Friday, September 19, 2008

the difference

a cyclist was killed by a bus yesterday morning right in the middle of the city on a major cycling route that is quite dangerous. this street has a lot of coach and tour buses that park along it. there are also tram tracks down the middle (and a VERY narrow gap when a tram goes down along a row of coaches). add in a bunch of unaware pedestrians (why would you step off a curb on a major city road without looking first?), some taxis and some horse drawn carriages and you have accidents waiting to happen. bicycle victoria has been working with the council to find an alternative place for the coaches (they are planned to be moved some time in 2009 i think). unfortunately this had to happen.
looking at the readers' comments in the age article there was a lot of support to try to remove the coaches sooner from a very dangerous high cycling volume area and other things that could be done to help make cycling thru the cbd safer and encourage more people to ride. next i went to the herald sun site. the difference between the readers of each of the papers (which i knew already) is shocking. the first half dozen or so comments (and more throughout) just state ban the bikes! do they not think what would happen if those 2000 people each hopped into their cars and decided to drive along with the already ridiculous traffic (or even using already overcrowded public transport)? yes there are idiot riders who do dangerous and illegal things but most cyclists are not like that (and the ones who are doing illegal things should be fined more often). some of the comments were completely ignorant drivers who actually have no idea what the cycling rules are (saying its illegal to ride 2 abreast and hold up traffic-- its actually completely legal when there is more than 1 lane of traffic and is often safer to take up a lane than to be pinned next to parked cars while cars try to unsafely pass the bike rider in a narrow lane).
what happened yesterday was pretty horrible but hopefully it'll make drivers and cyclists think more and be more aware of other road users and hopefully out of this tragedy swanston street (along with other major bike routes) will be made safer in the near future.

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