How do we correct common cycling-related misconceptions?

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How do we correct common cycling-related misconceptions?

Postby VRE » Fri Jun 21, 2013 8:51 am

This has been bothering me for many years. I don't know how it is in other states, but in Victoria, Bicycle Network Victoria (BNV) address some of the common cycling-related misconceptions, but only on their web site and their bi-monthly magazine (as far as I can see). That, to me, is just like preaching to the converted, because I'm guessing that a high majority of readers of the BNV web site or magazine are either cyclists or considering becoming cyclists. I don't see any activity by BNV to address cycling-related misconceptions in the other media more accessible to the general non-cycling public: newspapers, TV, public billboards, school/university noticeboards, etc.

Most of you would know what these misconceptions are, but I'll repeat some of them anyway:
  1. Cyclists don't pay vehicle registration, and therefore don't fund the roads.
  2. Cyclists break road laws more than motorists.
  3. Cyclists must keep near the kerb, and have no right to 'claim a lane'.
  4. Cyclists hold up motor traffic, simply by moving at a typical cycling speed.

So how do we correct the above misconceptions, and other similar ones? I've tried:
  1. Discussing them with family members and work colleagues. I try not to overstep the bounds on this, though, i.e. risk alienating these people by pushing my opinions too hard, I just give them the occasional tactful reminder that the above misconceptions are in fact misconceptions.
  2. Frequently sending letters to the editors of newspapers. Most of the time, they won't get published, but I do occasionally get lucky.
  3. Posting pro-cyclist comments on YouTube (I never use Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites, but I guess they also fall into this general category).
  4. Posting comments via BNV's online feedback form asking them what they're planning to do about a particular cycling-related issue.

The above, of course, only work on a mass scale if a very large number of people do them. What I would really like is for our so-called 'cycling advocacy' organisations to be more active in the media, because to me they just seem to be ineffective.

So I'd be interested in all your opinions: how do we convince a large number of non-cyclists that we're not all freeloading lawbreakers, and do this in a reasonable timeframe?
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by BNA » Fri Jun 21, 2013 9:35 am

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Re: How do we correct common cycling-related misconceptions?

Postby familyguy » Fri Jun 21, 2013 9:35 am

I find simple maths works to a degree re: the road funding argument.

My Commodore has just cost me $330 registration renewal in NSW. Of this, $65 or so is 'administrative', leaving $265.

If we take 4 million people, and we argue 1 car per 2 persons, this gives a registration collection figure of $53,000,000, and an administration collection figure of $13,000,000. I'm sure the information can be sourced for accuracy, but the RMS wage bill per annum would certainly go beyond $13 mill, and the running costs would push that even higher.

$53 mill doesn't seem to get you a heck of a lot of road these days. Not when motorways regularly cost $200 mill +.

Even at 1 car per 1.5 persons, which netts close to $70 mill, where's the shortfall coming from?

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Re: How do we correct common cycling-related misconceptions?

Postby Ken Ho » Fri Jun 21, 2013 11:27 am

See the other thread.
Participation is the key element here, and removing barriers to participation is the key to that.
Good luck with that.
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Re: How do we correct common cycling-related misconceptions?

Postby VRE » Fri Jun 21, 2013 12:13 pm

I tried to find another thread in this forum relating to the shortcomings of our cycling advocacy groups, and what we can do about it, but I couldn't find one. Would you mind telling me which thread you had in mind?
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Re: How do we correct common cycling-related misconceptions?

Postby g-boaf » Fri Jun 21, 2013 2:19 pm

Outlaw a certain advocacy group starting with a letter near the start of the alphabet. :twisted:

Apart from that, we should all get behind mandatory registration of bikes and bike riders and mandatory helmet laws. Along with mandatory wearing of high visibility gear, probably lycra as well! :lol: The motorists will love it because they'll easily be able to identify us and report us to Police when they get us on video. :wink:

Now, being serious - the biggest barrier is getting more participation. And that won't occur until you make people feel safe to cycle. People won't take up cycling when they see threads about menacing black Nissan Navara utes with young hoons in them trying to knock a bike rider off the road. For a newcomer, that's not going to encourage them to ride on the road at all. They'll feel safer on a dedicated wide cycleway, ie, something like the M7 cycleway in Sydney.
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Re: How do we correct common cycling-related misconceptions?

