Sent in to the Age tonight... maybe I'll get published
Re: Jane Caro, Opinion, The Sunday Age January 13.http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/societ ... 2cmbt.html
Here’s yet another anecdotal “Cyclists Are Dangerous To Pedestrians” article. Anecdote is not data. This is a point Jane Caro, as a researcher knows very well. Let’s have a little look at the actual data, shall we?
Of 279 road deaths in 2012, 35 were pedestrians. 35!
In the period 2003 – 2012, two thousand, eight hundred and fifty seven people were killed in road fatalities (TAC). Of these, 71 were cyclists killed by motor vehicles. 435 were pedestrians. Of the pedestrians, one, just one, over that whole ten year period, was unfortunately killed by a cyclist in 2007.
During its 52-day summer enforcement campaign beginning November 16, Victoria Police detected 75,985 traffic offences:
5045 disqualified and unlicensed drivers; 6559 unregistered vehicles; 2863 drink-drivers; 24,709 speeding offences; 3299 seatbelt offences; 6077 mobile phone offences; and they also impounded 472 vehicles. More than 1700 drink and drug drivers were taken off the road during Operation RAID alone, which ran for three weeks at the beginning of the campaign.
Cyclists are not dangerous to pedestrians – but motorists are demonstrably so.
Jane Caro, however, finds one lycra-clad cyclist who dares to actually stop, and discuss a common sense safety issue on a bike path. Outrageous. The letter of the law states that pedestrians have right of way on a shared path. This does not mean that pedestrians have the right to block the path for others. In practice it works very well, and for the huge majority of cases, cyclists and pedestrians treat each other with respect and courtesy. The reporting of one negative anecdote does nothing to maintain that thoughtful culture.
Caro is also well aware of the implications of demonising individuals based upon dress, whether it be Hasidic, hippy, haute couture, or God forbid, a young girl dressed to the nines and out at night. Here she contributes to the aggression and prejudice towards those who wear lycra – the most practical fabric for cyclists as it breathes well and does not hold moisture.
So here’s a little pot-boiler from this social researcher to keep the prejudice against cyclists alive. It is a prejudice that places the lives of cyclists everywhere at risk from aggressive motorists who believe that somehow anyone on a bike and wearing lycra is a scofflaw who deserves to be run off the road.