Harold Bishop has a posse

The Rae St Institute > Blog archive > Dole bludging fat kids on bikes -- how they're giving you speeding fines and trying to steal your hamburgers

ACA fired another salvo in the current bike media war tonight. I'm going to run with a full transcript first, then pull it apart.

RAY: Alright, let's take to the road now. Millions of us do it, every day in our cars. Some of us, I'm told, do it on bicycles. The two groups often seem to act like they're at war; that can put everybody's safety at risk.

OFF SCREEN: Watch out, watch out, he's coming through!

[Helmet Camera: truck speeds past]

OFF SCREEN: A truck! Jesus christ! Get his number plate?


JENNY WARD: They don't follow the rules of the road, they don't seem to know what they're doing, and then they all scream and whinge if somebody hits them!

[Helmet: white falcon speeds past]

OFF SCREEN: Here he goes! Watch out watch out watch out! Yeah, good on ya!

[Helmet: truck cuts off cyclist turning left]

ROSS HARDY: They just come... way too close. I mean I've actually been riding along and had a wing mirror clip my handlebar as they've come by at probably about 80 ks an hour.

JENNY WARD: They only care about their own safety! They don't care about anybody else.

REPORTER (David Eccleston): It's a quarter to six this morning. These cyclists have already been up for two hours. Not because they enjoy the winter chill, but because that's when most drivers are still asleep.

ROSS HARDY: If you don't have at least one near miss every training ride, it's been a good ride.

REPORTER: Ross Hardy and his mates have all learnt the hard way there's safety in numbers.

ROSS HARDY: You get the good old blast of the horn behind you. I've had full McDonalds drink containers thrown at me.


[Helmet Camera: A black Rover(?) sports car passes on the right, registration CWS-200 (could be CMS or CHS). Cyclist is riding along parking spaces.]
FRONT PASSENGER: And you wonder why you get hit all the time!

RIDER 2: I've been bumped by wing mirrors, and trucks and buses, they're just bloody ratbags, half the drivers out there.

REPORTER [in car]: When you're behind the wheel of a car, the last place you really want to be is behind a cyclist. They can be slow, unpredictable, and even reckless.


REPORTER [on bike]: But what about from this seat? You've got cars and trucks tailing you, beeping their horns, and hurling abuse. So if the road is there to share, how come I feel so intimidated here...


REPORTER [in car]: ... and infuriated here?

JENNY WARD: I dare not call them idiots but yeah, they are! They just weave in and out of the traffic, they come up on your blind side..

REPORTER: Jenny Ward had cyclists in a spin when she wrote to the local paper calling bike riders 'cane toads of the modern era'.

JENNY WARD: They behave like 12 year olds on BMXes. They think everybody in a car is mum! There's mum, looking out for a little kid on a BMX. They're grown up people! They should take responsibility for themselves.

RIDER 3: Oh look I think the biggest issue.. nobody seems to want to share the road.

REPORTER: The tragic death of Aussie cyclist Amy Gillett in Germany highlighted how dangerous sharing the road can be. Amy's husband Simon urged all of us to take more care on the roads.

SIMON: When you go past a cyclist on the road, just go past them as if it's your daughter or son or wife or husband that you're passing.

REPORTER: It's a familiar story. Cyclists killed or seriously injured.

UNNAMED: Please! Take care on the roads! You've got to look out for cyclists, you can't do this, it's not right!

REPORTER: What better way to understand the frustrations on both sides than to jump on a bike and experience it first hand?

REPORTER [on bike]: As you can see, they're not very happy with me. I'm going as fast as I can... that guy nearly took me out. ... Whoa! Got a bus right behind me! ... It's very, very intimidating. I'm going to turn off here, and let him go.


[pre-dawn footage of peloton riding through amber and red lights. Guy in a suit shrugging his shoulders
Was this Channel 7's Hell Ride Ambush the other morning?
]
REPORTER: It's reckless riding like this - going through red lights, riding on footpaths - that Jenny Ward wants to stop. The only way to do it, she believes, is to make cyclists get registered, like motorists.

JENNY WARD: I would like to see certificates of competence. They don't have to be big full licenses or anything just to ride a bicycle around, but a certificate of competence, if you want to be on main roads. If they've got an identifying plate like cars have got, you know who they are. And if they can be identified, they're not going to go on the footpaths and plough through the shoppers.

