Cycling in Sydney Australia
What a beautiful place to ride, what a tragic event - on Mother's Day no less.
It may be time to move our focus for cyclist safety away from Roads or even TfNSW and over to Health where their concern for us may be a higher priority if only because the positives of more people active must be becoming more pressing.
+1. I'm just suggesting that elements of the right wing MLC crossbench may be amenable to arguments that major right wing parties would not be amenable to. Congrats on Federal scrutiny! Good luck for Victoria!
Samuel the person holding the balance of power in Federal politics after 1 July will be Clive Palmer. Good luck convincing him of the health benefits of any physical activity!
At the moment in NSW the party in power is too busy contemplating its dirty navel to be developing any new ideas.
In Vic the party in power knows it won't be in power after the election in November this year.
I work in the office of Government, Policy and Strategy in a university. I have a little bit of experience dealing with political matters. I don't think any health department wants to be told to spend more money on anything other than trying to fix the hospital system at the moment.
I think we should be doing some market research to assess the real issues that motorists have with cyclists. I think the best way to resolve the problem is better infrastructure in built up areas and better road shoulders out of town.
Writing off the ACP so early?
Do we need any market research to tell us the obvious and already well documented? "Motorists" are not a separate species we have to study to understand. There may be deeply rooted psychological behaviours at play but these are not new. There are also vested interests, political pandering and a lack of planning at work.
We don't influence because we don't have a seat at the table when it comes to passing legislation or holding minsters to account. We can write submissions until we wear out our keyboards or touch screens but this yields little for the invested effort - as is plain to see.
What we really need is leadership that says "we need more people to cycle, and they won't if they don't feel safer". Now get the heads of the departments (health, police, roads, transport, planning) to put together a plan that systematically addresses the issues that aggravate the situation on the roads and provide a plan to fix them. A well coordinated, full frontal attack on the key pressure areas - not just a PR exercise here or green paint there.
Most of what needs to be done as you would well know is sitting in reports and recommendations gathering dust on shelves and the bits and bytes on disk drives of many of the professionals already in place in the respective departments. As they say, "it's not rocket science".
What we need is the will in government and the support of enough people who are willing to say "enough already" - if you won't change, we are willing to change you. 120 years of turning the other cheek is over.
It is now up to us to show we are serious about this.
Well put Omar and no I am not writing off the ACP - I think I was one of the first members.
The market research idea was to try to get a perspective on all the abuse that is leveled at cyclists by motorists. Some is just ignorant but some may well be constructive and realistic. I think as cyclists we tend to take a "gut reaction" and oppose every comment that is negative about us rather than stop to think whether a valid point has been made. In any case, if you don't think we need to dig deeper in that area, I will certainly not be pushing the idea (of the market research).
So how do we start this "well coordinated, full frontal attack"?
Get ourselves elected... or at least enough of a threat in a marginal seat or two that we can sway some policy discussions and decisions...
As for the market research, I suppose what may be useful is to see if there is a deeper causal link in Australian society that surfaces on Kings Cross, outside Bondi mansions and at us on the roads. As the historic perspective has uncovered, this denigration and even acting out is nothing new. I think that research could indeed be interesting!
Last week a newspaper article raved on about a hospital in ACT upgrading their toilets because they were "only" rated to 170 kgs and some patients were breaking them. They are being upgraded to a 450 kg rating thanks to Terry Taxpayer.
Plus why bother with innovative thinking or thinking at all about prevention when you can just slug Terry for more tax. 15% GST is not far away, then 20%... then we can widen the doors in hospitals nation wide to fit the patients.
The Health Department would do well to look at anything that could prevent the influx of new patients with easily preventable diseases like obesity and diabetes. The risks and costs posed by inactivity should be the single biggest issue in Australia and probably the world.
Omar, I think your reference to a European country is in fact Denmark. I attended my last European Cycling Federation conference in Scotland in 2001. My recollection was that the Danish transport and health departments had already been amalgamated at that time.
I've read that exercise can reduce your risk of cancer by some rather high percentages, remembering 40-50%
If a pill had that result it would be mandatory to take it.
Sad to read of yet another death.
As usual, they got this wrong: "Ms Bryant died after the bicycle she was travelling on collided with a Ford utility on Cassilis Road."
It is like saying "an assault victim punched a gentleman's fist with his face".
Again, history keeps repeating...
A councillor said "he had seen printed on innumerable occasions that a cyclist ran into a motor car. ‘But,’ he continued, ‘I have yet to read a notice where a motor car runs into a cyclist!’" - The Referee 1939
It has been embedded very deeply in the use and abuse of our approach to cycling over a very long time.
More sloppy editing.
The NSW police media release is neutral:
Emergency services were called to Cassilis Road just before 8am (Sunday 11 May 2014), after a bicycle and For utility collided.