Adrian has started doing some analysis of public comments in the aftermath of the bunch incident on Southern Cross Drive. It's a very interesting read and I'm looking forward to seeing where he takes it.

Nice work Adrian!

Check it out here.

Views: 53

Comment by Colin on June 13, 2008 at 12:21pm
Interesting, and I like the way it subtly pathologises cyclist-hatred. :)

My question is: to what extent do cyclist-hater's responses represent their real reasons for hating cyclists? People often latch on to any old argument to justify an underlying resentment/hatred/emotional reaction.
Comment by Adrian on June 13, 2008 at 12:44pm
Colin, its too early to say anything definative, but one often finds that a lot of aggression towards cyclists is a displaced form of aggression that is 'really' related to the broader problems and frustrations of traffic and congestion. Imagine your stuck in traffic all day behind other cars and then one cyclist sudernly pulls in front of you and you go crazy at the cyclist. In your mind, its not the broader system of roads and transport that is preventing you from going where you want, it is that one individual selfish arrogant cyclist who is making your life hell.
Comment by Jonathon Troy on June 13, 2008 at 3:14pm
I agree with you on the displacement issue but how much is the issue with "taking up a whole lane of traffic" an indication of the ignorance of the road rules on the part of the motorist? Some states in the US requires motorists to undertake examinations on the road rules as part of the licence renewal process, where as in Australia there is no obligation for the driver update their knowlledge of the road rules. I base this theory on other diatribes I have seen (in the Terror and SMH) have included claims that cyclists should be travelling in single file not two abreast because it is "against the road rules".
Comment by Colin on June 13, 2008 at 3:32pm
I've always like the slogan "Hate traffic? You are traffic!" and I think it may provide something of a clue here. Perhaps motorists are projecting their sub-conscious self-hatred onto cyclists?
Comment by Jonathon Troy on June 13, 2008 at 3:51pm
The issues brought up by the cyclist haters makes me wonder how are we going to change attitudes - and consquentially behaviour. People still drink and drive, drive without seat belts and of course exceed the speed limit while driving. Yet there are always people who will claim any enforcement action is revenue raising.
Comment by Neil Alexander on June 13, 2008 at 3:56pm
Beautifully said, Colin. Part of it has to be the feeling of imprisonment of being in a cell-sized space jammed in between other cells -- think roads as mobile prisons! -- so who wouldn't become jealous and angry at seeing someone exercising their freedom to pedal. Especially without paying ONE CENT for the privilege, other than income tax, council rates, GST, stamp duties, etc, of course.
Comment by Adrian on June 13, 2008 at 4:33pm
Jonathan, with regard your comment about the road rules and the false belief that cyclists are not allowed to ride in bunches or two abreast. I'd interpret such attitudes is an issue of spatial dominance or domination. Some motorists (and cyclists) will say they don't mind cyclists on the road provided they're riding single file or as close to the gutter as possible. In other words, they want to be able to squeeze past without being forced to change lanes. However, when cyclists take the whole lane or ride in bunch then sudernly the very same cyclists are collectively regarded as threatening and trying to take over the road. The logic is, I don't hate cyclists (I tolerate them), as long as they don't ride together so I can feel dominant.

You find similar issues in studies on racism. Some Anglo-Australians will profess that they're not racists, that 'migrants' are fine, they'll tell you they have friends from different backgrounds (i.e. they buy their bread from friendly vietnamese baker and he's a nice guy etc)... However, if something like a large number of 'them' move into their area or heaven's forbid build a Mosque, then very same people who say that they like migrants will then claim that the suburb/country is being taken over!!! They'll say things like, 'I don't mind migrants, but they musn't be allowed to all group together in large numbers'.
Comment by Jonathon Troy on June 13, 2008 at 5:04pm
The changing nature of our roads mean there will be more cyclists - just wait til 2010 when the carbon emissions trading scheme comes in and adds carbon tax to petrol. There are signs that things are changing according to Ross Gittens "New car sales are now falling and the quantity of petrol bought in the first three months of the year fell by more than 5 per cent".
It will be a gradual change but I have noticed more bicycles in town on the occasions I have gone in to the city. You never know the time may come when the balance of the spatial dominace/domination may change.
Comment by Jonathon Troy on June 13, 2008 at 5:21pm
Dave and Adrian have hit on something that I noticed with some of these comments. I wrote somewhere that if you changed the word cyclist for any of the usual terms of endearment people use for groups they don't like (I won't use them here to avoid offending anyone) and replaced term "off the road" for "out of the country" or "back to where they came from". For example Well I think they should be banned of the road, the think they own it! Would become Well I think they should get out of the country, the think they own it!
Comment by threeta on June 13, 2008 at 7:17pm
my favourite way of expressing a lot of this sentiment is: Cyclists' own the roads, car drivers pay for it. But the reality is that, even if we did have to pay a rego fee, nothing would change - the car drivers will still feel they have more right, as they're paying more, are bigger or were there first. Oops - sorry all you car drivers - the bike was around long before the automobile. By about 40 years I do recollect!!!.


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