We've had a lot of debate on the letters pages here lately after the road rage incident at Mascot. Most of the noise has come from motorists (including 4wd owner Eric Roozendaal, our Minister for Gridlock) who have sought to justify this maniac's actions because the cyclists shouldn't have been on the road in the first place. It's bizarre the level of hatred that some Australian's feel towards cyclists and I've been pondering why they feel so angry. I believe the answer lies in Australian's superlative ability to deny aspects of reality that they are uncomfortable with.
Aussies are great at denial but we do turn very nasty if anyone threatens to burst our bubble. For example, environmentalists, anti-war protesters, academics, the ABC and of course those terrorists of the road, Cyclists. Aussies hate those kind of people, bloody do-gooders. Drivers know it's wrong to be driving a one ton, polluting vehicle in an age of global warming and oil wars, but because everyone else is doing it they find it easy to justify. Easy that is until they see some bastard who is doing the right thing. Worse the cyclists don't even have to sit in traffic jams, they just cruise on through! On top of that they don't have the additional costs that cagers endure. You can see why they get all cross. You don't expect them to blame themselves for traffic congestion do you? My personal favourites are those cars with "Stop Global Warming" stickers...sheesh.
Anyhow I was reading a mailing list and I saw this letter that someone has sent in to the Herald. I am assuming it won't get published so I thought I would put it up here because it is an excellent letter. The author got his figures from here:
Bryan's letter to the SMH as follows:
>For some strange reason drivers of polluting motor vehicles feel
>they have more of a right to drive on any road than a cyclist
>because they pay registration fees for their vehicle. A quick check
>of the RTA's website to look up the 2007 Financial Statement reveals
>the followings FACTS that these people should bear in mind the next
>time they get the urge to yell abuse at a cyclist using their road:
>Page 3 of 33 of the Financial Statements, Total Expenses Excluding
>Losses - (Consolidated), shows: $2,262,575,000.00
>Revenue from Sale of Goods and Services shows=$296,292,000.00
>A difference of $1,966,283,000.00
>Seems to me that it is the drivers of motor vehicles who are being
>subsidised by all the taxpayers of NSW. If these selfish,
>narrow-minded, single-occupancy vehicle drivers believe they have a
>god given right to the road, then perhaps they'd care to pay their
>fair share and relieve the tax burden on the people who choose not
>to drive. I can imagine how they'd scream and wail at the thought
>of the registration fees going up a whopping one thousand per cent,
>judging by their recent bleatings.
>I have a car, it's registered, insured and in good working order. I
>also have the option of catching a bus to work or cycling. Many
>days I choose to cycle. Why? For the simple reason that I get
>exercise to and from work, I don't have to wait fifteen minutes to
>get on an overcrowded, stinking bus with people farting, belching,
>scratching and yelling into their mobiles over the top of their
>neighbour's blaring mp3 player.
>Cycling to work reduces greenhouse gases and health expenses as I am
>fitter and less stressed.
>The people who say cyclists increase their travel time should stop
>and think how much more their travel time would increase if the
>cyclist you just squeezed past or ran off the road in your single
>occupancy, six-cylinder gas guzzler was in another six-cylinder gas
>guzzler and was in front of you! You can't squeeze past them as
>you've run all the cyclists off the road and into gas guzzlers, and
>now the roads are practically grid-locked. Who are the Luddites
>going to blame now for all the traffic. The last traffic jam I saw
>was caused by too many motor vehicles. Cyclists don't cause traffic
>jams as yes, quite rightly, they go onto a footpath to get around
>it. So would you if you weren't so lazy, got out of your tin can,
>got some exercise and lived a more active and happy life rather than
>fuming at the wheel.
>I also see more cars going through red lights, which has more
>serious consequences than if a cyclist goes through a red light.