Postby biker jk » Fri Jun 21, 2013 2:22 pm

I have the same frustrations with BNSW about it's lack of public advocacy and so I'm no longer a member. While the NRMA is always out there pushing its members' views, BNSW is silent. I've been informed that BNSW does not want to rock the boat and seeks to maintain good relations with the government. However, this approach is a failure. When Mr Gay was attacking bike lanes in the city, BNSW was mute. Time and time again when key issues for cyclists arise BNSW goes missing.
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Re: How do we correct common cycling-related misconceptions?

Postby zero » Fri Jun 21, 2013 2:33 pm

familyguy wrote:
Even at 1 car per 1.5 persons, which netts close to $70 mill, where's the shortfall coming from?

Jim


The shortfall is made up by selling profitable public infrastructure. The last example was Sydney Port.

Note that the road concerned will cost now 14bil to make (now that the strawman of how they'd make it cheaper has been pulled down), had a cost benefit of 1 when originally costed (which is actually the point you do not build public infrastructure, and you certainly don't build it with a cost/benefit of less than 1), and would require $30 one way tolls to pay off in 25 years.

The same bizarre and nonsensical transport nonstrategy is in much evidence in both Brisbane and Melbourne.

Same governments are often to be found deferring or cancelling public infrastructure projects with cost benefits of 4 or above.
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Re: How do we correct common cycling-related misconceptions?

Postby g-boaf » Fri Jun 21, 2013 3:09 pm

biker jk wrote:I have the same frustrations with BNSW about it's lack of public advocacy and so I'm no longer a member. While the NRMA is always out there pushing its members' views, BNSW is silent. I've been informed that BNSW does not want to rock the boat and seeks to maintain good relations with the government. However, this approach is a failure. When Mr Gay was attacking bike lanes in the city, BNSW was mute. Time and time again when key issues for cyclists arise BNSW goes missing.


Yeah, I mean look at them- NRMA advocacy, M4 Motorway west-bound, right side of the road billboard where the railway over-bridge is adjacent to Olympic park - HUGE!

That's the sort of advocacy the NRMA can do. Where is our advocacy like that?

Until a group is going to come along who will be extremely aggressive in its advocacy, my money will be staying in my pocket, rather than going to the existing NSW groups.

As for not wanting to rock the boat, I mean really, the boat is sinking! And what about the other groups that represent areas of Sydney. In a recent forward looking policy document, two of them openly attacked the Western Sydney cycleway investment because apparently not enough people used them. Oh, so did that mean that only inner and eastern Sydney should get funding for these projects because of their more fortunate geography - being located closer to inner Sydney and to heck with those people in Western Sydney?

I feel like digging out that document and highlighting the offending section just for the sake of clarity. :roll:
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Re: How do we correct common cycling-related misconceptions?

Postby Ross » Fri Jun 21, 2013 3:46 pm

familyguy wrote:I find simple maths works to a degree re: the road funding argument.

My Commodore has just cost me $330 registration renewal in NSW. Of this, $65 or so is 'administrative', leaving $265.

If we take 4 million people, and we argue 1 car per 2 persons, this gives a registration collection figure of $53,000,000, and an administration collection figure of $13,000,000. I'm sure the information can be sourced for accuracy, but the RMS wage bill per annum would certainly go beyond $13 mill, and the running costs would push that even higher.

$53 mill doesn't seem to get you a heck of a lot of road these days. Not when motorways regularly cost $200 mill +.

Even at 1 car per 1.5 persons, which netts close to $70 mill, where's the shortfall coming from?

Jim


Debating people with facts and figures and logic and commonsense often doesn't work. Even with seemingly intelligent people. They often have their blinkered view and won't be swayed from it.
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Re: How do we correct common cycling-related misconceptions?

