Jun 4, 2013

Are cyclists really ‘the devil incarnate’?

Fairfax columnist Bruce Guthrie is upset cyclists are getting dedicated road space at the expense of motorists. It's time to acknowledge cars should no longer get priority in the city centre

Alan Davies — Editor of The Urbanist

Alan Davies

Editor of The Urbanist

Cycling and the City

Honestly, why doesn’t Fairfax columnist Bruce Guthrie simply call for the erection of barricades, signs and checkpoints around the city to reinforce the obvious? If you’re not driving four wheels, he doesn’t want you in downtown Melbourne any more. He doesn’t want cyclists or their bicycles and he’s not afraid to just come out and say it.

Mr Guthrie declared in the Sunday Age on the weekend (The devil incarnate) that he really, really doesn’t like Melbourne City Council’s plan to reduce the number of traffic lanes on the western side of Princes Bridge in the CBD from two to one to make way for a bicycle lane.

He insists Council is making undeclared war on cars in the city centre. He reckons Council’s plan (“the first salvo”) means it will take less time to crawl across the bridge “on hands and knees than it will be to drive”. He says the way things are going, Lord Mayor Robert Doyle may as well ban cars altogether.

It’s true that many more motorists enter the CBDs of our major cities each morning than cyclists. It’s also true that cars are a wonderful invention. In the right conditions they offer unparalleled convenience and speed. It’s no wonder they took over the world from the first half of last century.

But they also have limits. In particular, they take up a lot of road space and so get terribly congested in the sorts of dense locations, like the centre of Melbourne, that some firms want to be in.

The CBDs of Australia’s large cities simply couldn’t exist at their current scale if cars were the prime means of access for commuters. They require trains, trams, buses and ferries to deliver very large numbers of commuters to a very small geographical area in a very short period of time.

Not only are cars an inefficient mode in the context of dense locations like the CBD, they also impose a range of ill effects on what is necessarily primarily a pedestrian environment. They’re noisy, smelly, dangerous and they hold up public transport and service vehicles as well as each other.

Just as important, they require huge areas of space for driving and parking that could more profitably be used for the very sorts of activities that CBDs were invented for in the first place.

Commuting by car provides a private benefit for the driver, but it imposes costs on other users of the CBD. Almost all workers who currently drive into the CBD don’t need to: they could use public transport instead.

The CBD has excellent access by public transport. It is the singular focus of the metropolitan rail and tram networks. It’s the one and only location in the metropolitan area where accessibility for non-drivers is outstanding. It can be unreliable but so can driving. The fact is hardly anyone needs to drive to the CBD.

Or they could cycle. The thing about bicycles that ought to please Mr Guthrie is that they’re much more like cars than trains. Like cars they’re a private form of transport – they’re not shared with the great unwashed. Like cars they’re available on demand and go direct to the traveller’s destination without deviating or stopping to make pickups and letdowns. And like cars most of the operating costs are paid by the traveller.

From a social point of view, they take up much less space on the road and in parking lots than cars. They’re quieter, they’re cleaner and they’re kinder to pedestrians. In fact cars have fewer collisions with pedestrians in cities with lots of bicycles because the presence of cyclists promotes slower and more careful driving.

Almost anyone who can hold down a job in the city centre can also cycle to work. It might require the choice of a sensible bike, a period of conditioning, some tolerance of the weather, and possibly even a little training, but almost anyone can commute by bicycle.

Riders are certainly more vulnerable than drivers, however the sort of initiative the Lord Mayor wants to trial on Princes Bridge would make cycling a lot safer by reducing the risk of collisions with cars and pedestrians.

The really important issue here is that the CBDs of our major cities are very special places both for business and for the social and cultural life of the wider metropolitan areas. The damage imposed on them by vehicles outweighs the advantages conferred. There are now plenty of alternatives for travelling to the centre – it’s time cars took a back seat.

Of course cyclists aren’t ‘the devil incarnate’. Neither are motorists (Mr Guthrie is being ironical), but there are some places where they’re not a good fit and the list is getting longer.

