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Pirates of the Burley Griffin
A schedule bears the same relationship to reality as Astrology.
It could have been worse: it could have happened here. 
9th-Apr-2010 09:14 am
Open Road!
On the front page of the West Australian today there is a headline about a Australian cyclist dying in a crash in Spain.

The article ends with a sentence that I've never seen so quickly, or at all, for cycling deaths in Australia: "The driver of the van has been charged with reckless homicide and injury." It appears that in Spain drivers have a duty of care towards all road users.

So, as I said in the title, it could be worse for her grieving family: the crash could have happened in a country where the most vulnerable road users are treated with contempt, in a country where misuse of motorised vehicles is considered to be a right.

It could have happened here.
Comments 
9th-Apr-2010 07:04 am (UTC)
It's understandable that those "most vulnerable" road users are treated with contempt. They are unregulated and think they are above the law ... because, on the whole, they are. They can murder pedestrians with no punishment at all. How often do you see a car running a red light? I mean, not just slipping through when it's amber, I mean flat-out running it when it's been red for some time. I see that about once a year. In the case of cyclists, several times a week. The last time I saw a motorised vehicle cut a corner at an intersection at speed by using the footpath was in Rome a few years ago. The last time I saw a cyclist do it was in Northbridge 2 days ago. If we assume the proportion of bike riders on the roads is even 10%, then a rough calculation suggests that the proportion of bike riders who act like total selfish retards on the roads here is about 1000 times that of car drivers.

I'm not saying it's fair, but the group is judged by the actions of its most visible members. And, honestly, vulnerability doesn't have anything to do with culpability, so please don't try to confuse the two, as the media loves to do. The most inept, stupid, law-breaking, suicidal group of road users here are treated with contempt. The fact that they are also more vulnerable is not strictly part of the equation.
9th-Apr-2010 08:15 am (UTC)
With all due respect that is a "man bites dog" story. It is the only such case in the last 5 years that I am aware of, so of course it was reported in the most sensational way possible.

But let's compare one pedestrian in five years to:

"Australian Transport Safety Bureau data indicates that between 2000 and 2005, the number of cyclist deaths has ranged from 26 to 46 per year (about 2 or 3% of total deaths in road crashes in Australia). More meaningful Australian data on cycling crashes is difficult to access due the lack of exposure data for cycling, differences in police and hospital data records, lack of data retained by road traffic authorities and the fact that many cycling accidents occur off-road."

http://www.cyclingresourcecentre.org.au/29/Statistics_Common_Crashes

There is also no evidence that the incident you cited was deliberate, as opposed to say this incident And there is no evidence that it was deliberate, as opposed to, say this incident http://treadly.net/2008/10/21/juvenile-tools/)

And let me rebut the tiresome claim of the scofflaw cyclist with this: http://washcycle.typepad.com/home/2008/07/the-myth-of-the.html
9th-Apr-2010 08:17 am (UTC)
I will also note that those stats imply a road toll due to the misuse of motorised vehicles of approximately 1500 deaths per year.

Against that cyclists look pretty harmless.
9th-Apr-2010 10:56 am (UTC)
Bikes have much lower mass and momentum and velocity than cars and trucks, so it's going to be hard for them to kill people. Measuring deaths caused by bikes vs deaths caused to bike riders is therefore completely meaningless. Pedestrians can be reckless too, but we can't measure that by how much damage they do to cars.

That last article doesn't successfully rebut much at all. Cyclists can do whatever the hell they please, short of kill someone, and not even get fined, therefore their risk:reward ratio is far different from car drivers. There's certainly no disincentive for bad behaviour from the authorities. Look at it the other way around: If drivers were allowed to do anything they like, so long as they didn't kill someone, how do you think they would behave? Have a look at many cities in Asia and you'll find out. Many people will inherently do what they can get away with. Additionally, many people will be more selfish when they can't be identified. Cars and trucks can be identified easily, while bike riders can just slip anonymously away from any situation, so long as they are still physically able to.

