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