This is far more interesting and the truth of those scammed by an ex-bicycle racer. I dare you to read this
This is far more interesting and the truth of those scammed by an ex-bicycle racer. I dare you to read this
I always read this every time I see some stupid story about someone doing a stupid thing on a bike.
"This is why motorists hate us" - "He is making it harder for all of us" - "If he gets killed it will be his fault" and the worst one in my opinion "There goes one for the Darwin awards".
Let me introduce 3 ideas for you to soak in before you read on:
I used to be the worst sort of bike rider. You moved out of line in the bunch "hey - hold your line" (ok - that one i still do). "Where is your flaming Helmet!" was a favorite. So was "You just ran a red light, don't you know the law."
Known for my holy-than-thou attitude I was forever beating my chest about how bad every other cyclist was on the road - oh, and don't get me started on the Ninjas that ride in black without lights at night, or the compulsive yeller who tells everyone off but himself.
I never did wrong (or so I told myself), so it was a feeling of self-righteous indignation that I used to complain about the 'other riders' on the road that 'give us all a bad name'.
But during my years of not riding, not once did I ever accuse all bike riders of the actions of a few. In fact as a member of the human race, I try my best not to generalise. I try not describe any racial or religious group as - 'Those guys are all x'. I don't say all X's are racists, I just don't like to judge groups by the acts of a few of their members.
But yet as a bike rider, I seem to not only be dictated by the actions of a few, I seem to allow myself to be tarred with the same brush. I actively look for ways to say "It's these cyclists" or "These bike riders" and it is always in connection to why people hate us.
Let me breathe a tip of truth into your life.
People hate... for unknown and unreasonable reasons, people will hate bike riders.
People generalise things they hate - and that is why we have racism and attacks on minority groups.
People attack what they don't understand.
So here is a generalisation for you, those people that want to hate on cycling, it doesn't matter what the reason is, they will hate on cycling.
Some will actually claim to support cycling, but when confronted with a logical discussion, they will turn it around to attack it any way they can.
As a child, I never did the right thing - growing up in a country town with a mere 3000 people, riding was the only way to get around (unless you could be bothered walking) and from the age of 6 I was riding to my best mates place before and after school.
Hell, as a child we used to get up to so much, and then blame our youth. Oh the fun we had, the lost 'bark' on knees just gives me stories for my kids and the scars on my arms show a youth well spent. I have broken more ribs as a kid than I have eaten as an adult. Kids today don't get to have as much fun, we wrap them up in cotton wool and tell them to play inside where it is safe.
So, what's my point, I am making it look pretty bleak out there. You would think that reading a very biased piece from me, but you would be wrong. The truth is that those with the belief everyone hates them are the bleak. In reality most people support riding, they either know someone that rides or ride themselves. They may have a bias towards a certain dress code but they are all for riding. Millions of Australians ride a bike at least once a year, hundreds of thousands ride every week. Mode share is increasing... Let's stop this lie that other riders represent how you ride.
I have representation with certain organisations when I ride, drive and even walk. One of those companies is the RACV. I have been a member of the RACV since 1993, and I have had roadside assistance until this year. I am yet to see the RACV, NRMA or any other motoring company in the World apologise for cars running red lights. In fact we have seen these organisation defend and fight for their members when speed cameras were put under the microscope.
So how come they don't think we are all speeding drivers that jump red lights? In research conducted by Monash University and in documentaion from the AAMI index of 2009 - 5% of motorists run red lights and a massive 25% of drivers were booked for speeding. So - does that make all drivers red-light running speedsters? One would hope not, but yet we are left with the burning desire to accept blame for every rider that breaks the law. Why?
We need to accept that people will hate what we do, we know there are people in this world that just want to pick on those different from them. We call them names, accuse them of belonging to certain groups. We tell them they are fools, and we treat them with the same disrespect as they give to us. Some of those that hate cyclists have no reason, they are just jealous.
Don't take it personally, don't retaliate on the road, and don't jump up and down how you saw a bike rider breaking the law unless you are prepared to record every jay-walker, every redlight running car driver, every tailgating truck. Because unless you are prepared to call out on every other road user, you are not helping the problem - you are adding to it.
