Submitted anonymously by a reader of Cycle, this gives an impression of the negative feedback instant communication and keyboard warriors provide to cycling and why some people feel as if part of an outgroup.
Social media, Face book and Twitter, even the online comments section from the daily news, it’s all a part of the new generation of electronic communication. Anyone in this world can now have their voice heard. Everyone now has the ability to express their own personal opinion to the world. This new capability in communication is in the most part, unregulated. It doesn’t matter whether you have an educated opinion or you just wish to express your own personal frustrations. In today’s electronic age you too can be heard.
You may seek online approval and even find other angry and unhappy people just like yourself on both Facebook and in the Twittersphere. You don’t even have to look at someone in the face, you can just sit behind a keyboard and tell them how it is.
Is this a good thing? Is it healthy for us to have such unregulated freedom of speech? Are we smart enough to know how to use it? I don’t think so. It actually makes me sad.
This is Australia and we are Australians. We have had a few people want to destroy our way of life over the past one hundred years, and we have protected and defended ourselves and our society as a proud nation of people. As Australians we all support our Olympians and Cricketers as well as cheer when the Socceroos qualify. We say that we are proud to be Australian, which we are a free and fair dinkum nation. If it broke, I’d still like to think that we could tie it up with wire and get back on with the job?
So why is there so much hate on Australian social media?
I confess! I am a cyclist. I am a law abiding cyclist. Well I like you may have broken the law upon the rare occasion. You could count that time I accidently rolled through a lonely red light at 6am whilst cycling to work. I had only just got up to speed from one intersection before I then misjudged the changing of the light at the next. Maybe you want to judge me for the times that I ride on the road to avoid dangerous sections of cycleway on my daily commute. Maybe I am a bad cyclist because I ride on the road without a registration plate? Maybe it’s because I annoy you because I pedal so much slower than your car can accelerate, yet later I ride back past you again. It must be so damn annoying, or do you just feel that it’s unfair? Maybe you can’t stand the fact that I am smiling in the afternoon, or maybe you hate that I have that exact freedom that you thought you were buying when you handed the cash over for your zoom, zoom, zoom Mazda.
It must really hurt some people to hate on cyclists so much, because it so bloody hurts to read about it.
You watch the advertisements on TV, the beep beep Barina commercial, the sexy Ford ute and that beaut, tight manoeuvring Subaru commercial, even the zoom, zoom, zoom Mazda advertisement. They all pretend to sell you freedom. Yet come Monday morning you are usually trapped like a mouse in a trap, literally burning more hard earned dollars in fossil fuels. Poor you!
But wait, it is my decision to cycle. I want to stay fit, it’s also my job to be fit. I like to be healthy as I grow older and not have to rely upon the usual pill medications in the years to come. I really don’t find sitting in a car every morning and afternoon attractive anymore, nor do I believe it’s much fun. I enjoy de-stressing my mind in the afternoon, arriving home to see my wife and kids without downloading all of my crap onto them that evening. My family time at home is more valuable than that!
But ‘why’ do people hate on me for cycling?
No one hates on me when I don my military uniform, yet they all hate on me when I squeeze into my lycra to pedal home or early on a Sunday morning. This confuses me much as I am still the same man when I’m cycling, I’m just dressed differently.
You pigeon hole, or stereotype me as a cyclist. You call me names. You state that you want to run me over. Yet I am just a man, a long serving member of the Australian Defence Force willing to serve my country when in called upon, to protect the Australian way of life and its values.
Then I read on the web that so many of the Australian public want to deny me of the simple right to ride my pushbike. On social media I read so many comments containing so much hate towards people like myself who choose to cycle.
Lately I have pondered, ‘what is it that I want to defend?’ Why do I serve a nation of people so full of hate towards one another as well as myself?
What have I got to feel proud of?
There are people in Australia who actually choose to dislike other Australians because they just happen have a different hobby or even choose an alternative form of transport to themselves? This all makes no sense to me.
It is as they say, ‘senseless’.
The roads are built by public taxes, they are built for people and things to get from one place to another, carrying the life blood of this country like the veins and arteries within ourselves. Nobody owns exclusive use to them, they are our roads. They are for Australians to use. So why so much hate, why is it so damn hard to share the road, why can’t people drive safely and in a life preserving manner?
You don’t know who is riding the bike! It may be someone’s father, their daughter, or maybe a returned serviceman? It may well be that amazing doctor who saved the life of your niece, nephew, maybe your brother? It might even be the Prime Minister? No doubt it is a person with a life and a family that loves them.
Why are you so god damn special just because you choose to drive a car???