The Cycling Myth

According to Chris Rissel, writing for The Conversation but reported here at the ABC, cycling has declined in ratio to the population. Our country has grown by 58% since ’86 but cycling has only grown by 21%. Apparently in other cities, not Gold Coast, they’re seeing legions of cyclist battling for the last remaining post to hitch their bikes to and people are mistakenly assuming that a cycling boom is going on.

If you relied on such anecdotal evidence you would assume that here on the Gold Coast there had been a garage sale boom and every dodgy $20 ride from Cape York to Melbourne had been released onto our streets. On the streets of the Gold Coast the best you might hope to see in a bike in a hand-knitted jumper:

(from Bike Hacks)

According to Stephen Greaves part of the problem is helmets. Cycling decreased by 30-40% when helmets were introduced. I’m definitely on board with the anti-helmet/pro-common sense lobby. I don’t see why I shouldn’t be given a choice of whether to wear helmets of not, though I did briefly reform at one stage. But I wonder at the figures presented. Most people I know these days barely walk and there are no helmet laws mandated for walkers. Plenty people will jump in a car for any foot journey over 100metres. Plain fact is people have gotten fat and lazy.

What I can agree with is that more cyclist makes for safer cycling. On the Gold Coast where so few people cycle you’re really taking your life into your hands when you venture onto the road with the morons who drive cars. One of the morons recently sparked a wave of letter writing from all the other morons when they submitted a letter to the local paper complaining about the behaviour of the few cyclists left on the road. It smacked of the school bully crying because the skinny kid he’d been beating on all year just called him fatty but these people were quite serious in their outrage. I can only hope that if we had greater numbers of cyclist on the road they’d learn to share with us instead of getting filled with righteous rage and a deliciously nauseating and almost overwhelming desire to run us over every time they see one of our number.

All I can say to anyone who is on the edge of actually wheeling out their bicycle is “do it”. It’s certainly a tonne more fun than sitting in a car. Some of you will inevitably be maimed or killed but it’ll be for the greater good. Eventually we’ll reach critical mass and other road users will stop trying to kill us. In the meantime…

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