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Get off the road you idiot !!

By Mark Parton MLA - 25 April 2017 30

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In my cycling life in Canberra I’ve been verbally abused by a dozen motorists while on the road. I’ve had a number of others furiously toot the horn at me, but I’d like to optimistically believe that they were just saying hello. So in 8 years of riding, I’ve had 12 or so motorists actually yell instructions or abuse at me. Now, I don’t want to generalise and get into stereotypes, but this is my experience… every single one of those motorists was male, between 20 and 50 and driving a ute. I’m not sure why.

I was out on the weekend riding around Tuggeranong. I’d ridden up Drakeford Drive from my home in Bonython before cutting across east on Sulwood Drive. Those hills along Sulwood really got my lungs working and I was mighty pleased to get to Erindale Drive at the other end. I turned right at the roundabout and hurtled down Erindale Drive. There weren’t many cars on the road so I made the call to take the roundabout at Sternberg Crescent.

I took the roundabout at around 35kph and I was aware that there was a vehicle behind me, but in the right-hand lane as I approached the intersection. The motor vehicle was a big 4WD utility and it drew alongside me in the middle of the roundabout. The passenger window was open and I heard the driver yell out, “Get off the road you f***ing idiot”

Do these people not understand that in yelling abuse at a cyclist on a roundabout there’s a serious chance you will startle the rider to the point that they lose control and have an accident?

I just don’t understand what is achieved by this bullying and intimidation.

After a spending a long time hosting talk radio in Canberra I know that there is a large section of people who don’t believe that a cyclist should ever been on the same road as a car, but I don’t get it.

I’ve been back riding regular kilometres since mid-January, including some commuting to and from the city. I feel so much better for it and I’ve managed to lose 5kgs in the process. If 5% of the population followed my lead and did the same, the results would be remarkable.

  1. There’d be less car traffic on the road which would enable those loud mouth motorists to get to where they were going earlier. And
  2. You’d instantly see pressure relieved from the health system. When you move more on a regular basis you become healthier and our economic reality is that health spending is biggest single budget item.

I’d have to concede that some cyclists do some stupid things and give the rest of us a bad name. I make a value judgement on the approach to every roundabout regarding whether or not I’m going to take the roundabout on the bike. I factor in the level of traffic, the visibility and the time of day before choosing whether to tackle the intersection on the bike or as a pedestrian. Far too often I see riders blindly choose to take a busy roundabout because it’s their right. If you get crunched by a truck on your way to work, it won’t matter who was right and who was wrong.

A bit of common sense and common courtesy wouldn’t go astray in these matters from both sides. Will we ever stop fighting this cyclists v motorists war?

What’s Your opinion?


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30 Responses to
Get off the road you idiot !!
1
rommeldog56 9:01 am
25 Apr 17
#

To answer your last question first “Will we ever stop fighting this cyclists v motorists war ?” I hope so but doubt it. There appears to be a sizeable minority of ning nong drivers AND bike riders to ensure that the respective gene pools will continue this “war” for the foreseeable future I’m afraid. I love bike riding and used to do 32 ks a day – but for recreation only.. But work has got in the road (pun intended) and I’m no longer do that – and feel much worse without it too !

When u turned from Sulwood onto Erindale Dive (a big and often busy round a bout in itself) to go downhill on Erindale Drive towards its intersection with Sternberg Cres (again, an often very busy section of road), I assume u knew there was a good bike path on the other side of Erindale Drive (on the Wanniassa side)? Personally, I stick to bike paths when riding for recreation, as its safer.

Now, that round a bout at Erindale/Sternberg is at the bottom of a steep hill. The round a bout line markings are somewhat confusing in that it branches from 1 lane to the right along Sternberg towards Erindale shops and then separates 1/2 way round to go back up the hill along the other/Wannassia side of Erindale Drive.

Positing a car or a bike on that roundabout to exit safely can be challenging – especially if the vehicle has entered it too fast because the approach is downhill.

I’ve only gone around that round a bout on a push bike once – and never again ! It’s far too dangerous for me I’m afraid.

2
wildturkeycanoe 1:02 pm
25 Apr 17
#

“If 5% of the population followed my lead and did the same, the results would be remarkable.”
They certainly would. Just imagine another almost 18,000 bicycles out and about during peak hour.