Postby The 2nd Womble » Fri Jun 21, 2013 6:47 pm

g-boaf wrote:
biker jk wrote:I have the same frustrations with BNSW about it's lack of public advocacy and so I'm no longer a member. While the NRMA is always out there pushing its members' views, BNSW is silent. I've been informed that BNSW does not want to rock the boat and seeks to maintain good relations with the government. However, this approach is a failure. When Mr Gay was attacking bike lanes in the city, BNSW was mute. Time and time again when key issues for cyclists arise BNSW goes missing.


Yeah, I mean look at them- NRMA advocacy, M4 Motorway west-bound, right side of the road billboard where the railway over-bridge is adjacent to Olympic park - HUGE!

That's the sort of advocacy the NRMA can do. Where is our advocacy like that?

Until a group is going to come along who will be extremely aggressive in its advocacy, my money will be staying in my pocket, rather than going to the existing NSW groups.

As for not wanting to rock the boat, I mean really, the boat is sinking! And what about the other groups that represent areas of Sydney. In a recent forward looking policy document, two of them openly attacked the Western Sydney cycleway investment because apparently not enough people used them. Oh, so did that mean that only inner and eastern Sydney should get funding for these projects because of their more fortunate geography - being located closer to inner Sydney and to heck with those people in Western Sydney?

I feel like digging out that document and highlighting the offending section just for the sake of clarity. :roll:

Did someone say aggressive? I looked it up in the dictionary and it said "see Safe Cycling Australia".
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Re: How do we correct common cycling-related misconceptions?

Postby g-boaf » Fri Jun 21, 2013 8:05 pm

Yep, indeed! Effective too - because you make a lot of noise. And that works.

Just a shame others (or is that 'another') seem to love stealing your thunder.
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Re: How do we correct common cycling-related misconceptions?

Postby The 2nd Womble » Fri Jun 21, 2013 8:09 pm

Whoever the establishment may be, IMO it's clear that advocacy is a dirty word to the big names these days. Iif it wasn't you'd see results. It's that simple. Who kicks goals lately? A few in WA, Beach Rd Cyclist, Boyd Fraser, the small fry that actually effect change. It's a pity that they don't receive more recognition, but then again that isn't what drives them. Results for cyclists are what they strive for.
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Re: How do we correct common cycling-related misconceptions?

Postby Kraeg » Fri Jun 21, 2013 8:20 pm

g-boaf wrote:Now, being serious - the biggest barrier is getting more participation. And that won't occur until you make people feel safe to cycle. People won't take up cycling when they see threads about menacing black Nissan Navara utes with young hoons in them trying to knock a bike rider off the road. For a newcomer, that's not going to encourage them to ride on the road at all. They'll feel safer on a dedicated wide cycleway, ie, something like the M7 cycleway in Sydney.


Unless they read threads like the M7 alert one!
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Re: How do we correct common cycling-related misconceptions?

Postby KenGS » Fri Jun 21, 2013 8:20 pm

To me the simple answer is to not bother correcting them as they are simply distractions.
Instead, when confronted by them, just tell them that they really should ride a bike and how great it is. Tailor it to the person. If they are a sporty type tell them how fit and strong they can get. If they are the outdoors type talk about bike touring in the outback. If they like travelling, talk about credit card touring by bike or getting around the world's major cities on bike share.
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Re: How do we correct common cycling-related misconceptions?

Postby g-boaf » Fri Jun 21, 2013 8:48 pm

Kraeg wrote:
g-boaf wrote:Now, being serious - the biggest barrier is getting more participation. And that won't occur until you make people feel safe to cycle. People won't take up cycling when they see threads about menacing black Nissan Navara utes with young hoons in them trying to knock a bike rider off the road. For a newcomer, that's not going to encourage them to ride on the road at all. They'll feel safer on a dedicated wide cycleway, ie, something like the M7 cycleway in Sydney.


Unless they read threads like the M7 alert one!


It's still infinitely safer than being around barely in control Gallardo convertibles drag racing at 180km/h or fish-tailing around corners... Which happens in this area.

