In a Word: Traffic

by obalint


“Canberra doesn’t have traffic.”

Bold statement. But one that gets more promotion than Pippa Middleton’s derriere. The city’s architect designed grand boulevards and ample space, low population and rambunctious roundabouts certainly afford Canberrans the unique luxury of having minimal traffic. But I wouldn’t say there’s no traffic. And there’s been a steady increase in recent years…


Here’s hoping we get that tram!

It’s not quite the ‘macet sekali’ of Jakarta but if you find yourself anywhere near city hill or Northbourne Avenue at peak hour you might start to believe that Canberra is a city, not a nature reserve with delicate brushstrokes of buildings and construction. If you need your fix of the congested arterial road experience most cities offer, here are the times to get your traffic sightseeing on in the capital:

08:37-09:12 and 16:39-17:21*

Monday to Friday. It’s peak hour Canberra style. Just a little bit of traffic, just to whet your appetite. But not too much that it would burst the ACT’s Scandinavian flavoured bubble.

I cycle but I’m not a “cyclist”. That is, you won’t catch me wearing lycra or cleats. No siree! I’ve been madly cruising around the ACT (and beyond!) in my home made threads since the early Naughties, which does pre-date the current hipster trend. I’m not a hipster, I did it before it was cool. But then, a hipster would say that. It’s a boisterous beat from the conundrum drum.


I’m into a different type of trafficking: I’m a peddling pedal peddler. To me, it just makes sense, especially in such a wonderfully landscaped, bike-friendly, more often than not big bouncy blue skies sunshiney city. It’s fun, there are very minimal transport costs, it’s good for our habitat and it keeps you fit. Win win win win!

It’s a slower approach. Driving is to cycling is as cycling is to walking. Walking is another great mode of transport. Slow can be good if you allow the time for it. Walking and cycling really do allow you to discover and smell the roses, figurative and literal, more than you would if you were in a car. Bipedal bliss out sessions.


There are some times when I just don’t feel like the go slow approach; heavy rain and wind can be real party poopers. It is more convenient to drive in these instances. No denying that. But convenience always has a cost. Superb balance, as if riding a finely tuned Masi, is needed. It takes two to tango, three to thrango, four to foursome, five to fivelate, six to sixism…to infinity, or harsh smog and fumes. Whichever comes first.

Each person in traffic, is traffic. Pedal power could be the cycling revolution of the future!

*times are entirely and wholly one hundred per cent empirically deduced. Any variation is a result of a) Summernats b) December/January lull c) public holidays d) Melbourne Cup e) Floriade f) fancy pants diplomatic visits or similar.