As seminal figures to whom children look for their values, world leading bloggers such as myself sometimes worry, that perhaps we have gone too far with our words. Perhaps I should not have told every thinking person in Sydney (those who cycle, I mean) to leave for Melbourne, Newcastle, Portland, wherever. Perhaps this was going too far.
Then a friend alerted me to this story in the Sydney Morning Herald, about Nathan Besh, who maintains this youtube channel. Nathan does his Sydney commute with a bike cam on his handlebars, filming the constant attempts by pedestrians and drivers to kill him. Watch a few clips, and you will see the planners have done nothing to help matters at all. Allocating separate tracts of land to motorized vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians is shown in these clips to be the folly it is, with the slightest transgression triggering potentially fatal reactions. Maybe butterflies don’t often cause cyclones, but you will see in these sorts of clips how a step out place can leave someone dead, when planners try to make order from chaos. Congested places are chaotic. Delightfully so. I once stood and watched the human ballet that is Grand Central Station around 5.20pm. By our own steam, we all have a way of not hitting each other. Thin the crowd some, and you could easily have added bikes to the mix, so long as none thought they could do more than about 20km p/h. Add some motorized vehicles, and it would look like Tiananmen Square. (Warning, that link is to an unsavory image). The chaos comes from allowing motorized machinery into the city at all. Eliminate all but a few trams and emergency vehicles, and Sydney’s efficiency might even go up some.
Still, I’m convinced Sydney is beyond help. Its politicians are forcing people like Nathan Besh to risk their lives for a better future for all, like her, and these guys… we all know about carnage. A competitive spirit exists in Sydney, that sees speeding, jaywalking, and even inconsiderate cycling, as part of a race to that harbour-side mansion of Sydney’s self myth. And god anyone who steps in their way. I do think myself lucky, not to have to compete in the rat race.