Looking but not Seeing

I was in town today running various errands, and also hunting out poor on-road cycling infrastructure to use in the Cycling Embassy of Great Britain’s latest toy, Insert Loved One Here.

insert loved one here

Actually, one of the good things about cycling in Bigtown, it’s that we don’t have too much of this sort of thing. The Coonsil’s approach to cycling may be lacking – we may not have a joined up network and it may be shared with pedestrians and their extendadogs, and it may take a week to cross at the lights, and they may never grit the paths in winter – but at least they mostly recognise that slapping some paint and a poorly drawn bicycle onto a scary road isn’t going to help much.

Still, I knew that there was a roundabout near Morrison’s that had some ‘suicide’ lanes around the outside (funnily enough, it’s where half the cyclists in Bigtown have been knocked off their bikes, it seems) so I headed there and took a couple of photos, then joined the road with the worst cycle lane in Bigtown on it where I failed to take any photos because I was concentrating on not being squashed by left-turning traffic. That left the roundabout by the station, which also has a few faded bike lanes around the edge – but it was getting a bit late and I had things to do, so I decided the one photo I had would be good enough and headed home.

cycle lane

And it was only as I reached the turnoff at the outskirts of Bigtown that I noticed this beauty, a bike lane that I never use because of all the places where I may want to be on my bike, cycling right across the mouth of a road used by bin lorries and into the back of a parked car is never one of them. I must have cycled past it literally hundreds of times but its existence has barely registered on me, despite the fact that I spend far more time than is healthy thinking and talking about cycling infrastructure.

No wonder the drivers don’t see us. Frankly, as a species, we’re just very poorly adapted to driving something as fast and as dangerous as a car, compared to something like a horse which notices absolutely everything. You can forget the driverless car – when it comes to transport our real mistake was to persist with the horseless carriage.*

* Although, having cycled through the residue left by the horse element of Bigtown’s Guid Nychburris parade, I can see that there are some downsides to using equines for urban transport

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5 Responses to Looking but not Seeing

  1. Martin says:

    Hello! I’ve been following your (highly entertaining) blog for a while now, so I’m starting to feel like a bit of a stalker unless I say something (oh the wretched internet). You said:

    Frankly, as a species, we’re just very poorly adapted to driving something as fast and as dangerous as a car,

    and that’s the perfect excuse to link to my own post on that very topic … (the wretched internet not only turns us into stalkers but into self-pimpers as well).

  2. Have you ever tried being a pedestrian in Bigtown? I’ve been doing a lot of that lately and am astounded at the number of roads that are almost impossible to cross on foot without taking your life in your hands – I reckon we should bring back the man with the red flag to walk in front of cars – it would create jobs, slow everyone down and would still allow those who really need to use a car to still use one if they wanted

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