Why do they get all the space?

At the Sustainability festival last weekend I received one negative comment that has been on my mind ever since. Overall the community was very supportive but one person approached me and said indignantly, “Why do they [cyclists] get all the space?” I was unsure how to respond because all I could think of was this cartoon.

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Here’s a Google Street view of Union Street which is what I was campaigning for:

streetview.png

There’s five lanes for motor vehicles and nothing at all for cyclists there. It’s interesting how someone can see the same street as me and see “all the space for cyclists” while I see five lanes for cars and buses.

The cyclist contrarians are not unlike the climate change deniers and it’s probably just as pointless arguing with both groups. They each have their talking points which get repeated over and over again. For cyclist contrarians it’s: cyclists go through red lights (about 1% of cyclists go through red lights which is about the same as the number of motorists who go through red lights), cyclists don’t pay any road tax (there’s no such thing as road tax which was abolished in 1937), cyclists ride on the pavement (ok, I can’t dispute this one except to say if there was somewhere safe for my 8-year-old to ride her bike then we wouldn’t have to cycle on the pavement, hence the reason for my campaign in the first place). For climate change deniers it’s that models are running too hot or sensitivity is low. A couple of years ago it was all about “the pause”. And before that climate scientists were fudging the temperature data to further their careers. I think it’s probably best to just politely smile and move on.

8 Replies to “Why do they get all the space?”

  1. I’ve become a lot more conscious of cyclists. It’s very dangerous cycling around here since Blarney is in the countryside. Narrow country roads are not somewhere you can go for a relaxing cycle.

    I wouldn’t mind if road tax was abolished here. Mine was about 500 Euro last year. 😦

    1. Narrow country roads are scary. I wouldn’t want to cycle on any of those.

      And interesting to hear you still have a road tax. We have a vehicle tax here but electric cars don’t pay it and neither to bicycles. Whenever someone complains to me about cyclists not paying road tax I ask them whether they think my 8-year-old daughter should pay a vehicle tax on her bicycle and usually they go quiet 🙂

      Maintenance for roads comes out of income tax which we all pay.

      1. Oh, in my head road tax = vehicle tax! It’s supposed to go towards maintaining the roads here too but it just goes into general taxation so who knows where it goes ..

      2. Ah, I see. Road maintenance costs come out of income tax. I’m not sure where vehicle tax goes but I think prior to 1937 the road tax, as it was then, was used to maintain roads.

  2. Well done for doing this event and putting yourself out there.
    Isn’t it funny how we always notice the negative comments more? I try hard to live and let live, but it’s so difficult not to let it get to you when people are wilfully ignorant.

    1. Yes, negative comments have much more of an impact than they really should. It would be nice to be able to completely ignore them and to not care. I think I get better at this as I get older.

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