April 7, 2020

“Lifeline:” The Bicycle in a Pandemic

The current cover of the New Yorker, titled “Lifeline.”

Here’s my version – an image taken on March 17, 8 pm, on Swanston Street in Melbourne:

This courier – equipped with bike (maybe electric), smart phone and custom backpack – was one of many on the main street of Melbourne’s CBD that night.  It’s easy to understand why they’ve become a vital link between restaurants that can provide only takeout and customers sequestered at home.  They too are front-line workers, and their bicycles declared essential.

I have a hunch that, like our use of online communication, their employment will expand, their vehicles will innovate, their uses proliferate, and afterwards they will become an expanded part of the local economies of our newly reconsidered cities.

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  1. What is the post in front of cyclist? Australia used to have circular raised bumps at street corners called “Silent Policemen” to ensure drivers stayed in the right lane when turning.

    1. Post

      From Jago Dodson at RMIT:

      The bollards were installed after two separate incidents in Melbourne in 2017 in which attackers used cars to deliberately kill and maim pedestrians. They were installed in a number of areas with high pedestrian volumes that had a car might be able to access.