Surrounded by depressing prison grey, high overhead cyclone fencing topped with barbed wire, and staring into the eyes of unfriendly guards, I made my way across the so-called Sydney Harbour Bridge bike path. The views may have been spectacular but for most of the ride I couldn't see over the fence. When I did get to a section that provided some access to the view, a stroppy guard prevented me from taking photos.
When I got to the North Sydney side and carried my bike down the stairs (preferable to to trying to roll the bike down the precarious slope provided I think) I gained a whole new respect for those dedicated bicycle commuters that cross this Bridge twice a day. What would happen if, instead of e-tags and toll booths on the traffic lanes, we installed a serious of bollards for motorists to negotiate, followed by a sequence of gates requiring them to get out of their cars to open the gates? How much of an uproar would there be over that? Yet, everyday, bicycle commuters are being forced into a similar set of actions.
On my way back, in the dark, I realised how poorly lit the bicycle path is as I narrowly avoided colliding into other cyclists on the bridge trying to squeeze past almost invisible obstructions that occupy about half the path in places. Not to mention the number of riders crossing the Bridge without helmets or indeed lights. I followed a pair of young male riders on bmx bikes for some time, marvelling at their ability to perform wheelies and other stunts, but dismayed by their lack of bike lights and helmets, especially in such poor light.
Would it be so terrible if I simply disavowed the bike path and took to the road instead? There are 8 traffic lanes on the bridge plus a whole tunnel under the harbour for the use of cars and buses, would the world end if I just decided to ride in a traffic lane? In theory, I only have a legal obligation to ride in a dedicated bicycle lane if it's not dangerous, I think I could make quite a good case for arguing that the Bridge cycle lane is dangerous, especially at night, in which case I don't have to use it. mmmmm ... I feel the need for a little demonstration of civil disobedience arising!