cfsmtb in low earth orbit

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Courtesy of the Daily Telegraph funny pages

Hell on wheels by Mr Bruce McDougall

Stop! Law Breaker!Before we begin, an observation of the photo used in article :: Children should ride on footpaths. The linkages in the brain with which you perceive hazards and solve problems for direction, speed and distance are not developed in children under ten cannot cope with motor traffic and should never ride unaccompanied on the road.

They've become one of the biggest scourges of city streets – idiots on two wheels who daily place themselves and others in mortal danger. Bending the rules with no regard for other road users, they run red lights, ride on the footpath and blatantly refuse to wear a helmet. In some of the worst cases, caught on camera by The Daily Telegraph, they even ride the streets while speaking or text messaging on a mobile phone. Finding new and creative ways of breaking the road code has been turned into an art form by a growing band of two-wheel maniacs. Professional couriers, long among the greatest offenders, have been joined in their law-breaking ways by a range of other cyclists of all ages.
Call Security!!!
And I believed Hell on Wheels was a movie I saw a fortnight ago. Anyway.....Bruce McDougall from the Daily Telegraph believes Sydney is swarming with cycling terrorists. What load of bullshit. A simple exercise. Simply alter all cycling references to that of motorists. Now there's a more realistic portrayal of what's actually occuring on Sydney streets.

If this shits you, get to it & make your opinions know. Given the recent cycling funding problems and related issues in NSW, this biased news article from the Daily Telegraph is utter crap. The purveyors of media spin don't require advanced thinking like *actually* applying logic and research to issues. Think more ratings & hostile talkback. Ah, what ever happened to the seperation of Church and State? Ah, that's a big question with no simple response, however here's some links to help counter guff generated by minions like Bruce McDougall.

:: Excellent letter writing tips from the Sierra Club ::
:: Have Your Say :: Letters to the Editor :: :: :: Privacy Statement ::

....And Michael Costa's ::
contact details ::
Is just me, or do Costa's eyes move slightly where you refresh the page? CREEPY.
Costa apparently "really enjoys" driving his Prado. Back to the article, Costa shows his absolute ignorance (again) and Bicycle NSW's Alex Unwin making several salient points. But of course, that's buried down the end of the article.....

Further witty appraisals on teh internet:: :: aus.bicycle :: CM-Melb :: CM-Sydney ::

UPDATE: Cycling News: Hit and run on cyclists - Australia's new blood sport? Opinion by John Stevenson :: Daily Telegraph :: General Site Feedback Refer to comments (below) for full articles.

UPDATE 2: Received this link on 24 June:
Ring ring... BOOM! :: 28/07/2003 Remember that email hoax about mobile phones blowing up cars at service stations? Bruce McDougall wrote it up for the Daily Terror - and and the Tool virtually repeated it word for word. Why are we not surprised?


  • Latest Cycling News for June 22, 2005

    Hit and run on cyclists - Australia's new blood sport?
    Opinion by John Stevenson

    A cyclist was killed yesterday in Western Sydney and another is in hospital in a serious condition after a hit and run incident on Richmond Road at Londonderry, near Penrith. According to, a police spokesman said the two men in their twenties were hit by a vehicle. One died at the scene while the other was taken to Nepean Hospital in a serious but stable condition. Police have urged anyone with information about the crash to contact Windsor Police Station.

    Meanwhile, Sydney's Daily Telegraph, a tabloid newspaper, has today published an article attacking cyclists. The Telegraph spent three hours compiling "a series of more than a dozen photographs showing cyclists endangering themselves and others." The newspaper excoriates cyclists as "idiots on two wheels", "two-wheel maniacs" and "dangerous".

    However, the report doesn't provide any evidence of a bike rider harming anyone during its three-hour vigil. The on-line version of the story is illustrated with a photo of a cyclist riding along an almost-empty pavement on Parramatta Road. This is an overcrowded urban artery where cyclists face a choice of squeezing into narrow lanes between parked cars and lane-filling trucks, or hopping on the pavement. Cyclingnews isn't short of extremely experienced traffic cyclists, but even we would tempted to use the pavement along here.

    And that's pretty typical. Sydney's road system features junctions with no safe route for anything but cars; abysmal surfaces; and narrow lanes - among the many failings of a transport network that is less planned than thrown together with no consideration for cyclists. Combine that with a culture in which almost nobody takes riding bikes seriously as a mode of transport and driving is seen as a right, and you have a recipe for disaster. It's hardly surprising that, despite the Telegraph's claims that cycling is on the increase here, the last two censuses showed a decrease in the number of transport cyclists.

