g-boaf wrote:I don't care about MHL if it exists or doesn't, but I do care about fixing the driving culture. Driving must be a privilege, rather than being an entitlement as it is currently in Australia.
And of all the drivers I encountered, the German ones were the best of the lot. The Italians were great too
It's interesting that one of the (anti cyclist) comments in the Herald Sun article linked recently in another thread was from a motorist lamenting that "most" (he very magnanimously even emphasized the point, "not all - just most"), "cyclists in Australia are rude idiots, unlike cyclists in Europe". I thought that was interesting, turning it around to blame cyclists.
While I cant say that I know all of the reasons for the differences in attitudes to cyclists in Europe compared to to Australia, I can tell you for 100% certain that the difference in driver behavior you observed there is due to better driver attitudes to cyclists (and more generally better attitudes to cycling in the general community) in Europe compared to Australia.
This is why people point to the distorted cycling demographics here in Australia, where we're mostly cycling enthusiasts and less "average Joe" cyclists. This is NOT blaming cycling enthusiasts for the shockingly bad attitude of many Australian motorists, but it may indeed be related to the relative scarcity of regular Joe cyclists.
This is also why people point to MHL as a possible factor in this problem. Since MHL differently impacts different types of riders (in the sense that almost all fast/sports/competitive cyclists would wear them anyway, whereas someone who wants to occasionally ride a few blocks to the local shops not necessarily), then I think that it's quite plausible that it has altered the demographics.
Anyway, whatever the reason for this difference in community attitudes, it IS the underlying problem. Australian drivers just don't think that cyclists are normal people. Seriously they don't! Whereas people in more cycling friendly countries are much more likely to see cyclists as regular people.
Would any of these attitudes change overnight if MHL was suddenly abolished? No, I very much doubt it. It's taken a long time for the situation in Australia to get as toxic as it now is, and that certainly won't change any time soon. However many people do see MHLs as helping to get us to where we currently are with the terrible attitude to cyclists in Australia.