I do have doubts about your original conjecture, too. Reading the article, the van drive in Spain was apparently drunk and hit a pack of 60 cyclists. I reckon the driver would be on similar charges in most places, including here.
10th-Apr-2010 01:11 am (UTC)
Actually it does. The whole argument about cyclists breaking the law starts from a false premise: that cyclists use of the road is a privilege that can (and should) be revoked and that motorists use of the road is an absolute right.

This is what leads to the argument that because some cyclists run red lights therefore ALL cyclists should be banned from the road.

As the article showed it is grossly hypocritical and I'm tired of it. Given that 95+% of trips in Australia are by car it is clear who is conducting most of the offences.

Or did you really want to suggest that all the red light cameras are in place to catch the so-called "scofflaw" cyclists?

That speed cameras are in place to catch cyclists?

That booze buses are primarily targeted on cyclists?

With the limited exception of specific roads (eg freeways), cyclists have the same right to use the roads as motorists.

I have no problems with individual cyclist being punished for wrongdoing, but I WILL NOT tolerate suggestions that cyclists should be generically treated as non-citizens on the road.

It is bad enough that cyclists ARE often denied their rights on the road in the media, by police, and in the courts.
13th-Apr-2010 05:57 am (UTC)
You can believe what you want to believe, but I think you are in fantasy land. Your false premise is rubbish. Oh, I'm sure you can find some crackpots who agree with it, but it's probably down below Pauline-Hanson-supporter proportions. Yes, 95%+ of trips are by car and therefore most offences are by car drivers. So? Are you saying that if cyclists make up 1/20 of the road users, they are "allowed" to offend 20 times as often? Because that is the only context in which your sentence makes any sense at all.

You eventually make a correct statement: Cyclists have the same right to use the road as motorists. The problem is that cyclists do not have the same responsibilities. Cyclists do not get caught, let alone punished, for their wrongdoings, unless they crash. (Esp. not in Vic, where most punishment is by speed camera and red light camera, and bikes have no licence plates, so bikes are immune.)

The point is that cyclists are, as a group, unregulated. Unless they get their act together as a whole (pretty much impossible), enforcement of the road rules upon them is the only thing which will ever improve both their safety and their standing in the road-using community. The only bikes that I can recall having come close to hitting have been at night ... with no lights! I reckon the number of times I see a bike without a headlight at night is about the same as cars. (And given that I see about 100 times as many cars at night, that means about 100 times the proportion of bike riders are being neglectful in this way.) What's worse, a car without a single headlight is still quite visible, having another headlight and parkers. A bicycle with no headlight is close to invisible.

As I said at the start, it's not fair to the sensible ones, but the only way cyclists will get respect is if the huge proportion of idiots get weeded down to a small proportion.
13th-Apr-2010 06:28 am (UTC)
At this point I think you're trolling me. I'm freezing comments on this.

If you want to take it up with me again, do so in person.

Preferably with rdmasters and/or leecetheartist present.
10th-Apr-2010 01:22 am (UTC)
Cyclists can do whatever the hell they please, short of kill someone, and not even get fined.

Yes, and a motorist can KILL a cyclist, speed AGAIN without his license, get less than three years jail for it, and have his family complain about harsh treatment. He was probably out in a year.

http://www.theage.com.au/national/driver-who-killed-cop-sped-again-20080709-3ccc.html

And don't get me started on the McGee case in South Australia where a motorist got off completely scot free from crashing into a cyclist.
9th-Apr-2010 08:37 am (UTC)
Further comment re red lights from http://www.woj.com.au/crankbusters/

All Cyclists run red lights!!!
How often do you hear that? Sadly SOME do. Any experienced cyclist, particularly a commuting one will tell you they loathe seeing this done as it only fuels the debate and shows a lack of respect for fellow road users, not to mention the inherent dangers to themselves and pedestrians. It is a $100 fine for this offence. We often witness drivers run red lights, speed, fail to indicate, using mobiles etc, but this does not justify it, neither should other errant cyclist’s behaviour justify you following their poor example. I have lost count of the times a nearby rider will run the red and I will pull up next to him at the next set!

Note emphasis added in italics. I am a commuting cyclist and I don't run red lights.

Ever.

Which I've said before, see http://arcadiagt5.livejournal.com/62216.html
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