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38 thoughts on “Are cyclists really ‘the devil incarnate’?

  1. Tom the first and best


    The construction of bike lanes on the curb side of the parking is a positive step. It separates bike and cars except at cross streets and driveways. It can, should and probably will be extended all the way down St Kilda Rd, Brighton Rd and many others on both sides.

    Standing on a 1 m strip of concrete, no less level than a footpath, is not a balancing act. It is just standing. It will not be higher than the footpath either. Giving way to cyclists on a clearly designated bike path is not unreasonable. A 2m wide lane will not require running, just a bit of waiting. Buses have drivers to warn passengers about the bike lanes. There will be space for the bus passengers to wait along side the bus for the bike lane to be clear.

    It will not harm emergency vehicle flow because they generally travel along the tram tracks, because that is where the space is most of the time.

    Do bicycles do count as vehicles for the road rules. Does the TAC not cover them because they do not face TAC charges?

    I doubt the council would be held liable. The accidents would be the result of pedestrian and cyclist error not the council.

  2. Dylan Nicholson

    [email protected], I’m not sure what lane you’re discussing but the Princess St bridge lane has been operational for over a month now. Seems to be working pretty well from what I can see.

    BTW if there’s a candidate for a road seriously in need of proper bike lanes it’s Gertrude St. It carries significant bike traffic at peak hours, but due to the road treatments and car parking, bikes have no choice but to share a lane with cars and trams (and needless to say, riding so close to tram tracks in the wet is especially fraught).

  3. [email protected]

    Dear Lord Mayor and Councillors

    I am writing to request that the City of Melbourne defer the development and construction of the proposed bike lane in St Kilda Road and that the development be referred fro consideration at the next City of Melbourne Future Melbourne Committee.

    The Current City Council has not considered or approved the project other than approve the Council’s Budget and 4 year plan.

    There are a number of major issues of concern in relation to the proposed design that should be reviewed.


    The Latrobe Street bike lane has been a complete disaster with growing concern about public safety and suitability of this design. The Lord Mayor himself on public radio has indicated as such and that the City of Melbourne needs to review the development and make a number of changes to the design including the removal of on street parking.
    It would be prudent that such a review is completed prior to the commencement of construction of a similar bicycle lane in St Kilda Road.


    The section of St Kilda Road between Princess Bridge and Linlithgow Avenue is widely used by bus operators and members of the public visiting with family and friends the Arts precinct and the neighboring Gardens.

    Many with children, elderly or disabled passengers. The proposed design and lane separation would constitute a major risk to public safety to commuters and pedestrians and needs to be reconsidered in light of the problems identified as a result of the construction of the Latrobe Street bike path experiences

    The proposed lane design will force motorists to park on the outside of the bike lane three meters from the footpath creating a major risk to pedestrian and motorist safety.

    Passengers alighting from parked vehicles will have to negotiate a balancing act on the one meter concrete strip and check for bicycles racing down the bike lane whilst running to reach the footpath on the other side. The design will place families with children and the elderly safety at serious risk. Mums with prams or those with wheel chairs will not be able to safely park their cars in the 3 hour parking zones. Bus drivers and taxi operators will have similar safety concerns when dropping off passengers.

    The proposed “island of danger” separation barrier will be installed in the south bound location between Princes Bridge and Linlithgow Avenue south of the Floral Clock. Beyond Linlithgow Avenue the bike lane will revert back into the standard bike lane design adding to confusion and further road safety concerns.

    Drivers exiting a vehicle will be forced into opening car doors into congested on coming road traffic causing a further risk to motorist safety.

    The proposed design is a serious threat to the safety of passengers exiting the bus with passengers having step onto the 1 metre concrete separation barrier, then wait to ensure there are no bicycles bearing down on them before crossing the 2 metre bike path on to the adjacent footpath. The situation is made worst when there are 40 other passengers all wanting to exit the bus at the same time and even worst again in an emergency situation.

    The City of Melbourne needs to reconsider alternative designs that addresses the above safety issues.

    In discussion with Senior City of Melbourne Engineers I understand that there was a preferred alternative design similar to the design implemented in Claredon Street East Melbourne.