“1. There’d be less car traffic on the road which would enable those loud mouth motorists to get to where they were going earlier.”
Maybe yes, but perhaps not. If those extra 18,000 cyclists try to cram onto the bike paths we have right now, it’d be gridlock. So in order to avoid congestion the faster cyclists would ditch the slow going paths in favor of on road cycle lanes. Once we get large groups of cyclists riding two abreast and cars excluded from entering the one and half meter safety bubble required, the vehicular traffic speed on most single lane roads will be reduced to that of the cyclists, as overtaking will be dangerous or impossible. Dual lane roads will also lose two meters of the left lane to the same safety bubble, as cyclists ride along the white dividing line that separates four wheels from two.
Those cyclists who prefer to avoid combat will use the pedestrian infrastructure to get to their destination. That means the zebra crossings and signalized pedestrian crossings will have a lot more traffic. This will extend the duration of traffic light cycles, meaning cars will stop more frequently and for longer at intersections. The result will be even longer queues into the city for motorized transport and also for cyclists who will have more obstacles on their once devoid pathways. So the traffic woe of having too many cars on the road will be turned into too many cyclists on the road, plus more traffic on pedestrian and shared paths. Nobody is going to get to work any faster, indeed the cyclist from the outer suburbs will take even longer to travel to and from the workplace.

“2. You’d instantly see pressure relieved from the health system”
Wow! Cycling can cure health complaints in short order can it? Are you certain that people with health issues such as high blood pressure, heart problems, asthma, obesity and any number of other conditions will not suffer complications from a sudden change in lifestyle? There would be no strains, no heart attacks from over exertion, no heatstroke, no calls for an ambulance as inexperienced riders tackle not only the operation of the bike but the challenges of navigating through crowded footpaths, bike paths and shared zones? What of the extra activity on the road lanes, the risk of getting sideswiped or t-boned by a vehicle due purely to statistical probability simply by increasing the number of users? Sure there are health benefits to cycling, but there are greater risks involved as well so claiming a miraculous decline in hospitalizations is a bit of a stretch.
Walking a dog is arguably a healthy lifestyle choice, but we have seen in news reports that there are three dog attacks a week requiring a trip to the emergency department.
Sports are also activities that promote well-being, but they also increase the risk of injury, so the benefits have to be weighed against the possible negatives.

3
dungfungus 1:34 pm
25 Apr 17
#

Mark, why is it that some riders (like you) choose to wear those “pixie suits”?

Are you emulating professional riders? Do you get paid for advertising the names on the clothing?

And don’t try and tell me that lycra is comfortable – if this were the case everyone would be wearing it for all occasions.

4
Mark Parton MLA 4:01 pm
25 Apr 17
#

rommeldog56 said :

To answer your last question first “Will we ever stop fighting this cyclists v motorists war ?”

I hope so but doubt it. There appears to be a sizeable minority of ning nong drivers AND bike riders to ensure that the respective gene pools will continue this “war” for the foreseeable future I’m afraid. I love bike riding and used to do 32 ks a day – but for recreation only.. But work has got in the road (pun intended) and I’m no longer do that – and feel much worse without it too !

When u turned from Sulwood onto Erindale Dive (a big and often busy round a bout in itself) to go downhill on Erindale Drive towards its intersection with Sternberg Cres (again, an often very busy section of road), I assume u knew there was a good bike path on the other side of Erindale Drive (on the Wanniassa side)? Personally, I stick to bike paths when riding for recreation, as its safer.

Now, that round a bout at Erindale/Sternberg is at the bottom of a steep hill. The round a bout line markings are somewhat confusing in that it branches from 1 lane to the right along Sternberg towards Erindale shops and then separates 1/2 way round to go back up the hill along the other/Wannassia side of Erindale Drive.

Positing a car or a bike on that roundabout to exit safely can be challenging – especially if the vehicle has entered it too fast because the approach is downhill.

I’ve only gone around that round a bout on a push bike once – and never again ! It’s far too dangerous for me I’m afraid.

It was only the first time that I’d taken that roundabout on the bike as well, because like you, I normally make the call that it’s just a little too dangerous. On this occasion there was virtually no traffic. When we hit the roundabout, it was just me and the ute driver. If it’s safe, I ride on the road.

5
Mark Parton MLA 4:04 pm
25 Apr 17
#

wildturkeycanoe said :

“If 5% of the population followed my lead and did the same, the results would be remarkable.”
They certainly would. Just imagine another almost 18,000 bicycles out and about during peak hour.

