11 November 2009

Meet Carl Scully - Mr Headwind

That's Carl Scully on the right.

We know all too well what we're up against in the battle to mainstream urban cycling. There are all manner of obstacles, not least individuals, who act as a stiff headwind on the road to Bicycle Culture 2.0.

Let me introduce you to Mr Headwind, Carl Scully. Former minister for roads in New South Wales, Australia.

In this opinion piece in the Sydney Morning Herald he starts with the title: Cyclists do not have the same rights as motorists on roads.

He begins by stating: "I have always respected cycling as a healthy means of exercising and socialising with others. In fact in my earlier years, I too, enjoyed cycling as a way of relaxing and exercising."

Right there, we see where we're going. The bicycle isn't transport for this man. It's a plaything. In a way, this is all we need to know about him and his antiquated views about infrastructure and facilities.

He thinks catering to 'cyclists' is catering to hobby cyclists in clubs and people who fancy a ride on the weekend. He hasn't realised that the bicycle is also meant for transporting large segments of the population to and from work and on short trips around their city or town. He hasn't dropped the ball, he didn't even bother picking it up. He prefers to ignore the bull.

He claims to have invested in off-road infrastructure and then doesn't understand why cyclists aren't using it.

Maybe because the infrastructure doesn't go where people want to go. Maybe it's badly designed, unhandy and incomplete.

You should read the whole piece, but here's an indication of what else Mr Headwind 'thinks':

"...they [cyclists] should consider not only how unsafe it is to be sharing the roadway with vehicles, but also acknowledge that it is motorists who pay fuel levies, tolls, registration and licence fees, as well as the huge cost of buying and running a motor vehicle. Apart from a negligible amount of GST on their equipment, cyclists pay nothing towards the cost of the roads they wish to use and rely on motorists to fund most of the cost of cycling infrastructure.

Being more aware of this may make more cyclists a little more sensitive to the needs of the motoring public".

Read that last line again... Hmm.

Full article: Sydney Morning Herald: Cyclists do not have the same rights as motorists.

Thanks to several readers for the link.


Anonymous said...

It's pretty clear this guy has no idea what he is talking about.

He was a state minister for NSW for many years.

The bicycle paths he mentions are way too little. They don't even connect together.

We have had the worst state govt in Australia for many years. Sydney is getting behind.

You can see with such visionaries at the wheel

llewellyn said...

It was a crying shame that Carl didn't ride on New South Wales roads more often when he said.I've had cars cross from one side of the road to my side and open their door on me, full beer cans thrown at me,rammed from behind by a Kombi van and numerous thing thrown at me , including abuse.Bicycle paths ! only Canberra and Brisbane have anything of note and that is improving only gradually.

Anonymous said...

I believe his comments are influenced by politics. More specifically aimed at the car manufacturing sector voters.
If you don't agree with him, tell him and keep him voted out!

Outlander said...

You can view this guy's other "achievements" on his wikipedia page:

What a disaster this guy was for the state of NSW. It will take decades to repair the damage he has caused.

Boy on a bike said...

When he was a Minister, I spent a bit of time working as a public servant in the department he oversaw.

It was generally thought that he had the intellect of a cabbage.

Kevin Love said...

"He claims to have invested in off-road infrastructure and then doesn't understand why cyclists are using it"

I presume this should read "are not using it."

Kim said...

I don't know for sure about Australia, but I suspect that it is similar to the UK where motorists are effectively subsidised by non motoring tax payers...

spiderleggreen said...

Mr. Headwind? How about Mr. Head Up Arse?

Awhh! Poor motorists. They have to pay so much for their vehicles... and even have to licence them. The Car Man's burden?

Where to start? Why should we care how much somebody has to pay for their means of transportation? That's their choice... or not because car culture makes it hard not to drive. Ditto on car susidization. Car drivers are allowed to externalize many of the real costs of driving.

Unfortunately, sounding good beats facts these days.

Paul Souders said...

"Apart from a negligible amount of GST on their equipment, cyclists pay nothing towards the cost of the roads they wish to use and rely on motorists to fund most of the cost of cycling infrastructure."

I love this line of "reasoning" because it presupposes cyclists need a 40ft wide strip of asphalt engineered for six-ton loads at no greater than 7% grade. I'd do just fine without, thanks.

If the alternative to “bicycles should pay road taxes” is “let’s not have any roads,” well Option Number Two works just fine for me.

Logic FAIL!

Matt said...

Carl Scully should be sacked. If a transport minister doesn't understand transport issues he has no business being in the role.

It is about time in NSW as well as other states (and NZ is a state) that separate ministries of bicycling were established, separate from the road building mental cases in the Departments of Transport.

Ryan said...

The bicycle isn't transport for this man. It's a plaything.
That's generally the attitude we face here in Canada also.
I've heard it time and time again in the USA and even on occasion in the UK.
Must be something wrong with the English speaking world when it comes to commuting by bike.

lagatta à montréal said...

A heady wind but I imagine it emanating from another part of the anatomy, not a cold bracing North Sea wind. Unless there is a sulphur-spewing obsolescent paper mill upwind from our peloton.

Outlander, this guy is a caricature of a horribly incompetent and dodgy politician! I'd say he is a train wreck, but alas that is far too literal in his case.

BG said...

Thank you, Australia -- you're the only country that ever makes my own USA look passably intelligent. Keep up the good work!

Konrad Gähler said...

Ten years ago, "our" politicians also dared to say such a crap. Now, also the conservatives more or less accept cycling as a way of transport. More or less...

k. from Dresden, Germany

Gussy said...

I dip my head in shame at the attitude of this man. Lucky he is the FORMER roads minister, maybe someone should take him on that M7 ride, how about Russell Crow? He is a known fan of cycling, might teach him a thing or too.