Crikey Says

Mar 21, 2014

Crikey says: on your bike, Chris Mitchell

Bernard Keane says white men like him should think twice on race discrimination. The two rival theories on MH370 (still no news there). James Packer's Japanese casino flutter. And the Sydney Biennale boycott was tame stuff -- here are 10 better artistic protests.

The Australian ran an anti-cyclist editorial this morning. We've freshened it up by replacing "cyclists" with "cars" (and a few other tweaks).  
The menace of Chris Mitchell
The arrogant sense of entitlement in our inner cities is also evident in the ever-growing number of cars ... clogging up lanes on our congested roadways.
The problem of cars reached their apogee in Melbourne this week when a cyclist was "doored" on busy Collins Street, after a passenger opened a taxi door and a rider crashed into it. Neither the taxi nor the cyclist could be deemed at fault ... For too long, authorities have bowed to the demands of selfish cars and their lobby groups. Truth is, our cities are dominated by cars because they are sprawling. We have no equivalent of a giant car park for 23 million people and should stop pretending we do.
  People should be encouraged to cycle in our cities. Cycling reduces congestion, pollution and noise, is good for people's health, and means less of our precious city space is turned over to car parks. Our cities have been largely designed for cars, and that's creating problems and conflicts as more people ride. Yes, many cyclists do the wrong thing at times, but that's in part because the system doesn't work for them. We need to overhaul our roads to encourage cycling and make it safer. This will take time and money and will cause frustration for motorists. And when the roads are altered to give them a fairer go, cyclists must stop cutting corners. Common sense dictates that we can't keep running a road system that incentivises millions of people to drive solo in 1.6 tonnes of metal, fired by fossil fuels, as they go about their daily business. So we're inviting Chris Mitchell to take a ride with us, to experience the joys and tribulations of cycling first-hand. We'll even lend him a bike.

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13 thoughts on “Crikey says: on your bike, Chris Mitchell

  1. The diving swan

    You can’t even use the dead tree version of the Australian for toilet paper because the shit’s already on it.

  2. hector christopher

    The other side of the story is the poor pedestrians terrified by lycra clad aggressive bike riders who pedal as fast as they can along footpaths where they have no legal right to be – or try to make our parks unpleasant by speeding along shared pathways. Question them and the response is sheer aggro. In cities that really use bikes, like Amsterdam, they do not ride racing bikes and they move about at a civilised pace, and show appropriate dress sense. Interestingly, none of them wear helmets…

  3. JMNO

    Cyclists are damned whatever they do, Hector Christopher. Shared paths are a flawed solution where they are the main commuting route for cyclists trying to get to work on time whilst local take the dog (off-the-leash) for a walk along the same path or women’s walking networks conduct a talk-fest right across the path and don’t hear the bell, or anything until you yell at them from right behind. All groups can be at fault – the time-trial and thoughtless cyclists, the dog walkers and the pedestrians who don’t leave room for anyone to get past.

    The solution is abiding by the rules of traffic – keeping left, overtaking when clear and above all having good manners. What would be even better is having dedicated bike lanes on or off the road. But even where they exist in some parts of Melbourne, you will find the joggers and dog walkers on the dedicated off-road bike path rather than on the walkers’ path.

  4. PDGFD1

    Once again,
    NOT everyone CAN use a bicycle, and fewer by the year in terms of % of population.
    When cyclists pay a registration fee and the dross who give them a bad name can thus be identified, THEN one might be able to say ‘our’ roads.

    Meanwhile… could we perhaps have bicycles (and mobility ‘craft’) allowed to travel on one of the two ‘footpaths’ on each road… Car users look out for motorcyclists on the roads, and Bicycle riders look out for pedestrians on footpaths… problem solved!

  5. PDGFD1

    JMNO #2… yep… with you on good manners helps… but cyclists insist thy need dedicated lanes on roads whilst resisting registration and thereby regulation…

    If one footpath on each road were for the use of cyclists and mobility scooters… done, little expense, all happy.
    Cyclists would need to look out for thoughtless pedestrians and geese who think their dogs should be allowed anywhere (whom I don’t excuse and whom are a danger for motorists as well… ).
    Motorists would have to watch for motorcyclists, pedestrians, everyone crossing everywhere as they do now… solved!

  6. klewso

    “Cyclists” are fine – it’s the facilities they have to share that’s the problem, and the attitude of some, as to what they think is their responsibilities and what they’re entitled too.

  7. Jill Baird

    What good would registration do? Cyclists already get booked if the police catch them doing wrong, and a civilian would get nowhere reporting some infraction. And none of this “they should contribute to road costs” stuff. One, bikes don’t wear out roads like trucks and cars, and two, roads aren’t funded by drivers’ licences anyway. The only effect of registration would be to discourage occasional cyclists, and kids.

  8. PDGFD1

    JB #6,
    Mmm… Buy a bike, buy a license… easy.

    Maintenance of the roads…
    Seems to me that motorists are currently paying for the upkeep of the very bike lanes cyclists have assumed they are entitled to, and government bodies support to avoid providing decent public transport.
    Rego might go toward paying for that upkeep. Not to mention there would be great data on who actually rides bikes..

    Rego would indeed assist in reporting the ‘have-to-be-at-the-front-ers’, the ‘red-light-runners’, the ‘three-abrest-ers’ and the ‘who-cares-about-pedestrians-crossing-ers’ (phone cameras anyone?)

    Meanwhile:- Are cyclists prepared to share ‘their’ lanes with anyone perchance? Thought not.

  9. dog tank

    Most cyclists will also own a car and as such are already paying ‘their share’ of road tax, or more for those who drive 6 or 8 cylinder engine vehicles. Although that’s a largely irrelevant point as the majority of road maintenance is funded by the State governments and doesn’t take significant funding from the rego system. They’re funded by local rates & taxes, which once again most adults pay regardless of if they ride or drive. The rego system mainly pays for itself, insurance and emergency services, with any extra going towards big federal projects.

    Also how many people do you see every day in cars who are speeding, tailgating, running ambers or ignoring T2 lanes? Cyclists breaking road laws may currently be more high-profile but if you look at the causes & death rates on Australian roads the impact of their transgressions (both literally and figuratively) is low. Cyclists may make you grumpy, but cars can kill you.

  10. Electric Lardyland

    I’m still trying to work out how a cyclist being doored shows an arrogant sense of entitlement? And its curious how The Australian seems to think that neither the taxi nor the passenger could be blamed? All you have to do is to look behind you before opening a door, which reduces the chances of a cyclist running into the door to virtually zero. I mean, as a cyclist, I can assure you that we don’t run into doors for fun and we do look out for the signs of a door being opened. So I think if The Australian wanted to apportion blame, they could probably do so.
    But it so typical of their tedious, right wing demagoguery, isn’t it? That is, so much of the raison d’etre, seems to be to identify a minority and then whine about them.

    And well said, dog tank, I agree with every thing that you said.

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