Alternatively, the easy solution is to throw in the towel and give up on it all together. Some kids construct a man-trap, so it's dangerous. They can construct a man-trap on a quiet back road at night too just as easily for instance. They could also throw some oil down on the road too at night - making it hazardous too.

But the M7 doesn't have hoon car drivers on it. It does have some fools on trail bikes sometimes, but then those are everywhere.
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Re: How do we correct common cycling-related misconceptions?

Postby Ken Ho » Sat Jun 22, 2013 9:49 am

KenGS wrote:To me the simple answer is to not bother correcting them as they are simply distractions.
Instead, when confronted by them, just tell them that they really should ride a bike and how great it is. Tailor it to the person. If they are a sporty type tell them how fit and strong they can get. If they are the outdoors type talk about bike touring in the outback. If they like travelling, talk about credit card touring by bike or getting around the world's major cities on bike share.



This.
Engaging in distracting debates like the rego one lets people ignore the real issue of "none of your reasons for hating me entitle you to kill me".
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Re: How do we correct common cycling-related misconceptions?

Postby ColinOldnCranky » Sat Jun 22, 2013 2:49 pm

Cyclists break road laws more than motorists.

Though it may not be popular to say so we do. Same as peds. Cyclists (and peds) commonly cross thru red lights. Motorists rarely do cf peds and cyclists. Yes, motorists do exceed the speed limit more but I am sure that cyclists would too if they could.

Is it human nature that the closer to a natural situation such as not-connected/within something like a smoke box people assume less regimented practices?

Cyclists hold up motor traffic, simply by moving at a typical cycling speed

Again we do. But then so does any slow driver, yet we seldom hear much focus and anger outside the immediate situation on those. (Unthinking - or angry - motorists also slow down riders on occasion by blocking off legal filtering passage btw.)

We need to make sure that other users understand the compensating benefit - that, when adequate infrastructure encourages it, we are also off the road at which time we reduce the level of congestion by not being in our car. Ergo motorists should focus instead on getting governments to fund more routes that are off the major arterial roads. Rather than deny that we so sometimes slow a driver down, we should enlist other road users to encourage government to fund more infrastructure that we would rather use than to be on the road with them.
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Re: How do we correct common cycling-related misconceptions?

Postby VRE » Sat Jun 22, 2013 3:58 pm

Actually, Colin, Victoria Police stats show that cyclists in Victoria have a higher rate of compliance to the road rules than motorists :) . I don't know what the figures are for other states, though. My impression is that people comment more on cyclists breaking the road rules simply because (and I hate to say this about my own country) Australians are very good at picking on minority groups :( . This also explains why slow drivers don't stir up as much anger as cyclists seem to simply by legally using the roads.
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Re: How do we correct common cycling-related misconceptions?

Postby ColinOldnCranky » Sun Jun 23, 2013 1:04 pm

VRE wrote:Actually, Colin, Victoria Police stats show that cyclists in Victoria have a higher rate of compliance to the road rules than motorists :) . I don't know what the figures are for other states, though. My impression is that people comment more on cyclists breaking the road rules simply because (and I hate to say this about my own country) Australians are very good at picking on minority groups :( . This also explains why slow drivers don't stir up as much anger as cyclists seem to simply by legally using the roads.

Lies, damned lies and statistics. I heard a bloke this morning on Background Briefing from the Australian Taxi Industry Council telling us that taxi customers are more satisfied with the service than they used to be and that they are generally satisfied.

I know that if I stand at a set of lights for a time the number of riders jumping lights will be many while there will be very few or no cars doing the same. This despite there being ten or twenty or thirty times as many cars passing thru. Ditto the number of cyclists who cut back and forth between paths and roads. The equivalent would be motorists cutting across corner petrol stations to bypass a light but, again, this is a rarity. Then there are the number of riders on paths that they are legally obliged to stay off.