Haters will hate, we will have the last laugh, as people that have a lot of hate in their lives die younger.
Don't perpetuate the lie, shut it down. If you ride with in the law, just say that. Stand up and say -
"This rider does not represent me."
--Last point to make, when researching this piece, I found hundreds of posts with the search 'its riders like these' - most of them were about Motorcycle riders, have you ever thought that one type of motorcycle rider represents all motorcycle riders?
A great ABC Catalyst report to watch is this one on iView:
From Wikipedia we can read that:
The Idaho stop is the common name for a law that allows cyclists to treat a stop sign as a yield sign, and a red light as a stop sign. It first became law in Idaho in 1982, but has not been adopted elsewhere. A limited form of the law called "Stop as Yield", that deals only with stop signs, has expanded to parts of Colorado and been considered in several other states. Advocates argue that current law criminalizes normal cycling behavior, and that the Idaho stop makes cycling easier and safer and places the focus where it should be: on yielding the right-of-way.
Or if you want to see it in action, check out this video all about how it would work in other areas as it already does now in its home state.
We see the Idaho stop as a way to keep riders moving when conflict can happen on the road. Stop signs are there for a reason, but the reason is to get the vehicles to slow down long enough to cross the road or enter another road safely, this can still be done by the Idaho stop. The ability to be able to slow to a stop with out putting your feet on the ground is very common for cyclists, but if one does this at at stop sign, they risk a fine. These fines in the operations conducted by the police are not consistent with the normal or day to day operation where we see all traffic users not stopping at a stop sign.
Cars, like all vehicles are driven by humans, and we all make mistakes, but when you see a stop sign, it is pertinent to actually stop. In this video we watch a total of 13 cars out of 55 obey the law, the other 42 failed to stop at the stop sign. (Video courtesy Paul Martin).
This is a great way to allow the cyclist to keep moving, less dangerous than a car, riders are also more aware of what is around them - even with headphones on. Riders are able to see with nothing in the way of their vision and are therefore in a better position to judge their own safety. And even with more cars on the road, it only takes a moment for a rider to put their feet on the ground and wait (which we see them do often).
The traffic rule is very simple to allow this to happen, and doesn't require a large change in our own laws. As it is written into the Idaho rules as the Idaho Code number 49-720 - Stopping - Turn and Stop Signals:
(1) A person operating a bicycle or human-powered vehicle approaching a stop sign shall slow down and, if required for safety, stop before entering the
intersection. After slowing to a reasonable speed or stopping, the person shall yield the right-of-way to any vehicle in the intersection or approaching on
another highway so closely as to constitute an immediate hazard during the time the person is moving across or within the intersection or junction of
highways, except that a person after slowing to a reasonable speed and yielding the right-of-way if required, may cautiously make a turn or proceed through
the intersection without stopping.
In our own road code it could be adopted as easy as allowing cars to turn left on red in Brisbane by the Brisbane City Council.
Very few jurisdictions around America are brave enough to introduce something like this. It is tough to change a law, but many are fighting for it. We should be fighting for it in Australia as well. VeloNews wrote a great article that started with a quote from Abraham Lincoln - "The best way to get a law repealed is to enforce it strictly." In other words, if we want to see it change, then we need to see everyone fairly and evenly getting booked for it, it will then be seen for the over zealous nature of controlling the vulnerable while providing no real protections to cyclists.
Like all changes to a law that makes a nanny state look like they are giving a little a way to the Cycling Community, we need to ensure we don't lose other rights as a trade off. Nothing speaks weaker of cycling than increasing fines to make riding look more like driving by penalizing those that chose to ride bikes. We saw this with the #ametrematters laws when introduced in Queensland. Our law makers need to remember who the killers are on our roads and stop blaming bikes for all their woes.
If it isn't enacted into law, then we can at least de-criminalize the act of not stopping, putting it under the 'riding furiously' rule if someone is dangerous or ignores the controls at a road way. No one wants to die, but some people that take high risks in their behaviors should not be the cause of this not changing. If that was the case, then we need to stop selling performance cars, high end motorbikes and even jet skies - all of these kill people by misuse of a very small percentage of our population.
