Roads are only for cars, opines ridiculous columnist

Illustration: Edd Aragon for SMH

Illustration: Edd Aragon.

This cartoon accompanying Miranda Devine’s typical exhibition of frothing at the mouth over cyclists! using roads that by rights should only have cars on them! is way OTT offensively topsy-turvy from reality, where it is motorists who regularly display their thuggish side in road rage attacks on cyclists.

Which makes the one cyclist I saw this evening who just powered through a zebra crossing past the cars that had stopped for the pedestrians doubly infuriating – firstly for being such a dangerous arse and secondly for making it more difficult to call out crap like Devine’s which argues that cyclists upset over inadequate bicycle lanes and disregard for their safety are experiencing a “dangerous sense of entitlement”. Yes, even though her whole argument about cyclists and the unfairness of motorists having to share the roads with pedestrians as well seems to be really just an opportunity to whinge hyperbolically about the Sydney Harbour Bridge being shut down for a few hours on a Sunday for a NSW State Government sponsored special event, even claiming that the bridge was covered in actual grass for the breakfast picnic (yeah, we believe you, Miranda).

Categories: culture wars, media, Politics

11 replies

  1. …just an opportunity to whinge hyperbolically about the Sydney Harbour Bridge being shut down for a few hours on a Sunday for a NSW State Government sponsored special event, even claiming that the bridge was covered in actual grass for the breakfast picnic (yeah, we believe you, Miranda).

    Not that I agree with 99% of what Miranda Devine says – in fact, I think she’s a raving wingnut most of the time – but the bridge was indeed turfed for the Breakfast on the Bridge event. A hectare of Kikuyu grass, according to the Brisbane times (awesome photos of the event btw).
    Not that this detracts an iota from your point about cyclists being treated as lesser forms of life by motorists. I’ve seen a few cyclists doing stupid/illegal/dangerous things, but they’re a tiny minority and proportionally no more prevalent than motorists who do the same. But this is Miranda “speeding penalties are horrible and what do you mean I should just obey the speed limit?!” Devine we’re talking about here.

  2. Bloody hell, really? (nice to see you again, by the way, QS)
    I guess using turf that can be recycled by the Parks Dept somewhere is actually a more economic solution than astroturf which would just go into storage at that.
    I get that the event was very expensive, and that’s always controversial. But compared to the average Tourism NSW or Tourism Australia advertising campaign spend, perhaps Nathan Rees has a point about the bang for the promotional buck of the event.
    P.S. Devine’s histrionic “and they didn’t even have a view” – oh yes, except that closeup view of one of the architectural icons of the world. Utterly meaningless if you can’t see a bit of water at the same time, obviously!

  3. That there are moronic drivers doesn’t seem to be put forward as an argument for taking cars off the road! Roads (and road-like areas) are for people – some of them in cars, some walking, some in scooters, some on bikes. Appropriate road sharing is a lesson in itself – where I live, there’s lots of polite 4WD drivers, friendly and helpful truck drivers, old people who everyone knows to watch out for…and dead cyclists, because people don’t expect them. Devine should be expecting other road users and behave accordingly, as I suspect most of the cyclists in fact do!

  4. “Dead cyclists.. because people don’t expect them.”
    Yep. I live in the states, and that’s true here. I stay on the sidewalk but I still got mowed over in a crosswalk. The driver hit the brakes, so I got away with bruises and a sore shoulder, but the bike was wrecked. Bike accidents have been high for the last two years in the city.

  5. lilacsigil: interesting you should mention that people don’t expect cyclists. I just got my Ps (several years too late, but anyways) and one thing that they’re drilling into people in the current provisional tests/lessons/documents is to check for cyclists and motorbikes ALL THE TIME. When you turn left, when you turn right, when you change lanes, and just generally when a cyclist doing something unexpected/stupid could lead to trouble. We may at least have a new generation of drivers who are slightly more road aware.
    Tigs: studying nursing, it’s kicking my arse atm. I’d be around more often if not for that!

  6. I was amazed a couple of weeks ago when a local journalist was so willing to show off his ignorance for all to see. Now I understand who his role models are. I wonder if she includes motorbike riders in her vehicles allowed to use the road. Somehow I doubt that scooters make the cut.

  7. Cyclists that flout road rules get my goat too, for the same reason: they make it harder for the rest of us. If you keep hounding people about it, they will change (most of my friends have, at least when they are riding with me!).
    As one of the comments that I saw on the SMH website yesterday said, the article by MD is a just one massive troll. Cyclists and riders can live together in harmony if they show respect for each other and the law. Bloody hell, I’m positive this morning.

  8. Dagnammit! I told that fool Devine that roads are ridin’ yer hoss upon not fer them dang new fangled autonobeeles. She should git her damn car outta the way of my hoss.

  9. There’s a balanced response on the SMH site today, pretty much in agreement with you:
    One thing that I think is often missed in this debate is that some of mechanics of the road rules and processes (such as amber light cycles or the inability for cyclists to contribute to traffic light changes) can make cycling more difficult and/or more dangerous. So while yes, it would be great if all cyclists obeyed the road rules, it would also be great if some of the road rules were reconsidered with cyclists in mind!

  10. @Quietstorm – I’m glad they’re reinforcing the message about sharing the road. I live in a country area that has very few regular cyclists (and nothing as fancy as traffic lights or lanes!) Apart from other traffic, I’m primarily looking out for stock, wildlife and branches on the road, not cyclists. But a city driver should be just as alert for cyclists, people on scooters and pedestrians as I am for wallabies!

  11. Another point of view, from a third set of wheels:
    I recently began a piece of writing as this – I was riding in the bicycle lane in midtown Manhattan, when I heard steel pan music, live, and asked my husband to push my wheelchair over so I could hear and see the musician.
    And I’m not the only wheelchair user in the bicycle lane. That’s because the corner curb cuts (little cement ramps onto/off sidewalks) are bad, don’t exist, or because some of the newer ones have raised little bumps that are painful on backs to go over.
    Some pedestrians in Manhattan are using bicycle lanes,too. I have my wheelchair moved to the left when a bike rider is approaching. I use the lane where I can see approaching traffic and not get hit from behind. I have had some close calls with riders getting too close as they round a corner cutting in front of us, who are crossing the street. Same for cars cutting off my crossing the street.
    Some pedestrians, who I call “bipeds” get angry at having to share sidewalk space with me. One young woman was reading and nearly walked into me. I have faulted spouse for not “pushing” more “defensively” and giving wide space to folks not paying attention to where they are walking. I’ve been all 3: bicycle rider, biped/pedestrian until age 45 and last couple of decades plus, wheelchair user (due to CFS/ME). It’s great if we all could “put ourselves in the other’s seat or shoes”, as the saying sort of goes.

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