“Cyclists are dangerous and shouldn’t be allowed on the roads”
- Surely, if you took cyclist off the roads the accident rate would remain high; if you took the cars off the road the accident rate would plummet.
- Most cyclists also own cars; therefore, by choosing to make some trips by bicycle, which reduces the wear and tear on the roads, it could be argued that they should get a rebate on their road charges.
- Given that the accident rate for pedestrians is higher than for bicycles, does that mean that we should not allow pedestrians either? Auckland is going to be a very lonely and desolate place!
The comments clearly display the bigoted car-centric perspective of many new Zealanders (the NZ media reports were no better). I seriously contemplated a return to Europe.
However, after the remedial effects of a hot bath and a glass of red wine I realised that it really wasn’t their fault – the comments were prompted by ignorance. Over the last few decades the governments, city councils and town planners have engineered this ignorance by marginalising and inciting a fear of cycling through actions such as compulsory helmet laws and a lack of cycling infrastructure. At the same time car driving is promoted by allowing children (15 is the legal driving age in NZ) to get behind the wheel; creating houses that give the same quality of accommodation to cars and family members; and designing facilities such as shopping areas, suburbs and a Harbour Bridge that can be reached and navigated only by car.
These same powers wish to promote NZ as a cycle tourism destination (word to the wise: the internet makes the world a very small place) and are prescribing a ‘share with care’ solution to the problems that we now have. But this will not overcome the ignorance clearly evident in the Herald comments. To make ‘share with care’ work we need to get more people on their bicycles. Drivers understand pedestrians because when they get out of their cars they too are pedestrians, but if only very few drivers cycle, cyclist will remain an unknown race that incites prejudice in car drivers.
So how do we get more people on their bicycles? ... We woo them. We show them that cycling is stylish, fun, good for you, and just down right sexy!!
We get on our bicycles and ride …