Nieuws - 27 februari 2014

Bridge please

The Forum bridge is fenced off to prevent us all from falling. The alternative? Another slippery path.

Swift and speedy is how I like to cycle. That's why I love Dutch bike paths.

I freehandedly meander between slower cyclists, but always cautious not to be stupid or annoy anyone. I don't cross red lights and I make way for the oncoming traffic. I am a good citizen, albeit a fast and slightly rowdy one. One of the few times I would pause and go slowly for a moment was on the forum bridge.

With its bottleneck shape and spiky safetyrail-ends, it seems unlikely that the designer had safety in mind when he created it; fashion-over-function. Still, I can hardly imagine a cooler walk up to a University. I especially love the good vibrations, that welcoming whirr and hum the bridge makes when you pass over it. Chuck-chuk, chuk-chuk. Cycling over it always makes me feel like a freight train.  

And now it's closed. Fenced off like a dangerous animal.  It's not really like you can go sloping or sledding on it, but apparently it's sluggey-slimey enough for the people in charge to roll up their sleeves, slam some fences there and slice the path in half. Excuse me if I slur my words, but sloppy solutions like this are not my cup of tea. Consequently, we are now funneled over these other awkward paths, at awful angles... just awesome. Not to mention, these paths are narrow, graveled and thus slippery in a different way. Slippery nonetheless.

I personally know a guy who slipped and broke his jaw on the bridge a few years back. So a slippery bridge is definitely a hazard that should be dealt with. Still, I can't help but think that it is not about the slippery bridge, but about the way people use it that causes problems. Maybe it's not the slobbery surface, but the huge amount of traffic and relentlessness of both pedestrians and cyclists that causes the accidents. Maybe simple traffic rules can clear the situation. No overtaking, single file for bikes.

Or that golden rule of life: Just don't be a dick.