    Cyclingnews' office is close to one of Sydney's busiest inner urban streets. It would take three minutes rather than three hours to record more than a dozen examples of motorists breaking the law at the junction nearest us. Red lights are regularly run here, and drivers talking on mobile phones is routine. Road user behaviour across the board in Sydney is far from wonderful, but we cyclists are not the ones in charge of a ton of steel.

    As the latest hit-and-run tragedy demonstrates - and the light sentence handed down recently to Eugene McGee after the death of Ian Humphrey - Australia has a problem with motorists and cyclists sharing the road. But the Telegraph's singling out cyclists does nothing to alleviate the problem.Whipping up sentiment against us - a group of road users who are substantially over-represented in the road toll - just allows the next Eugene McGee or that anonymous hit and run driver on Richmond Road to believe it's okay to kill a bike rider.

    By Blogger cfsmtb, at 10:57 pm, June 22, 2005  

  • General Site Feedback

    After yesterdays rant by Mr McDougall, some feedback from the viewers.
    Positive: 10
    Negative: 2
    Not sure: 2

    Love your work folks :D

    General Feedback

    Hell on wheels

    BOO! You really think cyclists are the problem! I have riden a bicycle to work for a period of 3 years with a helmet, lights, reflective vest and a bright yellow tracksuit! And STILL been run down by motorists at least 4 times one of which put me in hospital, We are not accepted on the road or footpath. So we dont fall under any rules without being hypocritical. Walk in the shoes of both partys before writing such a blatantly wrong view on a topic you obviously know nothing about. A five minute search on the internet reveals more facts on this topic than you are even aware of! End rant!


    General Feedback

    Inflammatory rhetoric of the kind in the article "Hell on Wheels" (22 June) is characteristic of the lack of support shown to law-abiding cyclists. Perhaps if Mr Costa and the NSW Government improved funding to on and off-road cycling infrastructure, many of these problems would not occur. I note that there is no reference to the constant abuse and bad behaviour that cyclists are exposed to from other road users. When was the last time that a motorist was injured or killed by a hit-and-run cyclist?


    General Feedback

    Hell on wheels

    What an amazingly biased article that qualifies as nothing more than gutter journalism from someone that is not qualfied. What did you have an argument with a cyclist recently which has inspired your trashy comments? If you took a 3 hour period anywhere in Sydney you would see significant breaking of road laws by motorists. Frankly if we the cycling community were treated with the same respect as someone in their tin top polution creating device then laws wouldnt be broken. Cyclists are very concerned about their safety and if you Bruce McDougall spent anytime on the road with us and see the absolute disdain we are treated with then I would challenge that you could write such a one sided and ill researched article. Anytime you want more than anecdotal evidence to challenge your story just email me.

    John Boles

    General Feedback

    Bruce McDougall - You sir are an opinionated idiot who needs to get his lazy butt out of the office chair or the drivers seat and actually ride a bike to work and see how much trouble some motorists can be. What happened, did a cyclist spit on your window after you cut them off? I'm not denying that cyclists break the rules occasionally, the main problem is that motorists break the rules frequently also and there's never any articles about that is there? It appears an orange light means "floor the gas pedal" rather than "stop if you can otherwise go" and there's always at least one clown going through the red. As pointed out in your article by Alex Unwin, we cyclists come off second best so of course if we need to break rules in the interests of safety we're gonna do it. You would too. Most of the examples of bad behaviour exhibited by cyclists that you have pointed out (eg mobile phone use whilst moving) are common problems still shown by motorists also, so what are you getting at by targeting one group? Here in Brisbane cyclists are allowed on the footpath which is something I do very rarely. Footpaths are generally not as smooth as a road and you have to go slower. As for your comment on couriers - I've been one. Don't cry if your next courier package doesn't make it in time due to traffic congestion. Rule breaking is very common but a very necessary part of the job.


    General Feedback

    In answer to Pearl Blasina re her incident with the bike rider in Old South Head Road, Rose Bay (DT 23/6) The culprit was probably a Liberal bike rider. You know that the "Libs think that they have a divine right to rule" well this bloke is slightly different he is one who thinks that "he has a divine right to ride" and couldn't give a stuff about little old ladies on the footpath or anyone else for that matter. A typical Liberal Trait.


