Gold Coast Bulletin journalist (I use the term with a great amount of licence and some degree of mirth) wrote an anti-cyclist rant the other day.
Here’s my riposte. It’s sad people still write crap like this, think like this, and publish utter crap like this.
Update 19 December. James May of Top Gear fame agrees with many of the points I make (and others have endlessly made) below. Read his article
Notably, James says:
I’m perfectly familiar with all the regular objections to bicycles and the cult of cycling, but they’re all just cant, really. Cycling has long been hijacked for political ends, but so what? It can be ignored, like the BNP. I get annoyed with people who bought a bicycle three weeks ago and now present it to me as if they’ve discovered the cure for all society’s ills. I know what they’re good for, and what they’re not good for. Among the latter is carrying a new refrigerator. Unless you’re Chinese.
Cyclists jump red lights and ride across the pavement, but so what? Cyclists are pedestrians really, since they are leg-powered. They’ve just added a few levers and cogs to improve their own efficiency.
Bicycles should never be regulated, they should never be subject to road tax, they should not require third-party insurance and competence to ride a bicycle should not be tested. It tests itself, because if you can’t do it, you have a crash. Bicycles are the first rung on the personal-transport ladder and should be free at the point of use. I’ll champion the bicycle until I’m worn through to the canvas.
All italics are my comments.
THE time has come to declare war on cyclists.
Wait, what? War? What do you mean, war?
They should be forced to register their bicycles, have insurance and be subject to breath tests.
Registration is a stupid idea. Please explain how this would ameliorate your anger or any of the problems you mention below. I’ve thought long and hard about registration and about the only reason for it is so people can identify cyclists.
Many people just hate cyclists and I could see the case where people would maliciously report cyclists where nothing wrong was done.
Do you ever see that happening with cars? Not really, no.
Really, there are so many compelling points against registration, but it appears you didn’t look into them.
Most cyclists DO have insurance. Most cyclists will be covered by some form of third party insurance like TAC (Vic), a driver’s green slip (NSW) and so on.
I’m not sure why even mentioning insurance, registration or breathlyser tests is even relevant, but hey, you’re having an angry white man rant (as in “Shit Angry White Men say” rant) so, it’s cool man.
The more you say, the sillier you look and the funner this becomes.
Book them when they hog half the road and motorists can’t get past. Book them when they cut motorists off at roundabouts. Book them if they are outside the bike lanes and book them for having a pack mentality.
In Victoria, you are only allowed to ride 2 abreast in a car lane. If police don’t enforce that law, that’s a police/enforcement issue.
Additionally, cars are required by law to not pass cyclists whilst in the same lane. Obviously this isn’t practical and most cyclists are pragmatic and accept that cars will whizz past rather close.
Just give us 1.5m ok? No one wants to not get home to their loved ones because hot head idiots like Meers can’t be patient (or ride or walk the 3km to their friend’s house).
Notwithstanding all that, I agree with the contention that cyclists where possible, safe, practical and reasonable, should ride single file on narrow roads to aid motorists’ journey (as is the case in the Esplanade in Broadbeach).
I also agree no one – motorist or cyclist – should cut people off at roundabouts. In a cyclist’s case it’s just plain silly and putting your own life in danger.
I’ve seen cyclists do some really silly things and can understand motorists’ fear and trepidation around cyclists. My mum just can’t handle being near them. People will be people and do silly things whether in a car or on a bike so we just need to drive and ride defensively on the road to mitigate risk.
On pack mentality – you are joking right? Isn’t that a bit like the pot calling the kettle black?
It’s not illegal to ride outside bike lanes, as far as I am aware. In any case, Daniel, in many, many cases, it’s unsafe to ride in bike lanes. The reasons for this are manifest.
But yes, everyone should behave courteously on the road. Bikes and cars alike.
Enough is enough. They are running the roads and it is downright dangerous.
This comment makes you sound downright stupid. Cyclists are about as close to running the roads as Melbourne Footy Club is to winning a premiership.
