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Posted

Jan 19, 2012

Warnie’s gift to Miranda

Shane Warne's altercation with a cyclist this

Pure Poison IconShane Warne’s altercation with a cyclist this week has given Miranda Devine the chance to take another ride on one of her old hobby-horses:

Motorists are sick of the silent two-wheeled menaces on our road. We are sick of the way they weave through traffic, run red lights, come out of nowhere and ignore road rules to suit themselves.

We are sick of the empty bike lanes that make already clogged roads impassable and the fact the bicycle lobby’s power is disproportionate to their numbers. We are sick of their sense of entitlement and increasing aggression.

Who can resist a beat-up over cyclists?Showing that the divide between riders and cagers is universal, Warne’s incident in Melbourne plays just as well with Miranda’s Sydney audience. And Miranda revisits some of the same themes she’s discussed before about this subject:

This is classic angry cyclist behaviour, as if it’s up to the cycling fraternity to forcibly educate the motoring public and instil fear like jackbooted Soviets.

Ah yes, the angry cyclist. It’s a good thing that there are no angry car drivers on the road because as Miranda points out:

They have created the unreasonable expectation that bikes have as much right as cars to use the road.

But the only winner is physics.

And what that tells us is that when a two tonne block of steel comes up against flesh and blood and light weight aluminium tubing there is no contest.

It would be terrible if angry drivers ever used their two tonne blocks of steel two intimidate other road users, but I’m sure that in the absence of cyclists that would never occur.

I do love this explanation from Miranda though:

What cyclists believe is aggression from motorists is usually just unawareness.

So I guess that being inattentive while driving’s OK then? What happened to the need for personal responsibility? Isn’t using the road a privilege rather than a right? I can never keep up with what I was always assured was the unchanging conservative view of the world.

The other thing that had me scratching my head was this interlude:

Cycling is the new golf and as more Lycra warriors take to busy roads to channel Tony Abbott, tension with motorists is reaching boiling point.

So does this mean that it’s Tony Abbott’s fault? Will Miranda start calling out Tony Abbott for being a menace whenever he arrives at parliament house on his bike? Is Tony’s annual Pollie Pedal about to be declared an attack on country people who are inconvenienced by its presence in their localities? And if all of these cyclists are trying to channel Tony Abbott, doesn’t that mean that the threat to road users are primarily Liberal Party supporters? Miranda is sadly mute on these issues.

Regardless, a blow up between cyclists and drivers is always easy to run with, gets people’s blood boiling and brings in the page views. Well done Miranda, missions accomplished.

*The Author rides a motorcycle and has on more than one occasion said very unkind things about drivers whose driving suggested they may not have been paying much attention to other road users.

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63 comments

63 thoughts on “Warnie’s gift to Miranda

  1. Coldsnacks

    two wrongs do not make a right

    If they are still IN the bike line, what does it matter if they are on the extreme right of it (for self preservation reasons – car doors would hurt!)?

    Surely it is YOUR responsibility as a driver to stay within your own lane – every bike lane I’ve seen is marked seperately from the main part of the road – if you can’t keep your car within two white lines, should you be driving?

    DISCLAIMER: I neither cycle nor drive.

  2. Bob Hopeful

    I agree with Warne that cyclists should pay registration, based on the following:

    * The amount of space cyclists occupy on the roads, in proportion to cars
    * The amount of deaths and serious injuries caused by cyclists, in proportion to cars
    * The amount of negligent, culpable and criminal activity perpetrated by cyclists
    * The amount of wildlife and domestic pets killed and maimed by errant cyclists
    * The amount of fuel consumed by the average cyclist
    * The amount of exhaust fumes created by the average cyclist
    * The amount of noise pollution created by cyclists who install excessively large audio systems
    * The amount of lurid, tacky and visually offensive adornments, such as flourescent lighting on bicycle undercarriages

    Based on all that, I suggest a figure of $1 per annum.