    A better and much cheaper option is to widen the existing bike path and delineate it from parked cars by line marking as is the case in Clarendon Street East Melbourne. This would allow sufficient room for cyclists to pass without entering in to the parked car door zone and for the same cost could be extended past the Shine up to Domain Road and beyond. They could also apply the same treatment to the other side adjacent to the Art Gallery and Concert Hall giving ratepayers more value for their dollar. The Claredon Street bicycle lane uses a delineated bicycle path with a painted safety area to protect cyclists form harm by car dooring. It allows cyclists to travel at a safe distance from parked cars.

    This alternative design would be cheaper in cost to install and would allow the City of Melbourne to greater flexibility in implementing and changes that may be required.

    The Claredon Street design solution addresses many of not all of the major concerns in relation to public safety without placing at risk commuter and pedestrian safety.

    Further the Claredon St design solution is consistent with the other section of bicycle lane in St Kilda Road and Princes Bridge. The savings in cost would allow the city of Melbourne in conjunction with VicRoads to extend the alternative design bike path to include the entire stretch of St Kilda Road in both directions further adding to cyclist and pedestrian safety.


    St Kilda Road is a major access point for emergency vehicles from and to The Alfred Hospital in Commercial Rd
    The construction of the separated bicycle lane barrier would restrict movement and egress options for emergency vehicles.

    As I understand Emergency services have not been consulted on the proposed design and the alternative options. The implementation of the Claredeon Street design solution would enable greater flexibility and access for emergency vehicles.

    It is fundamental and prudent that the City of Melbourne that the Council undertake a comprehensive review of the Latrobe Street bike lane and the proposed design of the St Kilda Rd bicycle plan.

    In light of the above issues of concern. Should any person be injured as a result of the proposed development Council would be held liable for any injury and the accident would not be covered by the Victorian Motor Accident Insurance Scheme if a vehicle is not involved.
    I therefore request that the City of Melbourne as a matter of urgency defer the construction of the proposed development and refer the project for further consideration at a Future Melbourne Committee and that members of the public and other stakeholders be proposed the opportunity to make further submission on the impact of the proposed design and the alternative options.

  4. Alan Davies

    Three letters published in The Sunday Age today responding to Bruce Guthrie’s article:

    Stuck in 20th century
    Bruce Guthrie is stuck in his windscreen view of 20th-century Melbourne (”The devil incarnate”, Opinion, 2/6). In the much larger and more crowded Melbourne of the 21st century, car drivers have to share the roads with pedestrians, cyclists and public transport.
    Furthermore, cars cause a huge amount of illness and death through road trauma, pollution and obesity. Guthrie complains about commuting cyclists using Southbank (because they have little alternative on that side of the Yarra) and then complains about the cycling infrastructure in Albert and Latrobe streets. By the way, there is no speed limit on Southbank – it is an advisory limit – but the vast majority of riders moderate their speed and take care around pedestrians.
    Cycling is a faster, cheaper and more environmentally friendly and enjoyable way of getting around the city than sitting in a car. Doyle’s vision of a walking and cycling city is far more consistent with the modern reality of a large advanced metropolis than Guthrie’s complaints.
    JOHN MERORY, Ivanhoe East

    Embrace the vision
    I would like to accompany Bruce Guthrie by bike on his next visit to the CBD. I hope he will then see the benefits of cycling door-to door. And there is no such thing as bad weather for bike riding, just inappropriate clothing.
    Many big cities are far more advanced in embracing bike riding than Melbourne. The Danes and the Dutch are a couple of generations ahead; New York has seen the light; and Sydney is well on the way thanks to lord mayor Clover Moore.
    Robert Doyle’s initiatives have been admirable in the circumstances. The state government under Ted Baillieu reduced bicycle infrastructure funding to zero while the powerful car lobby groups continue to run their campaigns.
    TOM BODYCOMB, Elsternwick

    Irresponsible decision
    Thanks, Bruce Guthrie, for expressing how I and everyone I talk to feels regarding the mindless reduction of lanes available to motorists in and around the city. We motorists are sick of being treated as pariahs. Robert Doyle’s undeclared war on motorists must end and his irresponsible decisions reversed.