Besides, we don't ask motorists to put their feet on the ground to demonstrate they have come to a complete stop.
Wirte to your Minister for Transport and tell them why having to put your foot on the ground is not as smart as it seems, tell them that riding is a normal activity enjoyed by millions of Australians and we want to make it even more accessible, and list why you want this simple change in the way we move around.
The Idaho stop is a simple change to the existing laws, let's work on getting something introduced in Australia that is a common sense approach to riding.
It is really quite simple and, yes, most of the time it is about moving donkeys.
We all know Donkeys are great workers - when they want to be, and can carry and tow incredible weights.
So what do we mean when we say we need to use the Carrot and the Stick... Surely it is one or the other?
Well, let's look at this analogy.
The Stick is a tool to punish. Some of us are old enough to remember the threat of the cane, the punishment from the Head Master. The fear in our eyes as the tears began to flood and that was before the call to the Head Masters office. The Stick will always be assosciated with the trouble you get into, it is never the reward.
The Carrot is a reward, you get a carrot for doing well, being good, obeying instructions. The carrot is a happy prize to a Donkey. Let's face it, a carrot is a damn good thing for a hungry Donkey...
But if you are clever, and if you have something to tie the two together, you have a tool. You have the Carrot and the Stick, not as a reward or punishment, but together it can set the direction. If we can find the carrot and stick in all the things we do, we can change the minds of the detractors, work with the people of influence and build a community of goodwill.
The Carrot and the Stick can be a way to get results that going to work for everyone.
When Cycle works on projects, one rule we have is to deliver a Stick - we must first have a Carrot. Even in the hardest environments, we always look for the Carrot.
Well as it turns out, a number of injuries every year are from Bike Lanes and the use of them by riders doing the right thing. Injury stats for riders becomes a hard number to crunch, when there are so many unreported crashes the numbers become increasingly meaningless unless you look at the straight numbers. So lets look at the dooring issue in Victoria:
Extent of car dooring
The best available data on the extent of car dooring crashes is provided by police-reported crash data:
Car Doorings are responsible for some tragic loss in our riding community in Victoria with the loss of several riders in the past few years:
Some times, the best advice we can give is to not use the bikelane at all as seen in this video.
Other times you look into bike lanes and all you see is rubbish left behind or potholes, unfinished road works, even the odd dirty nappy. (like here)
Bike lanes are what they are, they are not a point of separation from the motorised vehicles, they are not a safe and protected area. What they are is a visual guide for cars to stay away from, drivers to be aware of and pedestrians not not walk into with out checking.
When Green Paint is used it is even better - for the visual cues at least. The Climbing Cyclist, Matt De Neef made a video back in 2013 on the St Kilda Rd bike lanes, and although they have improved, every thing you see in this clip still happens today, motorists need to be careful, driving beside them or getting out of their vehicles and pulling into traffic over these sacred sections of Green.
We have to accept them as we go forward, we know they will continue to be used in areas like St Kilda Rd, but what we really need to do is get the public awareness around bikelanes and to show the rest of Australia why we ride where we ride.
We will leave the last words to a video found online today on News Corp(se). Co-Existing on St Kilda Rd. We are waiting to see if this will turn into a complete article, but until it does we feel this is a message that has to get out there.
Today we saw at least 1200 to 1600 bicycle riders, from experienced; elite racers to kids as young as 6, on Yarra Boulevard in Kew (aka Kew Boulevard) for a protest organised by George Mihailides and Marco Luthe. Supported by the Australian Cycle Alliance, St Kilda Cycling Club, The Freedom Machine, Peak Cycles, MediaWise, Cycling Victoria, Bicycle Network, and many more (please message us so we can add you here).
Well supported by Victoria Police, and VicRoads present, it was going to be an eye-opener for everyone. We can report the protest went with out a single hitch. No abusive behaviour from any car drivers during the ride and no people being silly, just a well organised ride over the Kew Boulevard.