REPORTER: It's a suggestion that has merit, according to Alex Unwin, from Bicycles NSW.

ALEX UNWIN: If it improved the safety of cyclists, that would be a great thing. Most people, they're just like any other people in the community - they are good citizens, they want to do the right thing, they're part of the community. And so they're not going to per se have a problem with being, you know... taking up their responsibilities and obligations under the law because they make use of their rights on the road.

[Fork cam: White Magna pulls left in front of bike]
REPORTER[on bike]: This guy here's just cutting right in front of me.

RIDER 2: There's no hurry - if you get held up for a millisecond, big deal! You know, like, you're still going to get there. Doesn't matter, hey?

REPORTER[on bike, stopped at red light]: There's a few cars behind me, and it's going to be pretty slow to begin with, because as you can see, I'm stuffed. So... here we go again. ... Oh man! Here we go again! You dead set have to be out of your mind to do this.

[car toots]

[Back to Ray in the Studio]

RAY: Now my apologies for some of the language at the start of the story, I'm sorry about that.


Now to begin with, some may remember that I've visited the realm of ACA in the past, and I'm not, shall we say, Raymondo's biggest fan.

It's hard to take seriously an advertorial a "news" story that's preceded by this:


Exactly 80% of 25,000-odd people? EXACTLY? I find that a bit iffy. Even if you'd put 80.4% it'd be more plausible. As it stands it just looks dodgy.

But we'll give them a hearing, and see where it ends up.
RAY: Alright, let's take to the road now. Millions of us do it, every day in our cars. Some of us, I'm told, do it on bicycles. The two groups often seem to act like they're at war; that can put everybody's safety at risk.
Not TOO bad a start -- though Ray's comments are meant to be taken in no uncertain terms as the pulpit-delivered objective truth. "No Fear No Favour" ... my arse. (shh, conscience, I'm trying to be objective) And the problem here is his little snide throwaway "I'm told". As if nobody could seriously believe that people actually use bikes for ACTUAL REAL TRANSPORT (What a novel idea!) -- Ray can't seriously expect us to believe he's never seen commuter cyclists. The "I'm told" is a snipe. You could interpret the "millions" versus "some" as a snipe too, if you like, but proportionally it's about right.

Strike one against ACA.

Now the start of the article proper is a genuine novelty. Taking things from the cyclist's perspective - literally. A promising start.

But then a well-heeled nutter.
JENNY WARD: They don't follow the rules of the road, they don't seem to know what they're doing, and then they all scream and whinge if somebody hits them!

Hmm.. now let's see.

The three times I've been hit involved:
  1. A car running a red light coming off a freeway exit who trashed my bike (without injuring me, miraculously).
  2. Someone deciding to pull out in front of me out of the blue, hitting me as they pulled out, sending me flying, breaking my collarbone.
  3. Doored on Toorak Road by a man who then refused to give his details and claimed I'd staged the whole thing to fleece him for money. After about 20 minutes (including a Doctor who was on the other side of the road offering his details as a witness for me, and checking to see if I was ok, and the driver - coinicidentally called Ray - getting his friends from inside the restaurant he went into to come out and abuse me) of waiting for the police, he finally grudgingly gave his details. But not without trying to insult me, and in the process reinforcing all the stereotypes about aging short men who drive Mercedes Benz sports cars. Wanker
Now how, exactly, Jenny, do any of these three events involve me not knowing what I was doing or breaking the road rules?

We have a driver who ran a red light, and two drivers who both failed to look.

To ACA's credit they followed her rant with rebuttal outlining the situation from a cyclist's view - but in the same vein as the discussion re Frank Smith from Oaklands' letter published in The Age advocating violence against cyclists, is Jenny Ward's point of view necessary? How exactly does it do anything other than validate the opinions of dangerous nutcases like herself?

And it's telling that you can't find a cyclist advocating killing motorists - on balance this is a stance which is much easier to justify (cyclists making generalisations about motorists on the basis of motorists injuring/killing cyclists) than motorists advocating violence on the spurious justification of choice of clothing / being delayed by a second or two.

But either position is still insane.
JENNY WARD: I dare not call them idiots but yeah, they are! They just weave in and out of the traffic, they come up on your blind side..

