Sunday, February 17, 2013

Cycling Road Rage Bike bullies ignore laws Herald Sun Beach Road Bunch Cycling No Stopping Zone Rule of Law Due Process Equal Application of the Law Rule of Law IS One Size Fits All Respect of One Person for Another


"In the end, however, there is virtually no sympathy for the plight of the cyclist, no matter the age.
For that, you can thank cyclists who break the law.
Those who ride on the footpath, run red lights and swish past pedestrians at break-neck speed.
The only way community attitudes will change is if cyclists lead from the front.
That means no more Hell Ride, tougher laws, 

tighter policing and an 

acceptance among riders that they are widely despised and 

distrusted."


"Anyone who has ever encountered the Hell Ride will know it has been a whirring accident waiting to happen.
With no regard for the rule of law, it roars around the bay with adrenalin-charged abandon, the riding equivalent of bungy jumping with a frayed rope.
As much as the police response to Mr Gould's death has been swift and laced with heavy rhetoric, it seems deeply surprising that the Hell Ride wasn't banned years ago.
It also seems equally surprising that the full force of the law cannot be imposed on riders who flout the law to the point where a pedestrian like Mr Gould can be killed."


"Rule of law, equal application of the law, due process, respect of one person for another are necessary for a peaceful productive society" 



Malcolm Fraser

Bike bullies ignore laws

THE St Kilda Cycling Club is planning a memorial ride tomorrow to mark the Beach Rd death of James Gould.
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The riders, no doubt well-intentioned, will be very lucky if bayside residents don't line the road at Mentone, armed with eggs, tacks and abuse.
Mr Gould, as many will know, was the 77-year-old struck down at the weekend by a cyclist as the notorious Hell Ride roared through.
It is a certainty that the 30-year-old man who allegedly collided with Mr Gould didn't start the day intending to hit a pedestrian.
Nonetheless, it is most likely Mr Gould's death will redefine the relationship between rider, motorist and pedestrian.
It has probably set back the cycling cause a decade or more.
In a year when the number of cycling deaths in Victoria jumped to 11, an increase of 83 per cent, the debate will no doubt shift sharply away from saving riding lives and back on to how to make the roads safer for pedestrians and drivers.
Anyone who has ever encountered the Hell Ride will know it has been a whirring accident waiting to happen.
With no regard for the rule of law, it roars around the bay with adrenalin-charged abandon, the riding equivalent of bungy jumping with a frayed rope.
As much as the police response to Mr Gould's death has been swift and laced with heavy rhetoric, it seems deeply surprising that the Hell Ride wasn't banned years ago.
It also seems equally surprising that the full force of the law cannot be imposed on riders who flout the law to the point where a pedestrian like Mr Gould can be killed.
The rider has so far only been charged with running a red light.
Police have indicated that the law does not regard bicycles in the same way as motor vehicles.
And yet the Herald Sun has been told that, under the right circumstances, cyclists could be charged with manslaughter, which carries a maximum 20-year jail term.
Conduct endangering life could carry a 10-year jail term.
As thousands more cyclists flock to the roads to escape the pain of rising petrol prices, there seems to be no better time to bring cyclists into line with their motorised cousins.
A central problem with policing cyclists is that they are hard to apprehend.
Which suggests that it is probably time for greater regulation of riders.
Beach Rd in particular would be well served by an identification system, maybe involving numbered bibs, which would enable law breakers to be dealt with.
There could be no greater incentive to adhere to the rule of law than charging hell riders who endanger lives.
The same should go for bike paths.
Riders who deliberately and knowingly threaten pedestrians should have their bikes confiscated in the same way that young hoons lose their cars.
Equally, for this system to work, there needs to be greater policing of motorists who endanger cyclists' lives.
It is no good to suggest that only one side of the equation should pay.
Indeed, some of the risk-taking by cyclists probably has something to do with the fact that many drivers care nought for the safety of their two-wheeled counterparts.
The thinking goes: why follow rules when cars and trucks, with relentless and dangerous frequency, endanger cyclists' lives.
Melburnians have much to learn about living with the benefits of cycling.
There is a reason why, according to the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, 11 per cent of all seriously injured road users are cyclists.
It can't always be the rider's fault.
At this point, some readers will huff and puff that riders have no rights; they don't pay registration fees, nor do they pay petrol taxes.
And yet, those most likely to be seriously injured are their children and grandchildren, which is a powerful reason for some sense to be injected into the debate.
ATSB figures show that cyclists aged 16 and under make up almost half of those seriously injured on the roads.
In the end, however, there is virtually no sympathy for the plight of the cyclist, no matter the age.
For that, you can thank cyclists who break the law.
Those who ride on the footpath, run red lights and swish past pedestrians at break-neck speed.
The only way community attitudes will change is if cyclists lead from the front.
That means no more Hell Ride, tougher laws, tighter policing and an acceptance among riders that they are widely despised and distrusted.
Even if it is a case of the sins of a few damning the honest majority.
fergusonj@heraldsun.com.au

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