Does anyone remember the John and Betty readers?
John can jump.
Betty can jump.
Boroondara Council in Melbourne’s east is using the same idea in a trial of signage to improve behaviour on shared paths. We grizzle about uncontrolled dogs, walkers bark about speeding cyclists sort of thing.
Even cyclists complain about some of the commuter behaviour on the busy Gardiner’s Creek trail – overtaking on blind corners, PB speed etc – while walkers four abreast and unrestrained canines are the other side of the coin. I had one suggest Lassie wouldn’t bite but had no idea I was more worried about my collarbones. On sunny weekends, it’s safer on the road.
So council installed three multi-panel ‘stories’ aimed at both protagonists on the trail in October and asked its 1000-strong sounding board, the community panel, for feedback. We haven’t heard back yet.
I’m not sure what to make of it. I didn’t like the first one when I went to have a look and alternative captions sprang to mind. It struck me as anti-cyclist.
But the next one aimed at walkers seemed to even the score a bit. And given the food chain that has cars giving way to cyclists (we wish) giving way to walkers, maybe it’s fair enough that the trial aims two stories at bikes.
It shouldn’t be needed but more rules and signs won’t help. So maybe it’s worth a try. I’d be interested in what people think.