Bah humbug coastal path!

Roger Rabbits
with Jim Bunny

Wouldn’t life be easier if we didn’t have to deal with people?

The attention seekers, the moaners and the self-entitled, the selfish, the fakes, the bullies, the complainers, the yellers and insulters, the arrogant and the condescending.

The sort of people that can derail your day.

The passive aggressors, the unreliable and Crusaders apologists.

That just about covers it.

All sounds a bit petulant but the day didn’t start out like that.

No! It started gloriously with a rush of feel-good hormones as we cycled up onto the eastern end of the Marine Parade coastal path.

The mind, mood and body had surged into a great space at a great place.

Okay – I know the path’s been there since last year.

But not in my world. We have just connected.

Three kilometres’ long – weaving, rising and dipping through the dunes parallel to the beach, but unparalleled in its stunning-ness.

It’s a track that nature deemed should be there but it took some visionary planner at city hall to figure it and make it happen.

Dancing dune grasses, a vast expanse of white sands, the constant beat of ocean waves spilling on the shore and the theme from ‘Jaws’ as another evil 2m bronze whaler lurks in the waves.

And all on a balmy autumnal day. Cracker!

But the cracker goes soft and inedible when you introduce ‘people’ to the equation – people with attitude, and probably hangovers, unleashed dogs, errant bikes and trikes, and gossip groups taking their soy chai lattes for a stroll, and aged $15,000 Ebike packages with grizzled faces whose perception of sharing the space is riding the middle of the path.

Lack of self-awareness... 

A friend remarked about “the lack of self-awareness”.

People, she said, who didn’t give a toss about how their behaviour impacts on someone else’s experience.

“It has come to this,” she said despondently.

“They’re all b*****ds,” decided the oldest member.

“They crave attention even if it’s bad attention.

"And when they get it, it doesn’t matter that it’s negative attention, that’s enough for them.”

Oh dear. Perhaps his lycra was too tight on the ride – clawing at the groin.

It was also suggested that perhaps the coastal path chaos was all about inadequacy and envy – gazing on all the garishly expensive real estate across Marine Parade and then going home to push-mow the lawns at their ‘entry level’ existence in Fraser Cove.

Short of helping mow the lawns, how can we improve the experience on the Marine Parade?

We all know right from wrong because driving on the right is wrong, and left is right. Understand?

You just do it. So why do we go troppo on shared pathways?

Why do we veer across the invisible white line and expect everyone to get out of our way.

There’s no statute ordering us to keep left on the trails, but general etiquette suggests it’s a good idea.

It would save head-on collisions, bad language, abuse and broken bikes and bones.

Share with care 

So you’ve spent $5000 on a French Bulldog, and it maybe your complete “dotes”, but not all of us have to like it.

We will respect ‘Milo’s’ right to be on the coastal path – but please keep him on a leash!

I can fall off my bike without the help of a dog in the middle of its socialisation lesson.

And if the owner can’t grasp ‘keeping left’, what can we expect of a French Bulldog – they all drive on the right.

“At 4m wide, the pathway provides ample width for multiple users,” says the council blurb.

Well yes, you would think.

And… “all are encouraged to share with care”.

Tell that to Priscilla and Peter who’ve just bumped into Marg and Andy on the coastal path.

They’re flapping their gums, discussing hip replacements and South Seas holiday destinations.

They’ve taken out a land claim on the middle of the path, they’re not moving and are oblivious to the traffic problems they’re generating around them.

And why is it my responsibility to get out of the way of a 10-year-old sucking a smoothie while riding an electric skateboard.

“You are just so cute and clever Amelia-Rose!”

No, you’re not. 

Protocol cops?

Perhaps we need a couple of protocol cops on the Coastal Path to chat to the Amelia-Roses, perhaps a centre-line, perhaps a few well-placed ‘Don’t be a dick!’ signs.

Then I’m told to go take an antacid, to stop being crotchety and cranky.

The higgledy-piggledy, muddled, jumbled nature of the traffic on the coastal path is apparently part of the essential charm.

The trail becomes an extension of life at home.

Families spend all week herding kids and animals and bikes and trikes and then they transfer their chaos to the trail for a change of scenery and relaxation.

And a lot of people spend their week regimented by work and other commitments – organised, controlled, disciplined.

And come the weekend they can abandon all those strictures and free wheel on the trail. It’s therapy.

Fair enough. I understand. Forget everything.

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