Perhaps the police numbers add in speeding and I could believe that. If cyclists could go faster than the limit I am sure they'd do that too. MOtorists also park illegally more than we do but that is beacuse it is damned hard for a cyclist to park illegally. Overall the attitude of cyclists is to not take a great deal of concern of compliance with the fine letter of the law, I suppose that it is safer penalty-wise, for us to do so. And there are legit reasons often to choose the illegal option anyway.

btw I am not saying that cyclists are bad for those transgressions and I am one who crosses at many places against the red lights. But, to the original premise of this thread, I do not accept two of the misconceptions. I fail to see therefore how we can "correct" them.
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Re: How do we correct common cycling-related misconceptions?

Postby ColinOldnCranky » Sun Jun 23, 2013 1:16 pm

familyguy wrote:I find simple maths works to a degree re: the road funding argument.

My Commodore has just cost me $330 registration renewal in NSW. Of this, $65 or so is 'administrative', leaving $265.

If we take 4 million people, and we argue 1 car per 2 persons, this gives a registration collection figure of $53,000,000, and an administration collection figure of $13,000,000. I'm sure the information can be sourced for accuracy, but the RMS wage bill per annum would certainly go beyond $13 mill, and the running costs would push that even higher.

$53 mill doesn't seem to get you a heck of a lot of road these days. Not when motorways regularly cost $200 mill +.

Even at 1 car per 1.5 persons, which netts close to $70 mill, where's the shortfall coming from?

Jim


I like it. :D Anyway, if you want to harden your argument before the 2013/14 BBQ season, perhaps you may find some of th is useful: http://www.cgc.gov.au/attachments/article/36/Motor%20taxes.pdf :mrgreen: Re Figure 2, I'm not sure what the capita consists of - Adults? Drivers? Cars? Your rough estimate is in the ball park if they meant per car. 30% is stamp duty however. Anyway, natiuonally it is 70% of $8.1b for the year. Anyone know what is spent on road infrastructure in a year?

The cost off adding an extra lane and associated exit and entrance works on both sides of Kwinana Freeway for about two km near where I ride was stated in the media to be $58m.
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Re: How do we correct common cycling-related misconceptions?

Postby ColinOldnCranky » Sun Jun 23, 2013 1:47 pm

On costs of road infrastructure - $15.8b for 2008-2009 according to The Australian Department of Transport and Infrastructure. If someone can make sense of the toal amount that I linked to in the preceeding post we can see the shortfall.

From the revenue figures we should exempt third-party insurance premium which is not related to road building, just to recoup some of the cost of personal injury that motorists inflict.
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Re: How do we correct common cycling-related misconceptions?

Postby martin_12 » Sun Jun 23, 2013 4:03 pm

ColinOldnCranky wrote:
VRE wrote:I know that if I stand at a set of lights for a time the number of riders jumping lights will be many while there will be very few or no cars doing the same. This despite there being ten or twenty or thirty times as many cars passing thru.
...
btw I am not saying that cyclists are bad for those transgressions and I am one who crosses at many places against the red lights. But, to the original premise of this thread, I do not accept two of the misconceptions. I fail to see therefore how we can "correct" them.


Perhaps things need to be put in perspective. If I stand at the side of almost any road most of the cars passing me are exceeding the speed limit, i.e. breaking the law. If you did that while taking a driving license you would fail immediately. Almost every driver breaks the law on every trip by exceeding the speed limit at least once. Exceeding the speed limit in a 2000 kg steel box creates much more danger to other road users than a cyclist crossing a clear road against a red light.
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Re: How do we correct common cycling-related misconceptions?

Postby Philipthelam » Sun Jun 23, 2013 4:24 pm

ColinOldnCranky wrote:
VRE wrote:Actually, Colin, Victoria Police stats show that cyclists in Victoria have a higher rate of compliance to the road rules than motorists :) . I don't know what the figures are for other states, though. My impression is that people comment more on cyclists breaking the road rules simply because (and I hate to say this about my own country) Australians are very good at picking on minority groups :( . This also explains why slow drivers don't stir up as much anger as cyclists seem to simply by legally using the roads.

Lies, damned lies and statistics. I heard a bloke this morning on Background Briefing from the Australian Taxi Industry Council telling us that taxi customers are more satisfied with the service than they used to be and that they are generally satisfied.