  5. Mark Thomson

    Having just spent 4 weeks cycling thru France, I found the French motorists to be very aware and considerate of cyclists, even though they appear to drive like maniac’s, I never once had a problem with a negitive attitude towards me cycling with a fully loaded bike, I also spent sometime pedalling thru the middle of Paris, and if anybody knows how crazy that city is with traffic, motorists and cyclists co-exist quiet happily there, with an outstanding job done by the Paris authorities with an extensive cycle lane progam, its not uncommon to see little old ladies on bikes going about their business in the most hectic of traffic zones, Australia needs to take a leaf out of the European book when it comes to cycle lane planning and attitude.

    I can see in the not to distant future our cities will grind to a standstill due to the lack of forsight by the relevant authorities in not taking action a lot earlier than this.

  6. Tom the first and best


    Much of The Age`s carbon footprint comes from the paper edition.

  7. david hodgson

    There’s a new national guideline from Infrastructure Australia that outlines cycling infrastructure and evaluation on its impact (across economic and health indicators) must be included in new nationally funded infrastructure projects. So, looks like The Age will just have to get with the times and accept the fact that our nation is heading in the direction of sustainable transport modes. I wonder what The Age’s Carbon footprint is? Does it encourage their staff to use sustainable transport to reduce their companies environmental impact? Judging by this article I have to wonder!

  8. Tom the first and best


    The light cycles around level crossings are quite poor. A significant issue is that the light cycles get thrown out by the trains, give a predetermined pattern of movements not crossing the rail crossing (including if there is not traffic wanting to do it and it holds up pedestrians who could be allowed to cross), then starts the normal pattern from the start without subtracting any time from the movements not crossing the rail crossing. Quite poor.

    The rail system does provide information to the traffic signals at some crossings before the booms go down because they start special clear the crossing cycles.

  9. Austin M

    21 im not sure charging is the silver bullet (lots of people still pay to take a similar time/longer on citylink than they may likely take on Dandenong road) but I do think its part of the overall answer. Whilst charging is still politically unpopular it is worth looking at ways to “charge” people for undesirable travel patterns. (i.e. make sure roads are optimised as far as possible for the correct users by time of day, ie if it’s a pedestrian shopping strip make sure cycle times are short as practicable during the day etc.)

  10. Austin M

    25 the question really is why we still have a system where the traffic signals are tripped up by the train network. The problem is the train networks is setup to run trains and not really worry about the impact it has of the road network. The train only cares that that the boom is down and tracks are clear when the train gets there. Thus it is all setup to just intime make sure the boom goes down and trips the signals into train mode.
    There is lots of smart software integrated into on the road signal network (SCATS). For example smart bus works by GPS data enabling signals to extend green time or run clearance phases in advance of busses to keep the bus to timetable (or show the busses reds to keep them to timetable). The question is why in this day and age have we not got the smarts in the rail network to ensure the abutting signals are optimised and better co-ordinated such that we can maximise the efficiency of throughput at the rail crossing. For example signals could extend phases in advance of trains, run alternate phases upstream stream to deliver traffic at optimum timing, etc.
    It’s a classic example of opportunities that may exist between different transport authorities. Greater real-time information from the rail network could enable the road network to be co-ordinated much more efficiently.

  11. Burke John

    Revenues collected from motorists from any source fall far short of the costs of roads. This link demonstrates a $17 billion annual shortfall. That figure itself is way to low if we add administrative costs, policing and medical imposts to society we can easily double that figure just for a start.
    What is extremely clear is that cyclists are actually subsidizing motorists and Shane #9 might start paying his “fare” share before handing down his approval or not of bicycle lanes.

