In Australia cyclists are often labelled as w@nker$
Australia is the most aggressive place I have ever come across when it comes to tolerance of cyclists on the roads. I’ve heard London is pretty bad where the roads are very congested, but I’ve had beer bottles thrown at me while riding in the emergency lane of a country road. While normally lovely people, Australians become so self centered and impatient once they get behind the wheel.
The number of times I’ve heard “I got stuck behind a bunch of cyclists the other weekend. They weren’t just riding 2 abreast and they slowed me down”. But when asked how many other cyclists they have encounter that didn’t cause them a problem – they had no idea, but preferred to label all cyclists and red light running road hogs that should pay registration to pay for the roads. But as Charlie has pointed out registration doesn’t pay for the roads, taxes do. And besides most cyclists have a car at home, they just choose to not use it.
The media LOVES to pick up on the popular rage against cyclists. And while the message of Charlie’s tv piece above makes some very valid points, they couldn’t make it “entertaining” enough for the Australian public without dulling down the points with canned laughter.
Politicians also face back lash when ever they fund cycling infrastructure, and it is a real up hill battle to get any support. But if you stand on a street corner in docklands between 7:30 and 8:30am and see the streams of cyclists coming into work in the CBD, you can just imagine how much MORE crowded the metro and road systems would be if those increasingly healthy people choose NOT to ride into work.
Strangely enough I feel safer riding my bike in CHINA where the drivers have very little skills, the pedestrians are brainless, the scooter riders are brainless but move faster, and the taxi drivers are insainly unpredictable. The difference is everybody accepts the way things are – cyclists and scooters will be on the road and you have to find a way to work with that. However in Australia the expectation is that cyclists should just get out of the way of cars.
And aggro drivers believe cyclists think they own the road……