Anarchy in the the bus lane.

I’m commuting to work in Geneva on my motorbike at the moment.
There are two types of sport in this

  • the lovely flowing sweeping bends on the early part of the journey
  • the jousting with cars and scootards within Geneva.

Frankly the bike lane is pure anarchy!
The cars all queue up and pootle along slowly in line with the rules of the road.
The bikers filter sensibly wherever there is a (safe (sometimes anyway)) gap.
The scootards just go wherever the chuff they like, on the pavement, through roadworks bollards, into the back of anyone daft enough to actually stop at traffic lights or crossings.

There is a clear hierarchy
Bikers at the top of course as we usually have the most training, the best view (highest eye line, generally), and the best awareness.
Next car drivers, or sheep if you like, who just blindly follow the car in front, have limited choices, have to follow the rules.
At the bottom its the scootards, or even worse the double scootards. These are people who probably havent passed any licence, can’t spell training and think a tartan rug over their knees makes them high visibility and completely indestructible. These ejits truly believe the road belongs to them, and the pavement, and the central reservation, and your garden if they need it.

The car drivers remind me of mainstream software developers. Limited in choices, tied to unimaginative processes, plodding slowly towards their original destination with limited opportunity to change quickly.

The bikes and scootards remind me of users, cutting and thrusting, breaking and bending the rules where they need to, making rapid progress towards their goal, and easy to change direction if they need to. The scootards have that short term view and lack of concern for the consequences that in particular reminds me of user developed spreadsheets. The bikers with their better view, better training remind me of course of that rare breed, the business developer. A person who uses the tools available to solve business problems effectively rather than slavishly obsessing about how to integrate the latest tool version or language feature (thats you, all you VS 2010 early adopters btw (car drivers!)) into their current project regardless of the complete lack of business benefit.

From a practical pov the scootards represent the biggest danger to me, their twist-n-go ease leads them to a slack attitude in all aspects of their riding. I’m just relieved they can’t corner or go over 60 kmh, at least they don’t bother normal road users on the nice roads.


What do you think to the metaphor?



(i had wanted a photo for this piece, but as I’m sure you’ll understand that’s pretty challenging under the circumstances)

6 Responses to “Anarchy in the the bus lane.”

  1. Ed Ferrero Says:


    I ride an MP3 to work, it’s a scooter, but requires a bike licence (here anyway). I am an Excel MVP, but I develop solutions in SQL Server and Excel. I manage a SharePoint installation, and I have C# and Access guys working for me.

    Does that fit your analogy? Maybe :)

  2. Mike Staunton Says:

    Geneva – home to some of the most expensive and unfriendly taxis in the world

    I mainly stuck to the pavements or the scooter-free parks but also used the buses with their dedicated lanes – hope you get a chance to visit Carouge, one place of relative peace – and, even better, Chamonix and the Alps are only a couple of hours away via the autoroute

  3. Simon Says:

    Ed – are they any good?
    I got overtaken by a busa this am, I was going fast, he was going vv ffast, maybe its a cultural thing rather than a vehicle thing. i havent actually seen that many ‘sensible’ bikers either

    Mike – yep the taxis are shocking, firendly enough, but then they should be as they sit in traffic earning more than the average hedge fund manager.
    I’m staying in the alps, its worth the ride.

  4. Simon Says:

    other well known 3 wheelers (in the uk):

  5. Ed Ferrero Says:

    > Ed – are they any good?

    I’ll assume you are asking about the MP3, not the C# guys.

    I like my MP3. I frequently get asked ‘what are they like’? But I am not well qualified to answer the question.

    I started riding about 3 month ago, have covered around 2000Km on the MP3 so far. Never ridden anything else, except for the 125cc Aprilia scooter that I borrowed for one day to pass the riding test. So I can’t tell you how it compares to a ‘real’ bike. My comments, for what its worth;

    It can cruise at 100Km/hr without straining. It is heavy for a 250cc, so it will not take off from the lights as fast as a ninja – even the local V8 utes are a problem from the lights.

    I bought the thing to commute. It is very good for that, cuts the driving time to work by at least half an hour. That’s over a 13km trip. The road system here has been designed by illiterate farmers and improved by committees.

    Stable, good in the wet (we have had a very wet autumn here), good over manholes, bumps. Narrow enough to ride between two lanes of cars (legal here as long as the cars are not moving).

    The underseat space is big enough to carry a laptop and a projector.

    The reaction from fellow road users are mixed. Some abuse from ute driving drongos (google it) when I use the ‘middle’ lane. Some nice drivers, including the bus driver who moved aside a bit to let me pass between him and the cement truck.

  6. Simon Says:

    :-) yep I meant the MP3

    The drivers are very good at pulling over here too. but then again all visible space seems to be fair game here including the cycle lanes, pavements and grass verges.

    The thing I love about the bike is I don’t care about rush hour, the journey take pretty much the same time any time of day (I do ~35 miles each way)

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