Honestly, this is just plain dumb.
Police and the State Government love giving themselves pats on the back for statewide traffic operations. Stopping speeding and drink-driving and lowering the road toll, but nobody ever mentions a word about cyclists.
Yes, they do.
The problem here is cyclists are disproportionately represented in crash statistics and deaths when involved in any sort of accident. Seeing as it’s a hard ask to get motorists to change their tune quickly enough, police DO target cyclists.
Melbourne in particular often targets poor cycling behaviour.
I’d know. I’ve seen it.
Obviously you haven’t or else you’d not make such (another) stupid comment.
They are a law unto themselves and they know it.
No, we’re not, and no, we don’t.
The other day in Alstonville, a 60 year old cyclist was riding in town and a loon in a car got out, pushed him over and assaulted him.
I could list dozens of other like cases, but probably none where it’s the other way around.
Or, I could list all the times I’ve been run off the road on my bike, when riding defensively and minding my own business.
I sure showed those motorists who was boss!
Their arrogance on the road can’t even be measured.
You’re right, it can’t. Because there is no measure for arrogance.
There’s also no measure for shit journalism.
As a journalist, I often get asked what politicians, sports stars and celebrities are “really like”.
Nobody, I repeat, nobody shares the arrogance that cyclists have.
Did you just write this?
People are people. Whether they ride a bike, play AFL (some of them seem arrogant), write newspaper articles – some are arrogant, some are not. Some are capable of great journalism, some are not.
Each morning I go running. OK, some of the power walkers overtake me running, but I still run.
I meet a friend at her place every morning which is about a 3km drive from my home.
It takes me a good five minutes to get there.
Because at 5am the streets of Broadbeach and Surfers Paradise are filled with cyclists. They ride in packs, big packs of 20 and they take up the whole road in their lycra gear.
I’m stuck sitting on 30km while they ride.
Wait, you DRIVE 3km to a friend’s house to exercise? Really? I don’t know what to make of that. Apart from the fact you’re probably really lazy.
I know what to make of your vignette. It stinks. Ok, so you get held up by cyclists. Whoop de doo.
In any case I think it’s awesome cyclists are out at 5AM exercising. Rather than driving at 30km/h to their friends house to go for a walk.
As an aside I reckon you could ride to your friends house at 30km/h.
Why mention lycra? Irrelevant.
And technically, you’re not “sitting” if you’re doing 30km [sic].
They know I’m behind them, yet they make no attempt to move.
If they’re riding more than 1 abreast, I agree, that’s just rude.
A couple of times you consider passing them, but it’s too risky.
If I was to knock one over it would be my fault.
Yes, it would. Not sure on your point here. Perhaps you’re saying you should be allowed to play cyclist skittles?
Why do they do it?
Why do people open fire in primary schools and kill people. Why do people drink drive, hit pedestrians and kill them? Why do people speed? Why do people run red lights? Why do people write shit journlism?
It’s a people problem. Not a cyclist problem.
Because they damn well can.
No arguments there because you actually made sense.
Authorities let it happen.
The two-wheeled, arrogant, lycra-clad people look at motorists as if they are invading their territory. It’s plain wrong.
Quite often you’ll find that cyclists DO feel like you’re invading their territory.
Most cyclists have probably had a close shave with cars and are HYPER SENSITIVE about their safety.
Plus, if you yell at us when you go past, our first reaction is “What is this dickhead yelling?”.
There’s a rogue peloton of cyclists abusing fellow road users and screaming to wake sleeping residents as it barrels through Surfers Paradise every morning at 5.
Woken residents who return fire with yells of “shadup!” are subjected to tirades of abuse from riders as they blast along narrow Garfield Terrace.
So, we talk. Worse things will happen. I doubt they’re rogue. They’re just people out for a ride.
I doubt people are out abusing people. If they’re yelling at road users, it’s likely for a reason. If you’d ridden in a group before, you’d know what I mean.
