel perfectly safe riding in this lane, I clearly have a space on the road, and there is also this on the footpath nearby:photo-28Great use of a wide and little used footpath! Then on the next block, it looks like this:photo-27Clearly, 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.

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7 Responses to Infrastructure failures

  1. ngrgas says:

    I rode with my kids from Maryville to Nobbys Beach last Fruday. While there is shared path the markings seem to only appear north of Carrington bridge. We ring our bell as a courtesy to let people know we are going around and got a few scoffs and tuts. We got to the beach and there was no bike rack! We had to chain up to railing. Couldn’t believe it.

    • Vicki says:

      Still best to ring the bell even when you get those reactions, it’s better than them stepping sideways and having a collision. No bike racks at Nobbys, I hadn’t noticed as I don’t stop there. Sometimes the railing is more suitable to chain bikes up anyway as it doesn’t damage the bike as much as racks. I usually use the railing at Bar Beach even though there are racks, the railing just works better so many people use it.

  2. ian menzies says:

    Hey there Vicki. We happened to be in Newcastle on NYE as I had a ship in port the next day. My son swam in that very same pool and reckoned it was tops. Perfect coffees in Darby street and bank corner . Only thing missing was Sam Egan’s old surf shop, but maybe that’s just me showing my age. Hope the secret doesn’t get out!



    • Vicki says:

      I’m glad you liked it here Ian, Newcastle is generally a well-kept secret. You are right about the great coffee and swimming too, I’m glad you enjoyed your visit!

  3. Great post! I find it so frustrating that everyone hates and blames cyclists for everything, without first looking at the infrastructure available to them (us)! While driving, I’ve had rude and dangerous pedestrians dart across the road, causing me to slam on my brakes. While driving, I’ve had other drives do horrible and stupid things (and, there are collisions ALL the time!). And I know I’m not the only one who has these experiences. Yet, people don’t generalize about “drivers” and “pedestrians” in these cases to the degree that people generalize about cyclists.

    What I also really liked is how you showed one area that’s great, but then how it quickly changes to being not-so-great. Thanks for posting!

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