Well, it appears that the North Shore Times (letters@northshoretimes.com.au should you want to send your own less extreme message supporting the LCBP, or maybe one about this) doesn't want to publish my latest missive. Perhaps it is too long, too undiplomatic, too much of a rant, too extreme in its viewpoint. At least you can read it here and judge for yourself. Let me know what I should have said differently.
 
The Lane Cove Bicycle Plan "controversy"
Is giving bicycles access through short sections of bush, already penetrated by walking tracks, really going to be the environmental disaster some claim? 
 
In upper Stringybark Ck valley, off Murray St in Lane Cove North, a short boardwalk has been installed to protect the bush and improve walking access. I can't see any reason why longer and slightly wider versions shared by bicycles and pedestrians wouldn't work. Compacted gravel paths would be the cheapest option, of course.  
 
Do those who want to keep bikes out of the bush ever cycle? Or are they part of the mob always clamouring for "more parking", "more parking", "more parking" in the Lane Cove "Village" and then whinging about the amount of traffic congestion there? 
 
Do they also park their cars on the nature strips outside their homes and block pedestrian access along them? The places where cars are routinely parked like that become sterile, degraded wastelands. All the soil washes down into the local creeks, ruining the water quality, ensuring weeds spread and native fish die. I have always found it hypocritical that Council requires builders/developers to put in "Tree Protection Zones" outside their construction sites but does nothing to stop residents destroying adjacent "nature" strips by parking there.
 
It is similarly hypocritical to criticise non-polluting, quiet, space-saving bicycles for supposed environmental impacts while failing to address the problem caused by ever-increasing car use in the village centre. 
 
And before anyone says you can't carry enough on a bicycle to do the shopping, my wife and I have managed for many years to cycle with a week's groceries for our family of four, using pannier bags and/or a detachable bicycle trailer. Neither of us is an Olympic athlete, either. We are both in our mid-50s. It can be done. But it could and should be made easier.
 

Neil

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Two excellent letter. Thanks Neil.

We came so close to achieving a cycle-friendly Lane Cove. Now we need to regroup. The way forward is to place safe off-road bike infrastructure firmly on the agenda at the next Council elections. To achieve this we'll need lots of supporters & networking. This is how the Woolworths & Library extension beat essentially the same core opponents who opposed the Bike Plan.  If there are supporters out there who would like to get involved, please email me:  < donmurchison@gmail.com > 

Thanks,  DON.

'Nother great letter from a cyclist in today's NST, bagging out NMAA's Michael Lane. This one is from SC's own CPF-award-winning Russ Webber:

I am surprised that, in all his years as an advocate for the freedom of motorists to trample everyone else's rights, Michael Lane (Conversations, 4 December) has not realised that taxes on motorists shouldn't be spent solely on encouraging motoring any more than taxes on smokers should be spent encouraging smoking.
 
Even if his fanciful notion that "motor vehicle users contribute some four times the amount of money spent on roads" were true, there is still the need to deal with the damaging effects of ever more roads, cars and trucks. The list, of course, is longer than anyone's arm -- from road deaths and permanent disablement to climate change -- imposing a huge burden on every taxpayer. Motorists have been contributing proportionally less every year since the populist decision of the Howard government to freeze fuel excise.
 
Lane doesn't appear to understand that providing facilities for cyclists, at a cost several orders of magnitude lower than for roads, would benefit motorists by reducing motor traffic, lessening fuel demand and hence prices, and easing parking problems.
 
Over 800 cyclists an hour ride across the Sydney Harbour Bridge cycleway in the morning peak, equivalent to nearly one lane on that bridge. Would Mr Lane prefer them in single-occupant cars and to compete with them for parking in the city?
 
Cyclists pay GST on helmets which, illogically, are not required by motorists. I'd say that is equivalent to a tax on cyclists and brings in more money to the state at less cost than would a registration charge proportional to that for motor vehicles.
 

Russ Webber

Greenwich

Some great arguments in there!

Lane hits back ... with a wet noodle.

Today's NST has a long letter from him repeating many of the arguments debunked just last Friday in Russ's letter, above.

Here is an excerpt:

The real issue is the inability to comprehend that motor vehicle users contribute some four times the cost of building and maintaining roads whereas the use of his [i.e. NA's] preferred vehicle (a bicycle) makes virtually no contribution to costs.

That motorists contributions go through consolidated revenue does not alter the fact that he pays next to nothing directly for his road usage.

Motor vehicles must also have third party insurance to cover the cost of injuries caused but cyclists do not.

Further, motor vehicles have to be registered ... so that they can be connected to their owners in the event of misdeeds but cyclists oppose this for themselves so they cannot be brought to account for their misdeeds.

Effectively cyclists have both a "get out of tax" and a "get out of prosecution" card.

Michael Lane, St Ives

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