I could go on about rogue motorists doing burnouts at midnight, drink driving or street racing, but I won’t. Oh wait. Food for thought, at least.
“It’s like something out of Lord of the Flies,” said one resident.
I strongly doubt that.
The above story is a daily occurrence on our streets and nobody seems to care.
That’s not true. You care about it. Perhaps a little unhealthily, but you care.
Police need to start cycling operations. Make them too scared to do anything wrong.
They already do. And in any case, it’s not a case of making people scared, most people DO do the right thing (same thing goes for motorists).
Now, the cyclists will argue there aren’t enough bike lanes on the Gold Coast. Council and government don’t provide them with the facilities to ride.
I don’t know where to start with bike lanes.
Most bike lanes are poorly implemented and dangerous.
Plus they give people like you reason to complain. If they popped up everywhere I can imagine you’d be beating your “I’m sick of all these bike lanes being built” drum.
Having said that, if councils built bike lanes in appropriate places and built them properly, most cyclists would use them (have you been to Melbourne?).
In any case, it’s just not practical to have bike lanes everywhere.
If the police did their job and cracked down on the cyclists for a while motorists might get the roads back to themselves; after all, they were invented for cars.
Oh man, did you really write that with a straight face?
Bikes have been around since the early 1800s (cars came decades later).
Check Wiki for a start. This website is also a good place to learn.
Police have many more serious things to worry about than these so called Lord of the Flies cyclists who are exercising and causing journalistic conniptions.
Bicycles are just as big a danger to road safety as some of the other driving crimes which contribute to serious accidents.
How did this get past your editor? This is pure drivel. Skin and bones cyclists on bikes weighing under 10kg versus 1-2 tonne metal cars travelling at 40-100km/h.
I assume you didn’t do physics at school. Nor have you ever been hit by a car on a bike. Nor have you seen the result of a car colliding with a cyclist.
Driving on a busy road trying to dodge cyclists when cars are coming in the opposite direction is one of the most dangerous things you could do on a road.
Again, how did this get past your editor? There are plenty more things you could do that are exponentially more dangerous, like:
- Running a red light
- Drink driving
- Failing to give way then hitting someone
- Passing someone on double lines
I didn’t even try that hard to make you look foolish there. That’s like serving an underarm lollipop up to Bradman. THWACK! Hit for six.
Yet police do nothing about it. Start an operation and if it doesn’t work, ban bikes full stop.
Ban cars full stop for 6 weeks. Then ban bikes. Let’s see what has a bigger effect on police resources, crash statistics, hospital admissions and ruined lives.
Hint: it won’t be cycling that’s the issue.
Enough is enough. Motorists need to start manning up and being vocal about the issue.
Roads are for cars, not bikes.
Wrong. The first roads – private – were paved for bikes. Bikes came before cars. Bikes have as much right to be there. You can file this with “cyclists don’t pay road tax”.
Again, refer this website to fix gaps in your knowledge.
Make some noise people, win the roads back before something really bad happens.
And believe me, it will.
Yeah, start throwing bottles at us, bricks too, or running us off the road, or whatever else you feel like. [Note: that is sarcasm].
Articles like this make me sad.
They make me sad as some people actually nod in agreement and some even start thinking about taking action.
The roads are dangerous enough – for everyone – without unnecessary road rage caused by shit journalists writing bullshit articles in bullshit newspapers.
The sad thing about this is most motorists are awesome toward cyclists. I’ve lived and ridden extensively in Melbourne and in the Byron hinterland and motorists especially up here are awesome. Almost always a wave.
Perhaps it’s a city thing.
Daniel Meers appears to have never ridden a bike on the roads before, so I’d like to invite him to come for a ride with a bunch of us to see how respectful and law abiding we are, and to see how motorists treat cyclists on a general basis (good, usually) and exception basis (very ugly).
I doubt he’ll take me up on this though as it’s easier to just be angry.
Then again, maybe he just looks crap in lycra and is jealous.
Note: 1000 people agree my article is crap but then I am not a journalist.