Phonecall

I had a phone call today, someone wanted to know if I spend my day on the defensive or on the proactive front in cycling. I asked the question 'do you call me about how good cycling is or how bad?'.

Unfortunately, if you are into cycling advocacy you spend most of your time on the defensive. Often you feel like you are the tobacco or pokies lobby because you are always 'pedalling' something others don't want or will complain about.

An example of this is the action taken today by the Alliance against a Holden Dealership in Brisbane. This Holden dealership decided to jump on the bandwagon coursing through the veins of a Gold Coast anti-cycling paper where a journalist a few years back 'declared war on cyclists'. 

OK, so let's line up the ducks here. We have

  • The home of the Gold Coast Bulletin - A hot bed of seething rubbish writers that take every pop shot at the cycling community
  • Drivers for registration of cyclists - An ex-elite self-loathing cyclist that wants everyone to ride single file
  • Multiple hate pages spread across the state, concentrating in Brisbane itself
  • and a Holden dealership that thought it could win some likes and lol's 
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Today on 3AW, I was asked if we supported Hi-Vis for cyclists. I said 'No'. And here is why:

 CarSplaing

  • In 2015 10 riders in Victoria lost their lives, 9 of them involved motor vehicles, 8 of them were wearing Hi-Vis. The rule 0f 80% says that at least 7 of these were driver error.
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There is a war coming to Melbourne.

A war none of us want. but nevertheless a war. It is being done behind closed doors and a lack of communication on both sides. It is a Local Government war and is not supported unilaterally.

oBikeRow

oBikes are a dockless bike, they are no different from the other dockless bikes turning up all over the world, just another flavour from another retailer that is making money on our desire to move around with ease.

They cost very little to use, cost very little to maintain and therefore cost very little to lose. When your membership is growing and your customer base is happy to use the software and service, it is going to be a battle of words and tactical manoeuvring more than wits and winners. 

Of course we have the losers, the users of the system - like me - that now have to go looking for a bike to hire.

These bikes are just bikes. They are not some strange alien device, nor are they going to take over the streets of Melbourne or Sydney.

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State Bike Count reports:

Today's bike count by Bicycle Network NT has revealed, yet again, that more women ride in the top end by percentage.

So what is it that gets so many women riding in a stinking hot, sticky and sweaty environment like Darwin and Alice Springs? Why is it that this Australian territory is setting the trend for the rest of Australia?

Well it is a number of reasons. so let's take a look at what is different about Darwin and Alice Springs compared to the rest of Australia.

FemalesRidingDownunderPICTURE: Helen Orr

  • Darwin has lots of paths. These are dedicated to cycling, not shared with pedestrians
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To hate something, I mean really hate a thing takes a lot of energy. It takes more energy to hate than it does to accept, ignore or love something. Hatred is simply a lack of understanding. We have seen this time and time again.

RoadToadHeading

hate
heɪt/
intense hostility and aversion usually deriving from fear, anger, or sense of injury

The saddest part of hate is it blinds you from ever wanting to accept or understand a thing.

You cannot hate these things in polite society:

  • Different religions
  • Different nationalities
  • hell, this list is too long, so let's list something we can hate...

We seem to be legally allowed to hate people on bikes. In fact it is encouraged by many parts of our society. We are told that we crash more (we don't), we kill more (we don't), we cause congestion on bikes (we don't) and that we are risking our lives being on the roads (we aren't).

But what is really hard to understand is that social media helps to encourage and spread all these lies through pages dedicated to 'hatred'.

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It has to be said that I have always been a big advocate in cycling.   Even as a child I loved to ride my bike.

Over the past few years I've changed my opinion on a number of items when it comes to cycling, this has lead to a lot of internal conflicts in my own thinking. I haven't changed my love of cycling at any time, but I have changed the way that I cycle based on my current information.

To this day I still believe I have an open mind about anything and everything. But many people we deal with end cycling and in other road issues don't think the same way as we do.

This is not the end of the dialogue, it creates the dialogue. Much in the same way as you argue with your parents over what vegetables you would eat when you were a child, we have to convince other adults of different ideas and ideals they don't hold close.

Not everyone thinks the same as you!

Convincing someone to think like you is not easy. It comes at a cost and that cost comes in many forms:

  • your energy
  • your sanity
  • your friends
  • Even your family.

So why do we do it? What makes an advocate? Why put ourselves through this? These questions I cannot answer for others, I can only answer them for myself.

So why do I do it? It was a mistake that turned into a good idea that turned into a great idea that turns into Cycle.  Cycle is much bigger than I could have ever imagined and I am so proud of it, I guess I do it now because it's something I've always doing.

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