“1. There’d be less car traffic on the road which would enable those loud mouth motorists to get to where they were going earlier.”
Maybe yes, but perhaps not. If those extra 18,000 cyclists try to cram onto the bike paths we have right now, it’d be gridlock. So in order to avoid congestion the faster cyclists would ditch the slow going paths in favor of on road cycle lanes. Once we get large groups of cyclists riding two abreast and cars excluded from entering the one and half meter safety bubble required, the vehicular traffic speed on most single lane roads will be reduced to that of the cyclists, as overtaking will be dangerous or impossible. Dual lane roads will also lose two meters of the left lane to the same safety bubble, as cyclists ride along the white dividing line that separates four wheels from two.
Those cyclists who prefer to avoid combat will use the pedestrian infrastructure to get to their destination. That means the zebra crossings and signalized pedestrian crossings will have a lot more traffic. This will extend the duration of traffic light cycles, meaning cars will stop more frequently and for longer at intersections. The result will be even longer queues into the city for motorized transport and also for cyclists who will have more obstacles on their once devoid pathways. So the traffic woe of having too many cars on the road will be turned into too many cyclists on the road, plus more traffic on pedestrian and shared paths. Nobody is going to get to work any faster, indeed the cyclist from the outer suburbs will take even longer to travel to and from the workplace.

“2. You’d instantly see pressure relieved from the health system”
Wow! Cycling can cure health complaints in short order can it? Are you certain that people with health issues such as high blood pressure, heart problems, asthma, obesity and any number of other conditions will not suffer complications from a sudden change in lifestyle? There would be no strains, no heart attacks from over exertion, no heatstroke, no calls for an ambulance as inexperienced riders tackle not only the operation of the bike but the challenges of navigating through crowded footpaths, bike paths and shared zones? What of the extra activity on the road lanes, the risk of getting sideswiped or t-boned by a vehicle due purely to statistical probability simply by increasing the number of users? Sure there are health benefits to cycling, but there are greater risks involved as well so claiming a miraculous decline in hospitalizations is a bit of a stretch.
Walking a dog is arguably a healthy lifestyle choice, but we have seen in news reports that there are three dog attacks a week requiring a trip to the emergency department.
Sports are also activities that promote well-being, but they also increase the risk of injury, so the benefits have to be weighed against the possible negatives.

I’ve never ridden in a group of cyclists and created that bubble you speak of. If cyclists are genuinely commuting, you’ll find that they will ride alone.

And in regards to your health system comments, so many of our community health problems are caused by obesity. If a large section of Canberrans were genuinely healthier through more exercise they would not require the health system for as much as they do now.

6
Mark Parton MLA 4:09 pm
25 Apr 17
#

dungfungus said :

Mark, why is it that some riders (like you) choose to wear those “pixie suits”?

Are you emulating professional riders? Do you get paid for advertising the names on the clothing?

And don’t try and tell me that lycra is comfortable – if this were the case everyone would be wearing it for all occasions.

In the picture attached to the story I’m actually wearing a West Coast Eagles football jumper over a tee shirt….and lycra on the bottom. Lycra bike pants have inbuilt padding. If you’re riding 60kms plus in a day, it will make your day more comfortable.

I probably only wear lycra on the top 20% of the time. I find the greatest benefit of a lycra top are the pockets at the base of the back. Very easy access while riding and the pockets are designed to be tight over whatever you put in them which means you won’t loose the contents on your ride.

And, when it all boils down, why should you care what I wear when I ride ? It has no effect on you.

7
John Moulis 4:29 pm
25 Apr 17
#

Mark Parton MLA said :

dungfungus said :

Mark, why is it that some riders (like you) choose to wear those “pixie suits”?

Are you emulating professional riders? Do you get paid for advertising the names on the clothing?

And don’t try and tell me that lycra is comfortable – if this were the case everyone would be wearing it for all occasions.

In the picture attached to the story I’m actually wearing a West Coast Eagles football jumper over a tee shirt….and lycra on the bottom. Lycra bike pants have inbuilt padding. If you’re riding 60kms plus in a day, it will make your day more comfortable.

I probably only wear lycra on the top 20% of the time. I find the greatest benefit of a lycra top are the pockets at the base of the back. Very easy access while riding and the pockets are designed to be tight over whatever you put in them which means you won’t loose the contents on your ride.

And, when it all boils down, why should you care what I wear when I ride ? It has no effect on you.

I ride the bike but I wear Brumbies gym shorts with pockets so I can keep my keys for the bike locks on me and if I want to go to the gym during the ride. I usually wear a gym singlet during summer (yeah, I’m a showoff 🙂 ) or a hoody during winter. To say all bike riders wear “pixie suits” (lycra) is a bit of a stereotyped attitude. I’ve noticed a trend away from lycras for cyclists, expecially among young BMX and MTB riders.