    Hell on wheels

    Firstly I am dissapointed at your blatent attack on cycling and cyclists. To me, reading the article, it seemed as though someone just has a grudge against cyclists. You quote in the article that ' In some of the worst cases, caught on camera by The Daily Telegraph, they even ride the streets while speaking or text messaging on a mobile phone'. Is this not true of motorists as well. All the time, every day I ride back home, I see at least one person txting or talking on the phone in a car. And if you ask me, it is just as dangerous as cyclists doing it, possibly even more dangerous due to the increased speed.

    Luke McCarthy

    Hell on wheels

    Having found out about your article through Australia's excellent website I was a little annoyed to read about such an inflammatory story being printed, however I can understand it if Bruce McDougall himself had an encounter with an ignorant individual, riding a bicycle (I'm a cyclist, a motorist, a pedestrian etc, over in England) not all at once I hasten to add - though I'm sure even Bruce would agree there are as many displays of human ignorance driving cars, (cutting you up, tailgaiting, verbal abuse etc.) out walking (trying to walk through you) shopping, (pushing past, ramming the shopping cart into you) etc. it's a problem with individuals, not cyclists in general.

    damian redmore

    Hell on wheels

    I hope that the article "Hell on wheels" was some kind of ridiculous joke, or at the very least an article written with a purpose; to open up the public eye to cycling as a legitimate, cost effective, but under-catered-for, mode of transport. I have some issues to raise about the article which I find to be slight exaggerations or even brazen untruths. In regard to the following sentence "Bending the rules with no regard for other road users, they run red lights, ride on the footpath and blatantly refuse to wear a helmet" why is there no comparison to "other road users". I feel that it is an unfair comparison in the first place to argue that cyclists have no regard for other road users, especially when i believe it would be hard to maintain that any road user has any regard for one another, especially car drivers towards cyclists! I doubt that many cyclists ‘blatantly refuse to wear helmets’ although I’m sure there are some. This is like saying that “car drivers never wear seatbelts”. One rather valid point your author pointed out was this, “In some of the worst cases, caught on camera by The Daily Telegraph, they even ride the streets while speaking or text messaging on a mobile phone”. Good point Bruce, but if this is one of the worst cases please save me now!

    Andrew Carter

    Hell on wheels

    "Hell on Wheels": a typical rant by selfrightous autosapiens. Even for a fairly young, competitive athlete, who can ride out in traffic, Mr. Unwin's comments apply. Why don't you pull up the number of people who are killed every year by autos vs who are killed by cyclists? In the States, you'll find friends of mine on the "killed by cars" list; and not for riding any more reclessly then people regularly drive their cars. Who's the maniacs again?

    Michael Smartt

    General Feedback

    Re your article 'Hell on Wheels' I thoroughly agree that cyclists on the pavement are a total menace. They are possibly my number one pet-hate. They obey NO rules, running straight through red lights, hopping onto the pavement at any angle/speed that suits them. Their excuse, it's not safe on the roads. If they hit us pedestrians (and where the hell are we supposed to go to be safe from them), we will come off second best. Many times I wander down the street (particularly along Flinders, near Oxford)deep in my thoughts when a cyclist, totally silent (so I've no idea they're present) rushes from behind my back, often passing within an inch or so. Naturally, from being relatively calm/miles a way in thought, I suddenly find my heart racing(startled), and feeling very angry at these TOTALLY selfish thick skinned jerks.

    william broad

    Hell on wheels

    While I do not even live in Australia I feel I must comment on you recent report "Hell on wheels". As a keen cyclist I am tired of the general public implying that all cyclists are law breakers and a danger to personal safety. You go on in your article as if we are murderers. I have never in my life jumped a red light and would never do so. I also doubt anyone would agree that the pavement is an ideal place to be on a bike, but sometimes the lack of facilities and space on the road for cyclists combined with ignorant, selfish and dangerous motorists means that for some people it is the safest place to be. The little girl in the photo is hardly being a menace is she, riding slowly up an almost completely deserted pavement.

    Keith Smith

    Hell on wheels

    Slow news day in Australia then? Or just covering up your cricket teams embarrassing performances? Bad cyclists, naughty cyclists.


