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.