8
bigred 4:33 pm
25 Apr 17
#

Thanks for the positive piece on cycling Mark. One of the big expectations I have from your tenure with the lunatics on London Circuit is a general raising of awareness of the issues confronting those who choose to ride a bicycle as part of their transport solution, as opposed to an expression of athleticism. These are the people who do a bit of a risk assessment of the hazards of every route before heading off, rather than riding in close quarters with a gang trying to beat their previous Strava best time.

My first experience with that bad Canberra attitude towards cyclists came in 1980 when I got off the train from Cooma on Australia Day and was cut off by some middle aged male driving the generic orange HQ wagon. When politely questioned about his error he yelled out “pushbikes should be on the path”. Nothing much has changed except those middle aged males now drive beige Camrys just as badly. My point is that the attitude comes from a poor culture that will only be addressed by leadership. I look forward to seeing if you attempt to provide some leadership on this issue.

9
dungfungus 5:16 pm
25 Apr 17
#

Mark Parton MLA said :

dungfungus said :

Mark, why is it that some riders (like you) choose to wear those “pixie suits”?

Are you emulating professional riders? Do you get paid for advertising the names on the clothing?

And don’t try and tell me that lycra is comfortable – if this were the case everyone would be wearing it for all occasions.

In the picture attached to the story I’m actually wearing a West Coast Eagles football jumper over a tee shirt….and lycra on the bottom. Lycra bike pants have inbuilt padding. If you’re riding 60kms plus in a day, it will make your day more comfortable.

I probably only wear lycra on the top 20% of the time. I find the greatest benefit of a lycra top are the pockets at the base of the back. Very easy access while riding and the pockets are designed to be tight over whatever you put in them which means you won’t loose the contents on your ride.

And, when it all boils down, why should you care what I wear when I ride ? It has no effect on you.

When someone dressed in “the gear” rides near me a on shared path I actually feel intimidated because they are going too fast, obviously thinking they are competing in an international time trial.

They know there is no one there to enforce speed limits.

If they want to ride as fast as possible there is always that multi million dollar criterium facility at Stromlo Forest Park.

10
Dondon 7:57 pm
25 Apr 17
#

dungfungus said :

Mark, why is it that some riders (like you) choose to wear those “pixie suits”?

Are you emulating professional riders? Do you get paid for advertising the names on the clothing?

And don’t try and tell me that lycra is comfortable – if this were the case everyone would be wearing it for all occasions.

Dungfungus, I have to ask, do you have sight problems? The reason I ask is the photo obviously shows the author actually wearing a west coast jersey.

Next question, when you run do you wear running shorts and shirt and running shoes or do you wear your jeans and polo shirt with leather shoes. I mean unless you’re trying to look like Deeks, Freeman or some other professional sports person surely every day clothes are fine.

I use to wear rugby boots, shorts and a training jersey when training on the paddock for rugby. Does that mean I was trying to emulate a professional rugby player.

Alternatively, maybe wearing specific purpose designed clothing for that activity actually makes things a bit more comfortable. However I don’t think you are really into doing much except trolling on the internet from your mum’s basement so you wouldn’t realise that.

11
carnardly 8:02 pm
25 Apr 17
#

wild turkey has been anticyclist as long as the pope has been catholic.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4427142/Cycling-work-halves-risk-heart-disease-cancer.html was in the news last week. Obesity is costing us BILLIONS according to the AIHW report for 2016, but people here complain about a bit of paint and the cost of a few bike lanes around the place. Start off at 5 kms, or 10. Ride at a safe pace and within 3 months your risk of a heart attack will decrease significantly.

But there are different types of cyclist and not all of them are the lycra hoons. Yes you will get racers that can ride at 40 kmph and want good roads to do so. These guys keep up with traffic and ride between 6 and 7.30 in the morning and are generally off the road once drivers seem to demand the roads as their own during peak hour. At the other end of the scale you have people who are happy to pootle and are quite comfortable riding round the lake and shared paths at weekend. Then you have the sporting/fitness cyclists that might do a bit of triathlon, dabble with races, or utility cyclists that are hard core commuters to work.

Each has different needs and will ride differently.

