Blunt Instrument: Peddling commuter anger

Has is it ever occurred to you that maybe bicycle riders don't belong in the city? It did to me the other morning as I crawled across the Story Bridge at about 12 klicks-per behind some stupidly smug, selfish git on one of those dumb-arse bikes you sort of lie back into like a recliner lounge.

Published October 25, 2007 by  Brisbane Times Blog
By John Birmingham

Has is it ever occurred to you that maybe bicycle riders don't belong in the city? It did to me the other morning as I crawled across the Story Bridge at about 12 klicks-per behind some stupidly smug, selfish git on one of those dumb-arse bikes you sort of lie back into like a recliner lounge.

This dude was trundling along in the middle of the city-bound lane, presumably well aware of the thousand or more commuters he was holding up, not really exerting himself to go even a little bit faster, not making any effort to unclog the traffic blockage that he and he alone was causing, and, I have no doubt, revelling in the warm, sanctimonious glow of the self-righteous tool as he contemplated all the grams of carbon he was keeping out of the atmosphere.

It's entirely possible he was even drawing some contentment from the very inconvenience he was causing so many others, reckoning his personally inspired episode of gridlock to be a lesson to irresponsible vehicle owners who are killing the planet and straining the health system with their unhealthy lifestyles.

How much did I regret not getting that anti-personnel Metal Storm pod installed when I had the car serviced last time?

Still, in spite of adding to the already bubbling cauldron of rage on the roads, perhaps this loser did the city a favour. He certainly alerted me to how much driving angst is involved in dealing with cyclists. A lot of them are right up there with vegans for gimlet-eyed fantacism and for all of their indignant yammering and claims on the moral high ground, these people are road users like anyone else and they should obey the rules. If a car edged across a major city link bridge at little better than a jogging pace when traffic conditions allowed it to travel at the speed limit, would the driver be arrested and charged with creating some sort of hazard? Would they at least be pulled over and cautioned by the cops?

Really, I don't know the answer. I'm asking you to tell me.

What would happen to the driver of a motorcycle who decided that red lights didn't really apply to him or her, because, you know, they're quite a bit smaller than a car, and while stopped they do have their feet on the ground, so really, they have just as much right to roll through the intersection as those pedestrians crossing with the green walk light?

What would happen if a hundred or so car drivers decided to storm through the city streets in the grey hours before dawn on a 'hell ride', because, you know, it's fun in a post-apocalyptic Mad Max sorta way, and they mowed down an old man and killed him?

Do you think they'd get off like the cycle hoon in Melbourne who killed poor old James Gould?

And what if a 4WD owner decided he or she really didn't dig the road so much but quite liked the idea of testing themselves on the bike path right next to it. Sure, it would be a little inconvenient to the cyclists, but who the hell cares about them? They're just a bunch of old man-killing yahoos, after all.