Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Angry, the Stupid and the Sanctimonious

Yesterday, The Age ran an article about a cyclist who got knocked off his bike on Wellington Street, Collingwood. Don't worry, he was fine save for a couple of bruised knees. The article goes on to discuss some of the risks on the road and the increasing number of cyclists. Same old story.

Another thing that was the same old story was the readers' comments under the article. I haven't read all 119 comments, just the first 43, but I think I've read enough to get a good taste of what's on offer.

Basically, there are five types of readers; the measured response; angry drivers; sanctimonious cyclists; just plain angry; and the idiot. I've compiled some samples of each of these below. Sorry about the spelling and grammar; I thought about correcting it all, but it somehow seems more fitting not to.

The measured response

The measured response is a rarely seen response that must be celebrated when come across. It recognises that no one group is at fault and that everyone must make an effort to improve safety on the roads. If you take one thing away from this post, take this attitude.

As both a cyclist and a driver, I see and experience much of what has been mentioned in this article. However I think it's important that ALL road users start taking better care on the road.

There are many bicycle & motorbike riders who do very stupid things on the road, but there are equally as many car & truck drivers who so the same.

Mars - May 16, 2011, 8:45AM

Angry drivers

Angry drivers are angry. They hate cyclists and think that anyone who rides a bike is one of either a: self-important lycra lout; left wing pinky; a hipster on a fixed-gear.

I'm sorry, but I have no sympathy for cyclists. Firstly, they have attitudes. They somehow think they are better humans by riding instead of driving. Ok, it's fine if you are "saving the world", and "have an attitude" at the same time, but most of them don't obey traffic rules, especially in red lights, roundabouts, etc. And worse, many of them don't use lights, and don't use reflective clothing. I've come so close to hittng them especially in the dark and in the rain. Somehow, because they are "slim", they think they can manevour around traffic and intersection, creating dangers for everyone including themselves. When all cars become electric, and when everyone can generate his/her own electricity with solar panels and domestic windpower, cars will be as green as bicycles, and cyclists will no longer hold the "moral highground", but only "dangerous lowground".

Cyclists have attitudes and are dangers to themselves and everyone | Melbourne - May 16, 2011, 9:50AM

ok good ride to work but the law should be changed too, some ideas - pay rego any thing on the roads must be have rego, they should have .05 too, must wear bright clothing at all times, heavy fines , lose points on thier license if caught going through a red light, causing injurying to people who get off the tram's, not allowed to bring bikes on trains as they can ride to places. you want to be treated fairly so thier is some ides for the goverment council to think about. im sick of them everyday nearly get knocked or someone getting hurt for these wan kers dont follow the simple road rules they have

dom | melb - May 16, 2011, 9:00AM

I cannot tell you how many times I have nearly hit cyclists in peak hour. Mainly as a result of - no lights, dark clothing, weaving in and out of traffic, disobeying spped and road laws and thinking they are invincible. I dont want to hit a cyclist, but when they drive in front of my car and I am doing the speed limit, they will come off second best. Cyclists should be educated about safe ways to ride bikes, and dont blame all the drivers for the accidents.

Tim | Melbourne - May 16, 2011, 8:25AM

The sanctimonious cyclist

The sanctimonious cyclist thinks highly of him/herself. Some of them hate all drivers. Some of them hate cyclists who don’t ride by the book. Either way, they know they’re right and aren’t shy to let you know it.

As a cyclist, I would like to see a law that makes it illegal for cyclist to use roads when there is a cycle lane. I agree with M of Kensington - the idiots you see cycling on Footscray Rd when there is a perfectly good cycle lane off the road is amazing. I understand motorist frustration when they see cyclists do stupid things like that. I call on all cyclists to set an example for other cyclists including saying something to the morons who go through red lights.

Andrew | Melbourne - May 16, 2011, 8:41AM

Precisely! It's up to us, as cyclists, to set an example to each other, and bring peer pressure to bear on idiot red light runners. Every commuter cyclist has a responsibility to verbally abuse any fellow cyclist who disobeys the laws of the road.

Drivers run red lights all the time, and no one seems to mind. But if one cyclist does it, and all hell breaks loose. One way to begin to get some respect is to get 100% compliance.

Shane | Melbourne - May 16, 2011, 8:56AM

Hi Wally, are you saying drivers paying $625.00 for Rego and TAC should be happy to pay for those who contribute nothing to use public roads? Lets agree on the CBD being car free. Let cyclist pay for bicycle infrastructure. What would we have? **sound of crickets and the odd baby crying**

By the way, I cycle close to 100km a week on my Commencal Meta 4. I don't annoy car drivers or put myself in danger. Paths are paid for with our expensive Water Bill and Council Rates. And this, EVERYBODY pays for.

Surely those "angry cyclist" making comments do not own cars. Come on.

YJ | Off the Beaten Track - May 16, 2011, 9:26AM

(I'm pretty sure YJ was a bit pissed off that he couldn't put a link to a picture of his bike on The Age website, so I've put one here so you can check out how awesome his Commencal Meta 4 is...oh, and by the way YJ, the Meta 4 is no longer current, get with the program man.)

Just Angry

These people kind of just hate everyone. They're awesome.

I am a car driver, bike rider and I have never had a motor bike. Very aware of bike riders, but can't stand gung ho the road is mine, get out of my way abuse that comes from a certain group of bike riders. Bike lanes are a good thing, stay in them and off the major roads. Motorbike riders can go to hell. You seem to feel that you have a god given right to speed, weave in and out of traffic and that we all must be able to see you no matter where you are or might be 2 seconds later.

Yorkia | melbourne - May 16, 2011, 8:43AM

Shifting priorities is a positive authoritarian move.. One way the government can make the plight of the most vulnerable road uses (motorcyclists, pushbike riders and pedestrians) better would be to give all road uses the same experience. If people had to spend 2-3 years on a motorcycle or scooter before they can get a car license, attitudes would change. This would also have other benefits for road safety. The cage driving hoon problem would significantly drop. And as the article pointed out if their were more Motorcycles and push bikes on the road the will be more visible. But authoritarian changes are not going to happen, until the governments, are forced to do so.
So in the meantime the individual must make changes to their own road behaviors.
Question for motorcyclists: How many of you have a lead wrist? (Be honest to yourself)
Question for bicyclists and pedestrians: How many of you wear your I pods whilst riding or walking on the street? ( be honest to yourself)
And to the Lycra covered bicycle gangs out there, does the arrogance cease after you put your multi-thousand dollar weekend toy on the back of you 4WD?
The individual must change attitudes before the dream of government change.

Lonerider | Dandenong Ranges - May 16, 2011, 9:16AM

The Idiot

This is a special section just for "Chrish" (Chris? Cherish? Don't know, but definitely stupid).

It's the stupid bikes they ride! Particularly the handlebars. They're racing bikes, designed to get the bum up and head down. This greatly reduces both the rider's field of vision, and their height, making them harder to be seen by drivers. These style bikes should be banned from our roads except for legitimate training and competitions. The irony is you rarely see riders using lower grip on the handlebars, but even with the higher grip, the head is too low and too restricted in its movement. Commuter and casual riding bikes need handlebars that aren't too wide (an issue with the mountainbike style handlebars) and allow the rider's head to be high.

Chrish | Vic - May 16, 2011, 9:01AM

The End

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