Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Cycling Deaths Fatalities 22 Cycling Fatalities, Victoria 2003- 2012 Dumb ways to Die 'Conspiracy of Silence' Comment by Pete Dowe Cycling/ Pedestrian/ Community Safety

Comment by Pete Dowe

Conspiracy of Silence

VicRoads CrashStats recorded 24 fatal collisions involving cyclists in Victoria  

in which the cyclists were responsible for the crash during the 10 year period 2003- 2012.

Almost all of the deaths were caused by the rider failing to comply with the road rules.

22 deaths were cyclist fatalities which included 3 fatal collisions with other cyclists, 

and one death involving a Train.  http://petedoweroadsafetyadvocate.blogspot.com.au/2014/05/cyclist-death-fatality-collision-with.html

(http://petedoweroadsafetyadvocate.blogspot.com.au/2014/06/cycling-death-fatality-collision-with.html June 17th 2014)

http://petedoweroadsafetyadvocate.blogspot.com.au/2012/09/cyclist-dies-riding-on-train-station.html *

Two pedestrians were also fatally injured by cyclists who failed to observe the road rules.



This data reaffirms the analysis in Bicycle Network Victoria's Report into Cycle Deaths in Victoria 2002,.

The report concluded that cyclists who break the law are much more likely to be killed and seriously injured.

Cycling safety is both a behaviour and infrastructure issue.

The policy of cycling participation or 'any kind of cycling more often' sets no standard for cycling behaviour 

and deems any discussion of  cyclists' behaviour irrelevant.

i.e 'it doesn't matter how you cycle.' it only matters that you get 'on yer bike'.

It is argued that Any kind of cycling more often has been deemed to have health benefits through aerobic exercise re increased life span,

and that more infrastructure would allow more participation in cycling.

This single minded focus on infrastructure re cycling safety however dwells on motorist wrongdoing.

The terms of reference of the cycling participation policy are simply incentives/ disincentives to cycling participation, with motorist behaviour a disincentive.

The participation policy does not allow criticism of cycling behaviour.

As any criticism is also deemed a disincentive to cycling participation.

Knowledge of the risks involved in cycling so that one can engage in preventative risk reduction, 

or even make an informed choice as to whether one exercises/ travels on a bicycle, 

is also deemed a disincentive to cycling participation along the lines of 

"if you know the risks you may not take up cycling"

This policy of increased cycling participation has created a 'conspiracy of silence' 

in relation to tragic cycling accidents where the cyclist was responsible for the crash.

Instead of highlighting tragedies from carelessness as a community safety issue 

and saying "don't do this, you can get killed, or kill others"

The cycling participation policy says it doesn't matter how you cycle 

and that being subject to the law and law enforcement are a disincentive to cycling participation.

The cycling participation policy is ideologically unsound.

The conspiracy of silence re cycling fatalities where cyclists were responsible for the crash suggests no need for law enforcement.

The conspiracy of silence suggests that a cyclist can't hurt anyone and don't get themselves killed.

It would have you believe the big bad car apparently causes all cycling deaths and serious injuries.

The public believe the conspiracy of silence.

They have no choice.

 Political will to act on road safety is tied to community sentiment.

Why should the public not believe any kind of cycling is wonderful and even a morally superior activity?

Our Road Safety Authorities have remained silent.

Cycling has been outsourced to the vested interests and their memberships 

with the Road Safety Authorities taking little or no role in cycling.

Is it any wonder why unregulated cycling is a law unto itself?

Or that cycling is all just too hard to regulate?

And it is the cycling community who are victims of the cycling participation policy.

They did not create the conspiracy of silence.

They simply believe it.

* VicRoads Crash Stats only record accidents on road

Pete Dowe

Road Safety Advocate
May 14th 2014


It would seem to me that a Government's foremost responsibility is health and safety,

otherwise the financial responsibility is simply death duties,

the social responsibility is a wake, 

one's own wake,

and one is too dead to enjoy the environment.

      Whilst cycling participation has been promoted by the State as a means of achieving/ maintaining

health and fitness, the health and fitness objective of cycling participation 

is undermined where the means of exercise is unsafe/ unsafe cycling. 

                Also if we as a society were to view cyclist fatalities as collateral damage/ cannon fodder 

for the greater good of cycling participation (?)

I would still argue that many were/ are preventable deaths from unsafe cycling behaviour 

and that these cyclists did not have to die.

They were/ are more likely to die from a focus on participation for participation's sake.

          The public has not expressed a "collateral damage" view towards cycling participation, 

nor any view on deaths from unsafe cycling behaviour as they are not discussed/ debated publicly.

I doubt the public would take "an acceptable collateral damage" view,

but rather one of a cyclist's duty of care to themself.

           A GP I know, who is also a cyclist, once described riding at night without lights as "asking for it"

I would reiterate the State's duty of care re law enforcement to enforce health and safety standards,

and the road rules in particular, the breaching of which affects all road users.

Pete Dowe
Road Safety Advocate 

October 21st 2014

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