It could have been worse. It has been worse. But with at least four people dead and thousands of homes flooded it’s been quite bad enough.
One way or another, I didn’t choose the best day to arrive in Brisbane, along with ex-tropical cyclone Oswald.
He’s moved on now, so I was able to get out on the bike, ride along the Brisbane River and survey the damage he’d left behind.
I’d thoughtfully arranged access to the CityCycle system – the public bikes which locals and visitors can hire for two dollars a day. I’d planned ahead. booking a week of access on the website for a very reasonable $11.
The shared path along the Brisbane River was popular and easy to ride.
The CityCycle system is still sadly underused. I met only one other CityCyclist this morning, a chap who said he regularly parks his car near a station and uses the bikes to ride the rest of the way.
It’s a pity, because I think it’s a fine initiative and I found the cycling infrastructure around this New Farm area was good.
Compulsory helmet laws may be discouraging some potential users. The website lists places where helmets can be bought, though as a visitor to the city it wouldn’t be easy to find the locations. There was no mention of the price of buying a helmet – I hope it’s as cheap as the Melbourne system, where you buy a helmet for $5 and can sell it back to the store for $3 if you wish.
The city council has attempted to address the problem by providing hundreds of free helmets and hanging them on the bikes at the CityCycle stations. I think this idea works. People who regard it as an unhealthy risk to wear someone else’s lid probably find cycling in general too dangerous. I had no problem with using a found helmet. Ex-tropical cyclone Oswald had given the nits a thorough rinsing the night before.
Evidence of Oswald’s passing was everywhere, though New Farm got off lightly compared to some other parts of the city, and fared much better than other Queensland towns.
The worst damage in this area was fallen trees, which were also responsible for much of the property damage and most of the deaths and injuries. I could see how easily it could happen. You wouldn’t want to be anywhere near when these came down.