    General Feedback

    Mr. Bruce McDougall, I am a cycling "idiot" based in Los Angeles. Your article, designed to enflame the already hostile relationship beteween motorists and cyclists, was a childish and irresponsible piece of non-journalism. What's the matter; did a fit human being on a bicycle slow down your daily commute in your gas-guzzling SUV by 20 seconds? Cyclists lives are literally at stake on the open road, and your attempt to pour fuel on the flame was pathetic. Perhaps you should just pull over and spend some time in the donut shop (with a cup of de-caf) where you belong.

    Michael Ward

    Hell on wheels

    I have had two nasty encounters with irresponsible adults riding their bicycles willy-nilly along footpaths. Firstly, I was walking out of a shop on Old South Head RD, Rose Bay when a man on a bike ran into me knocking me flying! I pushed him at the same time he collided with me, and luckily nothing was broken. However he just jumped back on and rode away along the path, without a helmet or waiting to see if I was OK! Second encounter was with an absolute reckless fool who rode at great speed along the Bondi to Bronte walk scattering walkers like bowling pins!!! I was pleased to read your article today because I think this problem is a serious one which needs more consideration.

    Pearl Blasina

    By Blogger cfsmtb, at 3:44 pm, June 23, 2005  

  • More General Feedback from 24 June:

    General Feedback

    In a liberal market economy, rapidly moving towards "user pays" , I find I must agree with the requirement of a pro-rata based registration for bicycle rider. However, pro rate what? weight, power, road damage caused, oil usage, air pollution or?. After payment of such, would motorists then happily give the same rights to cyclists as other road users? ie able to ride in the middle of the road lane.


    General Feedback

    Yeah, lets ban bicycles from bus lanes. Get them back on the footpath where they belong. Or do you think having them try to negotiate the speeding cars and trucks in the other lanes is a good idea?


    General Feedback

    Hell On Wheels Here we go again - now it's cyclists vs motorists. Well, we had just about everything else to argue about. So when are we going to tax them, or ban them this time? Most motorists and cyclists are considerate to others, however, there are idiots on both sides that shouldn't be on the road. This whole argument has nothing to do with the vehicles involved - it has everything to do with the person in control of that vehicle. Looking forward to seeing people write in, who have a workable solution for both parties, as both have a right to use our exclusive roads.

    Debra Atwill

    General Feedback

    Jacky Hall is mistaken... cyclists need not demand equal rights to other road users because those rights already exist. L-A-W Furthermore most adult cyclists do pay registration and all pay taxes. I pay two motor vehicle registrations for instance.

    Martin Geliot

    General Feedback

    When cyclists start to pay some pro-rata type of registration for road use, then they may be in a position to demand equal rights as road users.

    Jacky Hall

    Housemates told: Clean up your act

    people complaining a bout big brother un cut shouldnt watch it if they cant handle it may be go watch hi five or grow up


    Feedback Topics

    This is about Licence to cycles.Yes i think that everybody that is on a cycle should have a licence from a young age and up should have a licence.I have been driving since 1993 and have found that when people are on there bikes or cycle they do not obey the rules of the road.And i think that it's about time that people that want to ride a bike should have a licence.I also think that the RTA should bring out rule books on cycles and be the ones that do the licences they also should have there photos on them.Also the bike should have a licence plate numbers on them and registered in that persons name.But if there is a young child riding the bike then it should be registered in the mum's or dad's name. Something has to be done.

    Douglas Briancourt

    General Feedback

    As a motorist and also week-end cyclist, your report on cyclists who ride dangerously was baseless and sensationalised journalism at its best! On the same day two cyclists were hit & run - with one dying and another fighting for his life. Not one cyclist in the country would be responsable for hitting and killing a person, yet you persist in portraying cyclists as the enemy of the country. In Sydney, there are less than 100km of dedicated bike lanes. Where do you expect riders to go when the roads are so poorly maintained and unsafe? I suggest that you write an article on the unsafe drivers using mobile phones,speeding,breaking roads rules left right & centre!

    Damian Wilson

    Hell on wheels

    BOO! You really think cyclists are the problem! I have riden a bicycle to work for a period of 3 years with a helmet, lights, reflective vest and a bright yellow tracksuit! And STILL been run down by motorists at least 4 times one of which put me in hospital, We are not accepted on the road or footpath. So we dont fall under any rules without being hypocritical. Walk in the shoes of both partys before writing such a blatantly wrong view on a topic you obviously know nothing about. A five minute search on the internet reveals more facts on this topic than you are even aware of! End rant!


    By Blogger cfsmtb, at 4:16 pm, June 24, 2005  

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