I know that if I stand at a set of lights for a time the number of riders jumping lights will be many while there will be very few or no cars doing the same. This despite there being ten or twenty or thirty times as many cars passing thru. Ditto the number of cyclists who cut back and forth between paths and roads. The equivalent would be motorists cutting across corner petrol stations to bypass a light but, again, this is a rarity. Then there are the number of riders on paths that they are legally obliged to stay off.

Perhaps the police numbers add in speeding and I could believe that. If cyclists could go faster than the limit I am sure they'd do that too. MOtorists also park illegally more than we do but that is beacuse it is damned hard for a cyclist to park illegally. Overall the attitude of cyclists is to not take a great deal of concern of compliance with the fine letter of the law, I suppose that it is safer penalty-wise, for us to do so. And there are legit reasons often to choose the illegal option anyway.

btw I am not saying that cyclists are bad for those transgressions and I am one who crosses at many places against the red lights. But, to the original premise of this thread, I do not accept two of the misconceptions. I fail to see therefore how we can "correct" them.


Most cyclists who jump red lights don't get caught so it won't be in the police records. Same would be for cyclists speeding (it is easy to get above 50km/h on a descent).

However the group that breaks the most rules are pedestrians. The amount of people that cross on the red man in the city is :shock:

The answer to changing these misconceptions is to get more people cycling. It's hard to change peoples views, especially if they have hated cyclists their whole life. the only way for these people to understand is to try cycling themselves, then they will understand.
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Re: How do we correct common cycling-related misconceptions?

Postby VRE » Sun Jun 23, 2013 7:45 pm

ColinOldnCranky wrote:
VRE wrote:Actually, Colin, Victoria Police stats show that cyclists in Victoria have a higher rate of compliance to the road rules than motorists :) . I don't know what the figures are for other states, though. My impression is that people comment more on cyclists breaking the road rules simply because (and I hate to say this about my own country) Australians are very good at picking on minority groups :( . This also explains why slow drivers don't stir up as much anger as cyclists seem to simply by legally using the roads.

Lies, damned lies and statistics. I heard a bloke this morning on Background Briefing from the Australian Taxi Industry Council telling us that taxi customers are more satisfied with the service than they used to be and that they are generally satisfied.

I know that if I stand at a set of lights for a time the number of riders jumping lights will be many while there will be very few or no cars doing the same. This despite there being ten or twenty or thirty times as many cars passing thru. Ditto the number of cyclists who cut back and forth between paths and roads. The equivalent would be motorists cutting across corner petrol stations to bypass a light but, again, this is a rarity. Then there are the number of riders on paths that they are legally obliged to stay off.

Perhaps the police numbers add in speeding and I could believe that. If cyclists could go faster than the limit I am sure they'd do that too. MOtorists also park illegally more than we do but that is beacuse it is damned hard for a cyclist to park illegally. Overall the attitude of cyclists is to not take a great deal of concern of compliance with the fine letter of the law, I suppose that it is safer penalty-wise, for us to do so. And there are legit reasons often to choose the illegal option anyway.

btw I am not saying that cyclists are bad for those transgressions and I am one who crosses at many places against the red lights. But, to the original premise of this thread, I do not accept two of the misconceptions. I fail to see therefore how we can "correct" them.

That argument goes both ways, Colin. Every day, at the majority of traffic-light controlled intersections in Melbourne, I see numerous motorists running red lights. Also, for every cyclist infringement that goes unreported by the police, there's a motorist infringement that goes unreported.

By the way, I'm not trying to be argumentative :) . I just happen to think that whatever cyclists do to bend or break the road rules, motorists tend to do it also, and (in my experience) just as often.
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Re: How do we correct common cycling-related misconceptions?

Postby schroeds » Fri Aug 09, 2013 4:30 pm

VRE wrote:Actually, Colin, Victoria Police stats show that cyclists in Victoria have a higher rate of compliance to the road rules than motorists :) ..


Do you have the source or a link for that stat? I'd love to help spread it far and wide. I am constantly in debate about this even with my nearest and dearest :roll:
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