I'm not going to make a comment about cane toads here, but... (HA HA! SEE JENNY I HAVE STOLEN YOUR INGENIOUS ARGUMENTATIVE BLAME-SHIFT!! WHAT A HEIST! I'M TOTALLY NOT MAKING COMMENT ABOUT YOU, JUST AS YOU'RE NOT CALLING CYCLISTS IDIOTS! BRILLIANT!)

This is a Bolt-esque bullshit self-justification - "I'm not going to say X, but... X!" - on Insiders a couple of weeks back Bolta tried a similar both-ways claim - that Sheik Hilaly was a wonderful man for putting himself in harm's way to aid Douglas Wood "But we mustn't trust him for a second" - and this was before the full story had come through. But I digress.

Now 'Act 3' of the article consists of advocating registration. In the past Vicroads people on 3AW have made the point that registration of cyclists would cost so much to administrate that it simply wouldn't be worth it.
JENNY WARD: I would like to see certificates of competence. They don't have to be big full licenses or anything just to ride a bicycle around, but a certificate of competence, if you want to be on main roads. If they've got an identifying plate like cars have got, you know who they are. And if they can be identified, they're not going to go on the footpaths and plough through the shoppers.

REPORTER: It's a suggestion that has merit, according to Alex Unwin, from Bicycles NSW.

ALEX UNWIN: If it improved the safety of cyclists, that would be a great thing. Most people, they're just like any other people in the community - they are good citizens, they want to do the right thing, they're part of the community. And so they're not going to per se have a problem with being, you know... taking up their responsibilities and obligations under the law because they make use of their rights on the road.
"If it improved the safety of cyclists."

That's the key thing. But I can't see that registering bikes will make them any safer. It'll just give motorists someone to whinge to. A lot of the issue (which isn't addressed at all) is that so many motorists have absolutely no idea what rights cyclists actually have, they just assume they know.

Jenny Ward falls all over herself.. Certificates of Competence? Registration? Which is it? They're very very different levels. And "plough through the shoppers"? Please. Give us a break.

MOTORISTS KILL THOUSANDS OF HELPLESS PUPPIES EVERY DAY USING HACKSAWS.

See, Jenny? I can spout hyperbole too.

Plus, why do cyclists need to go on the footpath? Most of this story is Sydney-based, and cyclists go on the footpath in Sydney (and elsewhere) because drivers force them off the road (sometimes physically).
JENNY WARD: They only care about their own safety! They don't care about anybody else.
What, and you care about other people's safety? Bullshit! You consistently advocate violence against a portion of the community because you believe they're irritating. There is no evidence supporting your claims of cyclists knocking down and injuring/killing pedestrians - it's purely malice stemming from the fact that perhaps you've got nothing better to do?

As has already been noted, the last remark, "You dead set have to be out of your mind to do this", is questionable. The 'cyclist as dangerous reckless nutcase' is a dangerous myth, because it justifies all kinds of insanity (like The Age's amazingly insulting "death of racing cyclist == CYCLISTS NEED A CRACKDOWN! OMGOMGOMGBBQ."), and people like Frank.

On balance, it's actually much better than their usual claptrap. But that Jenny Ward was all they could find (what about the NRMA? Anyone more rational?) is telling, as was the fact that in my last entry about ACA, the only person they could find to support their view on speed cameras was the NMAA.

No use of statistics, no comparison of what danger cyclists ACTUALLY pose (ie 0.7268 x Fuck All), and a perpetuation of the 'it's so frustrating and they're so reckless'
No, why don't YOU calm the fuck down?
myth.

But still, not too bad. What do you think?

Oh, and with Ray's last "sorry for the bad language" remark - What fucking bad language? Huh?! Is 'Jesus Christ' bad language now? I must have missed that memo.

3 Comments - [post a comment]

anonymous, Thursday, August 4, 2005, 9:04 PM
You are quite simply brilliant....
cfsmtb, Saturday, August 6, 2005, 8:17 AM
I still think the whole palavar further is irrefutable proof of continuation of the evil Imperialist pig-dog onsought against our larrikin streak. or something.

Aussie shearers rode Malvern Stars. What does Teflon Johnny & Ray ride? Frigging 4WD's? How UnAustralian!
cfsmtb, Saturday, August 6, 2005, 10:31 PM
Apols for that last remark. It was A Coopers Too Far Away...