  12. Austin M

    24 the problem with reducing cycle times is that it proportionally increases the amount and impact of all red and inter orange time at the intersection. I think the cycle time is fairly close to balanced at the intersection considering the priority road users.
    90 second cycle time for trams doesn’t seem to bad to me when you consider these are some of the busiest tram stops in Melbourne and a tram has to come to a stop, dropping off, picking up, the possibility of mobility impaired, the stops are also long enough that you can often get 2 through in 1 cycle also.
    I think the signals are fairly well balanced overall in that if the signals were optimised for peds it could be say 45-60 seconds, trams 60-90 seconds, cars 90-240 seconds. Yes it could probably be a bit shorter for peds the highest movement at the intersection but the crossing length is also fairly long if you shortened the cycle up you may end up making the ped phases have to stage across the road due to the reduced crossing time which would be undesirable.
    Looking at peds I believe it is a 3 phase intersection so assuming all phases are the same duration with a 45second cycle (take out say 6 seconds all red and 6 inter orange) it leaves 11 seconds of crossing time @ 45, 16 seconds @ 60, 26 seconds @ 90 second timing. If you take out say 3seconds red man and 3seconds red flashing you have a green man for 5 seconds, 10 seconds or 20 seconds. Both the 5 and 10 second time would be highly likely to have pedestrians stop midway and have to wait another cycle to cross which would be fairly undesirable.

  13. SBH

    that would be ‘brakes’ i think Ikaink

  14. Tom the first and best


    Most of the major problem level crossings are at or near intersections with traffic lights. As the trains are not coordinated with the lights they brake the sequence at the intersections with traffic lights coordinated with the crossing or cause cars to be not able to use green time at those without coordination. Thus the intersections and level crossings combine to dramatically reduce the time cars can go through.

  15. Tom the first and best


    If the Melbourne Metro proposal goes ahead, as currently designed, it would provide a kind of Degraves St style subway to allow pedestrians travelling north to go under Flinders St and emerge further north. That would reduce pedestrian demand.

    Pedestrian demand could be further evened by building entrances to the rail platforms on the Federation Square side of St Kilda Rd. This would be expensive to retrofit because of Federation Square.

    The best thing to do would be to cut the light cycle from 90 seconds to 60 or even 45 to get more trams through. Traffic lights are the main tram speed reducer.

  16. Smith John

    I’m always amused by how some people think that in the Central Activities District of a city of five million, one person is entitled to take up 30 times as much space as others simply because they happen to be in a car.

    If we really want to be fair and efficient, let’s set up the Flinders/ Swanston St traffic lights in a way that minimises the total delay to all concerned, without favouritism between modes.

    I bet you would find that the optimal use of a 90 second cycle is about 60 seconds of Barnes Dance for pedestrians, and 15 seconds for traffic each way (enough to get one tram through on each leg, as at present).

    The minority of people who want to take up 30 times as much space as everyone else may just find that there isn’t that much space around.

  17. IkaInk

    @Hill Rosemary – Ha! As someone that both rides skateboards and bikes on a regular basis I can promise that skateboards are both less controllable than a bike (no breaks FFS!) and far more likely to incite anger from pedestrians, drivers and even cyclists. If you’re on the footpath you should be on the road, if you’re on the road you should be in the bike lane or on the footpath and if you’re in the bike lane then “ding ding ding ding ding, ding ding ding… it’s a bike lane mate”. And of course everyone feels entitled to remind me that they build skateparks for skateboards, which of course is entirely true, but that doesn’t get me to the tram or bus stop! – This is the primary reason I use the skateboard to get around, it marries perfectly with all forms of public transport as its allowed on board all vehicles. It’s also great fun.

    19 – Spot on regarding the intersection being the constraining point at Princess Bridge.

  18. hk

    The near final comment 19# is the most insightful. Many safety, service and health issues generated by the transport system boil down to intersection conflict capacity resolution. A next to impossible issue to resolve unless there is a planning paradigm shift toward charging all travelers and freight transporters to influence their choice of when they travel on the transport network.

  19. Alan Davies

    Austin M #19:

    Very good point. In fact I’ve half-written something about grade seps which addresses that very point. It’s apparently the reason why VicRoads favours freeways over grade seps.