  3. surlysimon

    JMJ @ 50
    Would love to see that brought in here, that would give the drivers something to whinge about

  4. Catsidhe

    Sancho, I’ve seen that formula used before, in other contexts:

    http://xkcd.com/385/

  5. Craigy

    devkel @40

    So I gather you travel down the Kinglake road in your car at 10kph or less? Because as you know, it is one corner after the other. Somehow I don’t think so…. If you do you’re on your own.

    I don’t go up and down that road to Kinglake that often, it’s a plain dangerous road even in a car. On a motorbike the statistics tell us it’s one of the most dangerous roads in the country. You would be nuts to ride it on a push bike, just for fun.

    I am talking about the road from Hurstbridge to Strathewen, which is a 15 km, 100 kph road used by people going about their normal daily commute. Since the fires, we have had a massive increase in recreational cyclists. We travel at or near the speed limit on many parts of that road, it is ridiculous for us to travel at 20 kph as you suggest, no one does, as it’s already a 20 minute drive each way just to get a bottle of milk. And we have been re-building, requiring many dashes down to ‘mitre 10’ for hardware.

    Let me tell you, it is fun trying to pull up a trailer full of crushed rock and timber when you suddenly have bikes coming at you head on, on the wrong side of the road. This happened to me in the week after New Year.

    I have no problems with locals (like you) who know the road, ride single file and in small numbers as exercise or commuting. It is the large groups from the city, and let me tell you, they ride on BOTH sides of the road, and the local drivers are supposed to sit behind and wait to be waved passed when it suits them, which is usually when you can’t legally do it for the double white lines.

    Sadly it is only a matter of time before someone is killed or badly injured (again). If only cyclists took their own safety, and that of other road users, into account when choosing a country road for a group ride, that would be nice.

  6. Sancho

    There’s a simple formula to follow in order to maintain the rage:

    If a motorist is reckless, it means that particular motorist is reckless and the rest shouldn’t be punished for the actions of an individual.

    If a cyclist is reckless, it mean all cyclists are, and you are justified in disregarding the safety and road rights of everyone on a pushbike.

  7. RobJ

    [Again pretty sure riding on footpaths is illegal!]

    It is in Victoria unless one is under 12 years old or an adult accompanying one under 12 years old. I can’t speak for other states.

  8. SBH

    Is the basis of all this anger just that they want to stop the ones who want prosthetic foreheads on their heads

  9. John Many Johns

    surlysimon @50, the thing about Japan is that in the event of an RTA, liability for the accident is largely determined by the size of the vehicles involved in said accident. i.e. the larger of the vehicles involved will in general be apportion a larger share of the liability for the accident.

  10. Holden Back

    RobJ surely there’s an offence such as ‘Pissing off a celebrity’ with which the cyclist can be charged?

  11. Nick the Hippy

    Shane Warne’s bowling action may be pure but he is a tosser.

  12. Lifesajoke

    Harold @ 37… firstly a disclaimer, i’ve seen plenty of irrational behaviour towards cyclists by drivers (and other drivers). I’ve also seen plenty of really stupid behaviour by cyclists too. Miranda’s article is a crock of S$%T, however Cyclists aren’t completely innocent here!

    “So what? They’re as entitled as you are to ride on the public road (clue – the word ‘public’).” .. of course they are, however why risk your life with irresponsible drivers (yes there are plenty of them) when there are the bike lanes. On a main road (four lanes) near where i live where there is a bike lane ‘on the road’, and another bike path adjacent, and yet some cyclists still ride on the main road… why?

    “Clearly a comment made by someone who’s never had a driver park in the cycle lane and open their door without looking for cyclists”… two wrongs do not make a right. I note an earlier comment about the issue with glass etc, my argument would be that surely a flat tyre is better than a 4WD running you over (and again not excusing poor behaviour by car driver).

    “…as they’re allowed to do.” correct me if i’m wrong by i thought it was illegal to RIDE (ie you can push it along) on FOOTPATHs (not cycle paths, FOOTPATHS).

    “…as they are entitled to do. Don’t like it? Complain to legislators.” Again pretty sure riding on footpaths is illegal!

  13. RobJ

    Now a witness in the car behind Shane Warne has corroborated the cyclist’s version of events are the police going to do anything? They should at least investigate.