Monday, 22 February 2010
Kate Ellis's helmet
I just found a political pamphlet in my letter box. This one is from the Federal member for Adelaide, Kate Ellis. The front page was most interesting to me. It is, I think, the first time I have heard cycling infrastructure mentioned as a Federal issue. It is actually rare to hear any politician refer to it as an issue at all.
What is described is fairly typical of cycling in this country. We are told the Government is investing in bike paths but read further and you will see that the money is being spent on infrastructure in the Adelaide Parklands.
In other words, cycling is being treated, as it always is, as purely a recreational activity. No thought at all seems to be given to helping people perform everyday tasks, like shopping and visiting friends, on a bike. Anyone who has ridden along Linear Park would agree it is a great facility but you generally only see recreational cyclists looking like Kate does in the picture - tights, sports top and magic polystyrene helmet, although in Kate's case you would have to wonder how effective it will be with her entire forehead exposed.
Once you are off Linear Park though, you are immediately exposed to fast moving traffic and the "infrastructure", if it is there, consists of painted while lines just next to the gutter. Some of them are only in force for an hour and a half a day and they all suddenly disappear just when they are needed most - at intersections.