  20. Austin M

    The one thing that is being ignored in all this is that the intersection capacity which is the effective control on traffic capacity will remain the same and the mid block capacity will still be more than adequate to cater for more than the intersection can handle even after “giving” a lane to cyclists. So it will in effect have nearly no impact on traffic congestion but will provide cyclists with space/amenity.
    Also if you don’t think intersection capacity is the key limiting constraint for motorists here think about how much time in each cycle is dedicated to tram, pedestrian, all red, and competing traffic movements (mid block capacity simply isn’t and issue).
    Its seems to be a classic example of how hard it is to take away something even when it has almost no use/impact to the people who currently use it. Intersection capacity is the key to traffic congestion and mid-block capacity is almost always adequate (unfortunately this seems to be a concept that escapes newspaper columnists, most motorists and the like.
    Its also an issue that strikes me when we talk about rail grade separations. Yes the traffic may be impacted by the conflicting train movement 30mins in an hour but how much is it impacted by conflicting traffic movements at abutting major intersections 60%-70%+? Do we go and spend hundreds of millions on them to get similar marginal economic gains from relatively small travel time improvements? The only real benefit of rail grade separations are more about travel reliability in that at grade crossings often represent a long uncontrolled conflicting movement to the road network.

  21. duke the lost engine

    alan, i’m very much in sympathy with the spirit of your piece, but i want to note what i think is a major tension raised:
    – one of the limitations of cars is that they ‘take up a lot of road space and so get terribly congested’
    – ‘the presence of cyclists promotes slower driving’
    It seems problematic to me that while cars slowing each other down is rightly seen as a social cost, cyclists causing slowing cars down is not.

    And if car drivers drove as slowly as they should around cyclists, it is likely that an extra cyclist would take up more road space (via slowing down the traffic stream) than an extra car.

  22. Liamj

    We should listen to Guthrie, so we can tell the grandkids that yes, dinosaurs lived, and yes, they never understood that they were doomed.

  23. SBH

    Shano, what about all those pedestrians who have dedicated lanes? You’ll call them footpaths but in fact they are just dedicated lanes that could be given over to cars. Of course the logic that says that cyclist must purchase a right to use public infrastructure through registration could equally apply to prams. It would be just as silly and wrong.

    You ignore the fact that the law doesn’t require cyclists to pay rego to use roads so how about you just respect us going about our legal business and stop with your nonsense.

  24. Hill Rosemary

    I respect cyclists who keep to the roads/designated bike paths and abide by the rules, but in Sydney many seem to think it’s ok to hurtle downhill on crowded footpaths and miss pedestrians by only a couple of centimetres. If you’re too scared to ride on the road and you’re addicted to wheels, learn to ride a skateboard. They’re much more manoeuvrable and far less likely to cause injury to anyone – elderly people say they don’t mind skateboards, but are terrified of cyclists on footpaths.

  25. suburbanite

    No one should be surprised that so many motorists are clueless about the costs they impose on everyone else. They think their rego means they paid for all the space they take up as well as the maintenance costs of fixing all the damage they cause. The roads you see were all built after the rego was imposed – at least that is the bogan gospel.

  26. Peazle

    I drive a car, ride a bike and walk so I fit into all categories and see things from each perspective. To Suburbanite and Dudley who say the road rules are only for cars, you are wrong. The road rules are for all road users whether car, bike or motorbike and I think a great deal of the frustration from car drivers comes from the fact that some cyclists demand that cars obey road rules that cyclists flout. And Dudley, try telling the old man that was run over and killed by a cyclist that they are not dangerous weapons!

  27. Wexford

    As always, it didn’t take long for someone (Shane Mead, #9) to raise the old “register bikes!” chestnut.

    Cyclists almost all own cars and thus pay registration which is not being used. Ergo by riding, they are subsidising your use of your car. So, Shane, you should be paying cyclists to get their money back. Please contact me offline and I’ll send you my BSB and account number to which you can transfer me my refund.

  28. Stephen

    Sometime in the early 22nd century, Australia will introduce congestion charges for cars in cities.

    Australia, always ahead of the curve….