There was no mistaking, this was a protest! As cyclists we are tired of having to retreat further and further from normal roads to ride on with the sheer freedom that this gives us, it is like a piece of the country in the middle of the city, a peaceful place we you will hear the birds chirping and the sound of the wheels on the asphalt, it is an area we can all enjoy.
But we have moved away from the shoulder of the road, that little 1.8m wide safe-ish zone next to the traffic lane. Now we have to use the same lane as the cars. They don't seem to mind, in fact if you give them a wave they often smile and wave back - they get it, they don't want you to have a flat.
So let's look at the problem, why all the fuss? It was around January 25th, 2014 when we received a phone call about tacks being left on the road in the boulevard, was it just an accident? we all hoped so, and in the coming weeks we thought they would stop. But they didn't. In fact they got worse, and with every story in the news we would see an increase, then they would almost go away. The cost, the cost is huge. Only a little is borne by the riders. We feel sorry for the locals, the rate payers of Boroondara Council (City of Harmony). The residents pay the most to clean this up.
All of us taxpayers pick up the bill too, from VicRoads and Parks Victoria as they have to clean the area all the time, and keep it safe. The Police have to run more patrols - this is all part of the cost. The inconvenience to the riders is low compared to the cost to the community.
Things are being done, well, some things are being done. Instead of 'hiding in the bushes' the council have put out several puncture repair stations. These already have a lot of signs of well use. Sadly they can't be every 100 metres, but they are handy.
It is some help with the aftermath, but is not fixing the problem. The problem is there is a human being amongst us (or more than one) that wants to kill another human being. This person is of the opinion that killing someone on a bike is sport and fun. IT ISN'T - and like many of my friends, we have our families use this road, to commute to work, to train on for kids racing and to have some recreational area that they can enjoy themselves.
Riding a bike through here is no different than driving a car or motorbike for fun or pleasure, or to get from Kew to Abbotsford. many people do it, so why the anger about bikes?
Well, as George said today in his speech - we will not be moved. We are resolved to continue to use the Kew Boulevard and to enjoy ourselves doing so. We are resilient and strong, we can fix a flat and move on. Nothing will change this.
But if you know how it is, if you know who is threatening the lives of Children, Women and Men, you need to speak up. Please call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000. They need to know, they need the information so they can find the perpetrators - we need this to stop.
Photos provided by @ShaunTPhotos
We disagree with the maths provided by VicRoads, we think it works a little more like this:
Every lap of the Boulie takes 30 minutes and you will normally see 2 riders in that time with flat tires.
Multiply normal riding time out, and you get:
2 x 10 (5 hours of riding time divided into 30 mins)
= 20 x 465 days x 10 a tube = $93,000
2 x $2,500 (per week to clean using magnet refitted sweeper)
=$5,000 x 18 Months (67 weeks) = $335,000
(police monitor the Blvd with at least 2 officers every day)
=2 staff to monitor (at $65,000 per annum) = $162,500
That is $93,000 to riders (at the top end of the estimate)
But a whooping $497,500 in Taxes and Rates.
There is a good reason to put cameras up just to save their own money.
7.45am Riders were already turning up in droves.
8.00am Police overview completed and safety discussion done.
8.30am Media were circulating and talking to the organisers.
8.50am The speech was delivered by George and a quick safety review by Cycle.
9.00am The ride was underway. 1200 to 1600 well organised and positioned riders with a police escort.
The Age newspaper: Stop the tacks: Kew Boulevard cyclists say enough is enough
ABC News: Angry cyclists launch protest ride over Yarra Boulevard tack attacks
3AW Radio: Stop the Tacks: Protest over dangerous anti-cyclist movement on Yarra Boulevard
Herald Sun: http://www.heraldsun.com.au/..../cyclists-protest-ride-calls-for-action-on-yarra-boulevard-tacking-vandals/
Please sign the petition here: https://www.change.org/p/please-sign-the-petition-stop-the-tacks-on-kew-boulevard
We have included some of the feeds from Instagram and Twitter for you to enjoy.