Sunday, 1 November 2009

Cyclophobia in Sydney

This is a classic of journalistic rhetoric, is it not? And the media of the world’s most cycling-hostile societies (i.e. Canada, the USA, Britain, Australia and New Zealand) are full of such sentiments:

For motorists worried about losing their licences amid an orgy of fines, speed cameras, school zones, chicanes, speed humps, road closures, infinitely variable speed limits and a dizzying array of new signage, the growing band of entitled cyclists on painfully congested roads is simply the last straw.

"Some cyclists have become … the most obnoxious, aggressive and self-centred people in Sydney," wrote William. "A single cyclist on an inappropriate road often causes a cascade of delays and congestion to multiple people in cars behind them."

In the London Borough of Waltham Forest these ‘inappropriate roads’ are known as ‘quiet routes for cyclists’ – and woe betide any cyclist who finds herself pedalling down one when a driver catches up with her. The blowing of a car horn and the screaming of obscenities are often the prelude to a determined attempt to use a ton of metal to force the cyclist aside and get past.