  29. Dudley Horscroft

    Don’t forget the view of many motorists – perhaps especially those who write for newspapers, magazines or who talk on radio – that cyclists pay nothing to the cost of roads, are not licensed and don’t obey the Road Rules. This of course means to them that cyclists should not be on the roads, and if they get in the way, they are devils incarnate.

    Fact is that cyclists pay as much for roads as do motorists as the cost of the roads they use comes from rates, paid by every householder whether motorist or cyclist, do not need to be licensed as they are not in charge of a dangerous weapon, and can hardly obey Road Rules which are designed for motorists not cyclists.

    For ordinary cyclists, it is reasonable for at least four of them to be able to use the road space of one car – probably many more if one takes into account the safety distance between cars, and you can park probably about 20 bicycles in the space used for one car. Far more efficient and economical for the short distances most cyclists ride.

  30. Shane Mead

    When Cyclists have to pay registration on their vehicle like other motor vehicles I am fine with extra bike lanes etc. Equality means taking the good with the bad…don’t give me any of this, “We are helping the environment” bullshit when you are using a computer that wouldn’t exists without African Slave Labor.

  31. Alan Davies

    gdt #7:

    I also wonder if, for some motorists, the fact that a cyclist presents as a person rather than as a machine can be a problem. For most drivers it probably stimulates empathy with a cyclist’s vulnerability, but perhaps for others it stimulates negative prejudices e.g. lycra lout, hipster, the 1%.

  32. gdt

    There’s a strong psychological reason for driver’s attitude to cyclists. They’ve spent maybe $30,000 on their car. It’s probably the second-most expensive thing they own. For some people it is part of what defines them (ref: the whole Holden v Ford thing). Being delayed by a bicycle, for even a few seconds, is a direct affront to all the ego they have invested in their car.

    One of the things which need doing is to alter the psychological payoff of the cyclist/motorist interaction.

  33. Alan Davies

    Persia #5:

    Persia, see Nicole Gelinas on Bikeshare’s promise and peril.

    In Paris, since bike share was introduced, all traffic deaths, whether of drivers or walkers, have fallen dramatically, from an average of 56 annually to 44 now. Injuries have fallen as well……If a male driver turning left—statistically, the deadliest threat—must slow down for a bicyclist, he’ll likely slow down for an elderly walker, too.

  34. Persia

    Hi Alan

    “In fact cars have fewer collisions with pedestrians in cities with lots of bicycles because the presence of cyclists promotes slower and more careful driving.”

    Can you point me to a source for this? (I believe you, but it would be good to have the evidence, too).

  35. suburbanite

    In the minds of motorists like Guthrie (and the road rules) the car is an entity that is granted special entitlements and rights over other people. They don’t see themselves on the same level as other people who might be riding a bike, or walking. The car must not be impeded, except by other cars. So not all people are equal, those that ride in heavy road damaging metal boxes which protect them, insulate them from their surroundings and provide comfort and distractions as well as reducing the air quality for everyone else should have priority over the carless who should make way and subsidise the lazy and inconsiderate overgrown babies in their cars. Talk about a culture of entitlement.

  36. Last name First name

    Parker Alan OAM
    The cutback of funding for Victorian Bike plans and those in other states is because of the entrenched negative attitudes of Australian road planners, engineers and journalists like Bruce Guthrie . This negative attitude arises because the rights of access in British common law have been ignored. In the UK, separate footpaths and bicycle paths were part of new bridges and still are; see the Forth Road Bridge and the Severn Estuary Bridge. In Melbourne there was no separate provision for cyclists on the Westgate and Bolte bridges and or princes bridge
    In the Netherlands planners had positive and bicycle friendly attitudes. Engineers who planned and built bikeways, are part a bicycle culture which we did not have. ten years ago did my own bicycle planning study tour of the Netherlands to see how to develop a bicycle friendly culture in Australia. And wrote articles in the cycling press about the need for a bicycle culture that was accepted by the state planning agencies. Nothing has changes and the best example of that is Guthrie.

  37. nick

    According to the Wall Street Journal – the answer to this question is “yes”.

  38. MarkD

    Bruce Guthrie is the devil in your car mate…

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