Friday, August 27, 2010

The Gold Coast - a monumental folly

"They hang the man & flog the woman
That steals the goose from off the common
But let the greater villain loose
That steals the common from off the goose"
(17th Century English aphorism)

The 'Gold Coast' is the quintessential, soulless example of why we should never underestimate the ability of politicians and developers to do get urban planning so monumentally wrong.

Moreover, whilst Sydney cyclists are becoming the new transport power brokers as they progressively re-configure urban transport, it is almost impossible to imagine that the 'Gold Coast' will ever embrace such a paradigm shift. Notwithstanding token cycleway stencils, I've yet to note any cyclists.

Isn't it evident by now that the 'gold' standard on transport ought not to be the sole domain of motorcars and politicians?

Aaaaaahhh!...let me out of here!!!!!!


  1. You have to wonder sometimes whether it could ever change. In a place like the Gold Coast it does seem nigh on impossible. Having said that, they are building a light rail system there so you never know.

  2. Sue, Sue, Sue.... there are plenty of cyclists at the Gold Coast!

    You have to get up at 6am to see any of them as that's when they're all out 'training' (for what, I have no idea...) - make sure it is not too cold/wet/foggy as they'll still be in bed.

    After their 'training' they go home, have bacon & eggs and then drive 5km to work in their SUVs.

    Have you had any Queensland Police stop you from endangering society by not wearing a bicycle helmet? Don't worry... they'll find you :)

    Dr Paul Martin
    Brisbane, Australia

  3. Edward & Paul, once I took possession of my hire bike things at the Gold Coast miraculously got better - yes I can categorically say karma and transport options improved dramatically - and yes I did notice cyclists - quite a few actually

    ...Paul, loved today and loved loved loved Brisbane - a million thanks!!!!!

  4. Funny, I always imagined the Gold Coast as a 'cruise along the beach path on a rusty old treadly' kind of place. Sans helmet, of course.

  5. Ha! Ha! you're kidding me, Ian!!!!!!

    ...must admit though once I took possession of my rusty old treadly and given that it's so flat, I did enjoy cruising along the kilometres & kilometres of McMansions (truly, I did!!) - well kinda sorta!!!?

  6. G'day Sue, even though I'm the guy who has been building the bike lanes and shared paths on the GC for a few years now, I must say I loved your story:-) I'm an ex 80's Sydney commuter cyclist, only stay here for the surf / beach and I won't argue with your assessment but there is some progress even here. It's often painful arguing for better facilities but there are some people in various positions trying to help the GC catch up with the rest of the world of cycling and town planning. Unfortunately the GC doesn't have a "culture" of activism like the capitals and we have to deal with the legacy of low density, car dependant suburbia. There are some good things here such as our roads are mostly in better condition and more open than most Sydney roads and far less polluted. The Oceanway is becoming better and did you notice probably 50% of bikes near the beach don't bother with helmets? The trick with the GC like any city is knowing where to go.
    Our highrises - a bit like the statues of Easter Island - and remember what happened to them?
    Regards Ride2Wk

  7. Hey Ride2Wk! - thanks for your wonderful comment and I must retract and eat some humble-pie re the cycling infrastructure at the GC - however my initial assessment of area as a massive folly remains the same!!

    ...but your cycle lanes are great and way more than stencils as I came to discover with cycling myself, and the motorists actually watched out for us - I was particularly impressed with the designated left hand lane that guided us around roundabouts and how motorists were ready to see where we were about to signal off to and give us the room to do whatever.

    ...and yes I did notice the lack of non-compliance - brilliant - and you're right about discovering the optimum areas to cycle. I really did enjoy my time up there once I hired the bike but before that I felt somewhat suffocated by cars and consumerism!

    Seriously well done you for what what has been achieved up there - I'm glad I got the chance to peel back the layers of the seemingly car-dependent suburbia to see the potentially vibrant cycling culture already bursting out of the bottle like a genie no longer prepared to wait - thank you!

  8. Doc Martin, that's probably pretty close to the mark but don't forget many of them drive the SUV to the meeting point and back home again before driving to work!

    But there are also a couple of us who ride to work in all weather or to the beach with surfboards strapped on. I even ride to the beach for a surf before work, continue to work with my board and ride home after work with the board still. Only about 30km round trip with a surf board & dripping wetsuit hanging off the side.

    I must admit I don't take the good bike out for the social ride at 5:30 if it's raining. I get sick of cleaning it.

  9. ...whoops little correction - "...I did notice the lack of compliance" is what I meant to say!!

  10. Thanks for the supportive comments Sue. Especially the roundabouts "bike circulating lane". There have been many hours of discussion to get approval for that one which I got from the NSW Bicycle Guidelines. The main idea of it is to be a visual reminder to entering motorists to "look bike" and give way to bikes already on the roundabout just like any other vehicle.

    Bikes do have to be careful passing exits though (where we have no circulating lane marked) because the road rule say that bikes have to have eyes in the back of their heads and give way to vehicles behind them! Section 9 rule 119. Giving way by the rider of a bicycle or animal to a vehicle leaving a roundabout
    The rider of a bicycle or animal who is riding in the far left marked lane of a roundabout with 2 or more marked lanes, or the far left line of traffic in a roundabout with room for 2 or more lines of traffic, other than animals, bicycles, motorbikes or motorised wheelchairs, must give way to any vehicle leaving the roundabout.

    Depending on the traffic and circumstances I often take the car lane to prevent cars from trying to overtake me in the roundabout and either turning left over the top of me or squeezing me against the kerb.

    I figured the "lack of non-compliance" was a typo:-)
    Regards Ride2Wk

  11. Hey Ride2Wk - today's post is for you and 'Bike-hire Paul'

    - we have a lot of catching up to do in NSW in terms of cycling infrastructure - actually we have a lot of catching up to do in terms of transport full stop!!!!

    Thank you - it was fun!

  12. another thing brisvegas has going for it is that you can also put your bike on the bus, something that always makes me smile when I go there

  13. wow! that's pretty cool!!! - the bus drivers would faint if you tried that in Sydney!!!