Two weeks ago a story entitled “War on our roads” ran on Channel 7’s Sunday Night current affairs show. At the time I thought it was a pretty balanced piece of journalism, if anything more in the favour of cyclists. Watching it again, I still do.
But thanks to several mind-bendingly ignorant and archaic comments from that media imbecile, Derryn Hinch – “cockroaches on wheels” springs instantly to mind – it’s also seen the roads in and around my home town of Sydney become total war zones in the past fortnight, maybe yours too? Ask any regular rider. There’s been a noticable and disturbing increase in driver agression towards bikes since Derryn opened his bearded cakehole. It’s as if his comments have somehow empowered a fleet of lunatic drivers to get out there and teach all us cyclists a lesson. It’s scary. It’s insane. And it has to stop.
“The last couple of weeks have been really bad – almost every time I have been out there has been a couple of deliberate close passes. Its always the same after they have a TV show or something, it seems to justify bad behaviour.” Posted online yesterday by a Sydney father of two.
Regardless of what you may personally think of cyclists, the law quite clearly states we have every legal right to use the roads, two-abreast, even in peak hour. It never ceases to amaze me how many motorists scream at me to get on the footpath. Sorry, but it’s actually illegal for us to use the footpath (unless we’re riding with young children).
Like most groups of people on the planet, the vast majority of cyclists do the right thing every day – all we want to do is keep fit and get wherever it is we’re going, be it work, home or a cafe with our mates. Remember, we’re taxpayers just like you. We’re mums and dads and daughters and sons, just like you. Most of us also drive and pay rego and rates just like you. In fact, perhaps the only way we really differ when we’re on our bikes is that we’re a whole lot more vulnerable to acts of on-road stupidity and violence than you are sitting there snugly in your metal cocoon listening to Triple M as you crawl through peak-hour at 5km/h. If it really drives you that crazy to see us moving faster than you, perhaps it’s time you joined us?
Enough is enough, Sydney. Someone you know and love might be next to get hit/hurt/killed. Far too many have been already, especially lately. Let’s be nice to each other. A little patience, and road space, on both sides will go a very long way.
Seems whilst Derryn has made a career out of criticising others, he can’t take criticism himself. A concerned reader decided to post a link to this story on Mr Hinch’s Facebook page this morning, together with a summary of the specific events which led to me writing it yesterday. The post (see below) disappeared without a trace in minutes. Sad, but not at all surprising. Don’t open your mouth in the first place if you can’t take criticism for what comes out of it.