A recent incident involving Shane Warne has resulted in a bunch of people calling for registration for cyclists.
I’d like to highlight a couple of points.
- Claims that cyclists have no right to be on the road because they don’t pay rego are just flat out wrong. As many point out, lots of cyclists do also have cars and are paying rego, but even for those such as myself who don’t own a car it is a false argument. Roads are not paid for by vehicle registration. They are payed for by everyone through taxes. Rego may help with upkeep, but since cyclists do virtually no damage to the roads then it’s hardly the case that they are getting a free ride.
- When was the last time you dobbed in a driver for talking on a mobile, not having a seatbelt, running a red light, illegal U-turn, cutting you off … or whatever, by noting their license plate and reporting it to the police? What are the police to do about unsubstantiated accusations of this sort anyway?
- This sort of thing always stirs up a lot of plain old bigotry. There are people that just hate cyclists for being cyclists, they try to rationalise it with an anecdote of that time they saw a cyclist do something wrong (which almost never did them any harm anyway) but it seems to mostly just be because they’re intolerant people who see cyclists as different from themselves. They do things like yell abuse, try to run you off the road, throw projectiles at you (sometimes with lights off so you can’t read the license plate so rego didn’t help there!), sabotage a world class cycling event, complain incessantly about lycra. They seem to mostly be offended that there are people not conforming to the societal requirement that you must love cars and use them to get everywhere (usually evidenced by the popular call “get a car” sometimes augmented by “homo”, showing evidence of a generally bigoted nature). What all cyclists have in common as a group is that they ride bikes. Some of them happen to be inconsiderate jerks with too little respect for other people – just like some motorists, pedestrians, public transport users …
- Pure Poison look at a typical anti-cyclist rant.
- This whole thing reminds me that I got knocked off my bike by a well-known sportsman once (no, I won’t say who) and it all ended very amicably. While he was in the wrong, his behaviour in acting responsibly in making sure myself and my bike were OK meant that I was happy to not make a fuss about it since clearly he’d made an honest error. I was also grateful to the other motorist who stopped to offer to be a witness if necessary. This one instance doesn’t say anything much in general but it’s interesting for me to reflect on how that could have turned into a big incident like the one in the papers at the moment if some of those involved had behaved differently.
- Update: Amber Halliday has some sensible advice at The Punch.