Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Mean Streets

Reading this article in todays Sun Herald was concerning, I think probably to all cyclists who spend a lot of time training out on the roads. But as concerning as it was, it is nothing out of the ordinary. This is the sort of terrorism cyclists face frequently out on the roads. Drivers are prepared to drive within centimetres of riders in order to save 10 seconds on there trip time, or let off their own frustrations on others.

It made me reflect on the article from radio national's resident reactionary Michael Duffy that encouraged me start up this blog. Duffy wants to ban the bike, because, he argues cycling as an activity and form of transport has proved itself to be the equivalent of communism. SHOCK HORROR. Try telling the 50 year old fatties at cafe racer with their colnagos that they're communists!

According to Duffy bikes are dangerous to ride and slow- well my commute time in Melboure takes 40 minutes less by bike than by car. And as for dangerous, 346 Victorians were killed on the roads in 2005 driving cars, and around 6000 were seriously injured. How many cyclists were killed Duffbot? How many car accidents were caused by cyclists more to the point.

He also blames cyclists for traffic congestion in Sydney- what we need is more highways, more tollways, more urban sprawl- that will improve traffic flows no doubt. Don't worry about the heavy reliance on cars, and the lack of public transport.

Nobody rides bicylces in Western Sydney he says. On what basis does he make this assertion?The Westlink people don't keep any statistics on the use of the bikepath. But according to Duffy, nobody rides on this new bike path. OK we believe you Duffbot.

Altogether, the Duff generates a lot of heat with his inflamatory arguments, but not a lot of light.

I think George Monbiot hit the spot with his article linking the rise of anti-social ideology with driving culture.

'I believe that while there are many reasons for the growth of individualism in the UK, the extreme libertarianism now beginning to take hold here begins on the road. When you drive, society becomes an obstacle. Pedestrians, bicycles, traffic calming, speed limits, the law: all become a nuisance to be wished away. The more you drive, the more bloody-minded and individualistic you become. The car is slowly turning us, like the Americans and the Australians, into a nation which recognises only the freedom to act, and not the freedom from the consequences of other people’s actions. We drive on the left in Britain, but we are being driven to the right.'

Duffy can count himself as one of the anti-social bastards, and we can do without his brand of individualism, which ignores the impact of individual behhaviour on the other. He is the intellectual apologist for road-raging hoons and yobbos everywhere. SHAME on you duffbot.


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