It was a dangerous case of tunnel vision that almost got a dinner delivery cyclist killed.
Main Roads CCTV captured the delivery cyclist riding through the Northbridge tunnel at 8pm on a weekday night as cars travelling 80km/h swerve to miss them.
Operators swung into action, closing a lane but even with the swift response, Main Roads said the cyclist was lucky to be alive.
The cyclist entered the Graham Farmer Freeway through the Loftus Street on-ramp and crossed over the Kwinana Freeway on-ramp to the tunnel without looking.
Cycling on the freeway is illegal.
“As soon as you enter the tunnel you don’t have any breakdown lane, you’re on a free-flowing traffic lanes,” Peter Sewell, Main Roads director of metro operations, said. “There’s a few blind spots in that tunnel and at 80km/h it would be a serious accident.”
At the Main Roads tunnel operations centre in Northbridge, operators monitor the tunnel 24 hours a day.
As soon as one spotted the cyclist, they shut the left lane.
The danger was not over once they were out of the tunnel.
Shocked operators keep tabs as the cyclist gets off at the East Parade exit, then walks back up to Lord Street, narrowly avoiding oncoming traffic.
“I would hate to have seen what would’ve happened if it was peak hour traffic,” Mr Sewell said.
Once the cyclist exited the tunnel they get off their bike and start walking it against traffic going 60km/m. Ironically there’s a cycle path right here just metres away.
“From some of the CCTV vision you can clearly see that person was disorientated looking at a Google map while trying to ride at the same time,” Mr Sewell said.
Blindly following GPS directions is a growing problem around the world.
“People have unquestionably been killed – we don’t even know really how often an accident is caused by driver inattention because of some device because in the wreck you only find a smashed up body and a phone lying on the floor somewhere,” Dr Graham Mann, a psychology and computer science expert, said.
“We suspect that could be quite common now, perhaps even as common as drink driving or drugs.”