Friday, June 12, 2009

Dumb Helsinki cycle paths #4 and other cycling matters.

It's my old friends at the car leasing showroom once again blocking the cycle path/pavement with their car delivery trucks. I actually had 'words' with the driver this morning to make sure he understood the issue. I suspect he thought he was being thoughtful leaving all of 50 cms space between the grass bank and his truck, to let foot traffic and cyclists to 'pass' (to pass him; of course we can't pass each other in that much space). They actually drive the cars down the pavement to load them on to the truck as well, just to add insult to injury. The thought just clearly never enters their heads that they could park in the road, and force car drivers to go around them whilst they load or unload - oh no. They couldn't block the traffic, could they? But pedestrians and cyclists don't count as traffic, so why give a shit?

Maybe lots more people will get the chance to explore the positives and the negatives of the Helsinki cycle path system next Monday as currently the trains will be on strike, and commuter trains are a major part of the transport network in greater Helsinki. According to YLE, the train company VR says it is impossible to arrange alternative transport during the strike. The BBC reports that cycling trebled this week in London as a result of the tube strike, so come Monday the cycle paths of Helsinki might well be packed. With the pleasent summer weather we have currently the paths are already busy - this is the worst time of year because there are so many walkers and out and, as I have discussed before, cyclists and pedestrians are forced to share paths in completely illogical, confusing and downright dangerous ways.

And one final Helsinki cycling note: where the hell have all these girls on fixies suddenly appeared from? The whole fixie thing is a total downtown phenomenon - I don't think I've seen anyone riding fixed gear north of Pasila, let alone in the 'wilds' north of Kehä I (the inner ring road), but before this year I don't think I had ever seen a girl riding fixed. Now they are everywhere. Of course the bike are totally urban hipster, and they wear all the right clothes to match as well. But ladies, really - you have to work more on not looking so nervous. It totally blows your cool. Dare I really suggest it? How about riding with brakes? It makes life so much less scary. :-)


SMB tech geeks said...

We have exactly the same problem here in Oxfordshire in the UK, except that the cycle paths that we do have are only 50cm wide to begin with! Most drivers have no consideration for cycle paths or marked-off road areas, and will park/drive/reverse/chat to their mates on the mobile phone/leave the car running & pop into the shop etc - it drives me insane! We too have our very own car transporter that drops off weekly onto the cycle path for the local car dealership. I wouldn't mind, but they have their own car park & it is MASSIVE!!!!

Toby - Northern Light Blog said...

It's the same situation here! Bloody great car park that for some reason they won't use. I googled and found the company concerned and sent them an email complaint including the photos, saying I'd contact the police and city authorities if it keeps happening. If they reply I'll blog it! :-)