Sunday, January 31, 2010

Wouldn't it be Devine if we got what we've already paid for (Oct 30 2009 orig posted)

So Miranda Devine decided to join in the noisy din of what Cycling Central rightfully labels man bites dog.

I agree - well sort of - with her on just one point - some governments put down paint on existing roads and think this is adequate rather than building real infrastructure for cyclists. In the ACT, this is a big hobby horse of the NRMA who said something eerily similar about it just being paint on the road. The NRMA argue there is insufficient space between cyclists and drivers where these lanes have been introduced.

But while there isn't much room, the bike lanes across the ACT aren't insignificant (in size). They are also clearly signposted and marked. Surely as a driver you know these lanes are there and would expect cyclists to be in them somewhere along the road and therefore, are just that little bit more careful. It's not like we see a high incidence of cars driving along the very side of the road when these lanes aren't there on the road. Of course, the NRMA means a swerve etc..but you get my drift.

But Miranda is arguing that cyclists shouldn't expect to share the road at all. She tries to give the impression that preventing cyclist deaths is one of her major concerns and therefore why she's writing what she's writing. (ignoring the fact that drivers die on the roads cars).

But despite what she says, I'm yet to see a decent argument from a non-cyclist about why cyclists can't expect to share the roads.

The fact that cyclists don't pay registration (and/or aren't required to be licenced) for their bicycle is not that decent argument. And you can bet this old chestnut was brought out and roasted over and over on comments' pages everywhere this week. As cyclists, we know the arguments against this cliche: registration doesn't totally cover the up-keep and building of new roads...we pay registration if we have a car too..the benefits to the environment, health and therefore the economy..footpaths are built for non registered walkers.....yadda yadda.

But what if we did pay significant registration would: a) governments build us better infrastructure b) non-cyclist drivers shut the hell up? Because seriously, if that happened - bring it on!

Otherwise, it remains a stupid argument. Why pay if we won't get what cars do? Which at the very least is respect.

But as an income tax payer, rate payer, car registration payer, fuel tax payer and land tax payer, I'm already being ripped off - I'm getting a shitty deal as a cyclist.

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