There IS no war between cyclists and drivers. People should put their egos in their pockets and respect that that dude on a bike is also someone’s husband/brother/wife/sister/daughter/friend

I ride as safely as possible, wear bright coloured clothes (simply for visibility – no logos on me), lights at night and still have duckheads and idiots MGIF (must get in front) or SMIDGAF about you and push in or cut me off without so much as a second thought. I also ride on roads with on road bike lanes as the paths aren’t quick or efficient for where i want to go. I don’t hold up other drivers but get sworn at somewhat regularly. Paths also aren’t generally lit in many areas. Food has been thrown at me plenty of times. Empty soft drink cans bounce. Full ones hurt. I have been called all sorts of names on the canberra drivers farcebook page simply cos i am a cyclist and have chosen that method of transport. I have saved thousands over the years in petrol and parking fees and i’m not a fatty. While people moan about their tax dollars and cyclists paying rego, why should my tax dollars go to the retrofitting of bariatric ambulances and floors in the hospital to cater for lardarses?

I could be your child’s teacher, your local GP, the person that teachers your kids swimming on the weekend. But i’m ‘gettoffthefriggingroadyaf##ken##nt’ simply as i am on my bike. Somewhere along the line, most kids learn to ride a bike and have fun doing it. Do they lose that completely once they get a licence to drive a vehicle? Seems like it.

It’s bloody sad really…

12
Postalgeek 8:10 pm
25 Apr 17
#

dungfungus said :

And don’t try and tell me that lycra is comfortable – if this were the case everyone would be wearing it for all occasions.

I hear muumuus are quite comfortable. I guess that means everyone will be wearing one for all occasions now, over their pyjamas, which are also comfortable.

13
Instant 8:45 pm
25 Apr 17
#

I have seen so many poor examples of cycling on roads that I’m surprised cyclists don’t get abused more often. And I’ve yet to see a cyclist write an article about the pedestrians who are routinely startled and almost run over on a daily basis by inconsiderate, arrogant cyclists.

14
dungfungus 9:54 am
26 Apr 17
#

Dondon said :

dungfungus said :

Mark, why is it that some riders (like you) choose to wear those “pixie suits”?

Are you emulating professional riders? Do you get paid for advertising the names on the clothing?

And don’t try and tell me that lycra is comfortable – if this were the case everyone would be wearing it for all occasions.

Dungfungus, I have to ask, do you have sight problems? The reason I ask is the photo obviously shows the author actually wearing a west coast jersey.

Next question, when you run do you wear running shorts and shirt and running shoes or do you wear your jeans and polo shirt with leather shoes. I mean unless you’re trying to look like Deeks, Freeman or some other professional sports person surely every day clothes are fine.

I use to wear rugby boots, shorts and a training jersey when training on the paddock for rugby. Does that mean I was trying to emulate a professional rugby player.

Alternatively, maybe wearing specific purpose designed clothing for that activity actually makes things a bit more comfortable. However I don’t think you are really into doing much except trolling on the internet from your mum’s basement so you wouldn’t realise that.

There is nothing shown on that jersey showing it is a West Coast jersey. Who are West Coast incidentally?

I don’t go running.

I used to wear rugby boots when I was training – it’s a bit difficult to practise rucking with sand shoes.

I used to ride a bike everywhere in everyday clothes, no problems. If I turned up for work in a “pixie suit” I would have been fired. In those days we shared the road with cars, no problems.

And my mother is dead and I don’t live in a basement.

15
carnardly 12:15 pm
26 Apr 17
#

Instant said :

I have seen so many poor examples of cycling on roads that I’m surprised cyclists don’t get abused more often. And I’ve yet to see a cyclist write an article about the pedestrians who are routinely startled and almost run over on a daily basis by inconsiderate, arrogant cyclists.

everyone going down Adelaide Avenue at night has lights and a lid on and rides safely and predictably. They have to if they want to survive. I also pass through half a dozen sets of lights at woden and at any red light either morning or night there are cyclists lined up in the bike lanes along melrose drive. people don’t seem to notice the ‘good’ ones out there. there are plenty of us

However, the druggies around civic or the ‘free spirits’ that wander around the ANU are a law unto themselves. Good cyclists hate those too. No lights. No lids and often no idea. I expect many of them are organ donors in the making.

Re pedestrians – i ding my bell probably 20 metres behind EVERY pedestrian i come up upon. About 10 metres behind i ding again and call ‘bike passing’. many give an acknowledgement wave. many don’t move. some groups split like scattering sheep and run in each direction. some turn around and say ‘i don’t have to get out of your way’ but in significantly more colourful language. For those people, i’m not expecting you to get out of the way. I’m just letting you know i’m coming so you don’t have a heart attack. By far the greatest percentage of pedos don’t even hear me as they’re plugged in and oblivious to their own surroundings. These are the ones i trust the least as many will leap like a started gazelle when they are finally aware you’re there. Sometimes a cyclist can’t win. I and my friends and fellow commuters have yet to hit anyone in decades of riding. hell maybe there’s something wrong with me…?

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