Stop Building Bike Lanes!


As a cyclist, I hear this so often that I can almost predict its arrival. Usually, it's shouted out of the open window of a tradie's ute as it barrels past me at a dangerously short distance, but it can come from vehicles as diverse as taxis, vans and the humble Hyundai Excel of a barely-qualified P-plater.

And it's really quite annoying.

Because when I'm on my bike, I'm as entitled to use the road system as anyone else. In fact, I can go anywhere on NSW Roads other than places where it's specifically signposted not to go. Generally, this means Motorways, but even the M4 allows cyclists. I have a right to the road and I use it.

However, both the Common and Lesser-Spotted Bogan seem to disagree with this. They appear to believe - and I'm hazarding a guess here, because they're not the most erudite of people - that cyclists don't actually have a right to use the road. They seem to think that I should be using the footpath or perhaps not riding at all. Well, I can't usually use the footpath. It's illegal except in three specific circumstances

1. If the rider is under 12 (I'm not)
2 If the rider is accompanying a rider under 12 (I'm not)
3. If the footpath is specifically marked as shared use. 

But what really intrigues me is how this idea has crept into the heads of a social group notoriously resistant to change? Was it always there? Probably not, if this photo is to be believed.


Although obviously the photo does not capture audio. It's possible the car on the right just executed a perfect 10-point GERROFFTHEFUCKENROAD and the cyclists merely didn't hear it.

The attitude is particularly prevalent here in Australia. I almost never experienced it when riding in the UK, back before I moved to Australia and largely gave up cycling. When I started again this year, I was slightly shocked to see how often riders are abused by drivers who either don't know the road rules or don't care what the facts of the matter are. And who are studied in seeing cyclists not as humans trying to get from A to B but as vermin trying to drag Australia back into the pre-motor age.

Anyway, back to this "cyclists should get off the road" thing. I did have an off-the-wall idea as to how this idea has crept in over time.

As we all know, there are few things the common and lesser-spotted Bogan likes more than a good, solid false dichotomy. This finds its most obvious expression in the with-us-or-against us tribal behaviour of the Bogan's favoured adversarial sports. The Bogan thrives on a team-against-team or man-against-man format, but struggles when there are more than two possible outcomes. They can't generally do sports where there are more than two teams involved (unless that sport includes V8 engines. Bogans will overlook almost anything to be within earshot of a V8). 

Slightly more subtly, it finds an outlet in the Bogan's preferred choice of media. The pages of the Daily Telegraph and the mid-evening current affairs slots on Seven, Nine and Ten are thickly sown with false dichotomies and my-way-or-the-highway thinking. You're either against asylum seekers, or you're some inner-city elite librul dickhead gay salad-eating homo lover. You either love rock fishing or you're a vietnamese one-legged hemp munching greenie who likes chardonnay. You either think hunting in national parks is a great idea, or you're Hitler's bastard offspring who wants to take away everyone's guns, cars and pit bulls and give them (counterintuitively) to the jews who run the world from their secret bunker in Erskineville.

And so to cycleways.

Friend Bogan sees a cycleway, and his "thought process" - for that is what we must call it in the absence of a better phrase - runs thus:

  • Oh look. A little special road for bikes
  • I've got a big special road. Aren't I clever?
  • I'm not allowed to drive my ute in the little special road.
  • The Daily Telegraph were very angry about that
  • Therefore bikes aren't allowed on my big special road
  • Ever
  • QED

With a special afterthought, wondering what QED means, which tails off when the Bogan is distracted by an advertising hoarding for four-n-twenty pies.

And so, "GERROFFTHEFUCKENROAD!!" becomes the mantra of choice when passing one of them tree-hugging, non-hunting, ute-less, left-wing, probably-gay-marrying atheist vegetarian cyclists.

So there's only one thing Clover Moore can do.

Stop building bike lanes.

Put us back on the roads, where we have a right to be.

And execute all the bogans instead.

posted @ Monday, August 6, 2012 1:20 PM


Comments on this entry:

# re: Stop Building Bike Lanes!

Left by Emerald at 8/6/2012 5:31 PM
In the Netherlands (often mistakenly called Holland), you'll find a rather different set of behaviors regarding bicycles.

We have bicycle paths, lots and lots of bicycle paths/lanes. There's no "GERROFFTHEFUCKENROAD!!" here, though!

Just for the fun of it, do an image Google with the search terms 'the Netherlands' and 'bicycles'.

Or just go to 'Cycling in the Netherlands' on Wikipedia.

# re: Stop Building Bike Lanes!

Left by RipleyP at 8/9/2012 8:43 AM
Alas with the lesser spotted Bogan you must also note that they fear choice on many levels. There is only one type of beer, the rest is for wankers. They also reserve their activities for the tribe only, no person of any other ethnic group is permitted to rock fish, and definitely no hunting as they can’t have guns in case they are terrorists.
I have on occasion seen the lesser spotted Bogan riding a bike, usually as a result of beer, V8 and road use. Of course these sightings have never included anything as silly as a helmet or use of the road, that’s what the foot path is for.
I have a suspicion that the lesser spotted Bogan has some special understanding of how laws apply. Especially ones that are inconvenient don’t apply to them.

# re: Stop Building Bike Lanes!

Left by Kimmo at 9/5/2012 2:15 AM
You don't have to give the slightest shit for the law to acknowledge that cyclists have a right to be on the road.

You merely need to acknowledge two basic facts: roads predate cars, and they are public space.
Comments have been closed on this topic.
Vaccination Saves Lives: Stop The Australian Vaccination Network
Say NO to the National School Chaplaincy Program