It’s no great secret that cyclists are one of Miranda Devine’s numerous betes noires, but her latest salvo against pedal-pushers is perhaps the strangest yet.
In her column for today’s Daily Telegraph, Devine gets well and truly stuck into Sydney lord mayor Clover Moore’s proposal to open new cycling paths along Castlereagh Street. According to Devine, Moore is “desecrating more of our beautiful city” and waging a “jihad” on motorists.
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“The truth is the only way to push more people onto bikes is to make the alternatives worse, and that is the Lord Mayor’s secret plan. She doesn’t care if no one uses her bike paths, as long as they make driving unbearable.”
But the weirdness begins at the end of the article, when Devine makes a rather tenuous analogy.
“They [cyclists] are like Israel’s settlers, ideologically driven to colonise ever more dangerous territory.
“How many have been lulled into a false sense of security about their entitlement to ‘share’ the road with monster trucks and extra-long buses, only to have been killed or injured when utopian dreams collide with the reality of Sydney’s gridlocked streets?”
A bridge too far, perhaps? Devine also writes that the “green-Left” secretly want cyclists to get hurt to justify the building of new bike paths.
But Devine has a long history of declaring war on those who get by on two wheels. Back in 2009 she wrote an opinion piece for The Sydney Morning Herald that made similar claims:
“The ideologues who have fostered the road-sharing lie must think a few dead cyclists and pedestrians are a small price to pay for getting cars off the road.”
The piece received nearly 500 comments and was widely circulated on cycling forums by those who did not appreciate being called frivolous, irrational and aggressive.
Devine wrote about the issue again in 2012 after ex-cricketer Shane Warne had an altercation with a cyclist while driving his Mercedes home from the MCG. In a series of tweets, Warne called for new regulations requiring cyclists to register themselves like drivers. Opined Devine:
“Warne is right. Motorists are sick of the silent two-wheeled menaces on our road. We are sick of the way they weave through traffic, run red lights, come out of nowhere and ignore road rules to suit themselves.”
She made the point that cars and trucks and buses were bigger and heavier than bikes, but rather than advocating safety for cyclists, the point was to get them off the road entirely:
“The only winner is physics. And what that tells us is that when a two tonne block of steel comes up against flesh and blood and lightweight aluminium tubing, there is no contest.”
Devine used almost exactly the same lines in a 2014 blog post called “Cyclists’ lethal entitlement mentality”.