BQ response to anti-bike article in The Gold Coast Bulletin

December 11th, 2012

Your paper’s journalist/opinion writer Daniel Meers’ “declaration of war” on cyclists in the Gold Coast Bulletin uses an unfortunate phrase more suited to shock-jocks. Given the dangers exposed in the recent 2DayFM prank disaster – maybe your journo should be more careful with his words, because “declaring war” and “Motorists need to start manning up” (sorry ladies) incites violence as a solution.

We are sorry Daniel takes “about five minutes to drive three kilometres to a friends place” for a jog. Only 36 kph average speed – oh no! Given a 50kph speed limit and a few stops for traffic lights – that is actually a pretty fair clip.

The popularity of bike riding on the Gold Coast will continue to grow because the Gold Coast is a great city with active people who like to ride. Riding is great exercise, good fun, and simply the most efficient way to get from one place to another for trips of less than 5km.

Yes, some very keen riders do get out of bed at 5am to miss the traffic and to exercise before work. Most would see this as wonderful and healthy – overwhelming international evidence point to great cost savings in reduced hospitalisation from obesity and sedentary based diseases in countries that have high cycle usage.

Having people riding bikes for transport and exercise saves us all money. Hospitals are expensive to build and run. Riding a bike is cheap and reduces congestion. It’s a win-win in the vast majority of cases.

Daniel’s article was light on facts and heavy with opinion. Some crackers:

His opinion: that cyclists wouldn’t use bike lanes and other facilities provided by Government and Gold Coast City Council.

The truth: anywhere in Australia where safe cycling facilities are provided, cycling participation rates double or even more. Had he asked the state’s peak body we would’ve provided evidence of this. Or he could look on Google. It is all there.

His opinion: Bicycles are a danger to road safety.

The truth: In societies with high bicycle use, the road toll declines. The more bicycles on the paths and roads, the safer we all are. People ‘get’ it and drive safely.

The Gold Coast is a fantastic place to live, visit and ride. That’s why people live there and ride. Police have enough to do without chasing a small minority of riders who do flout the law, and who endanger themselves far more than anyone else.

Unfortunately some riders do seem angry and even over-react, because they deal with bad attitudes from some drivers who drive threateningly, blast horns and hurl abuse. Both should chill out and enjoy the day.

Our message is to try to enjoy your life Daniel, and please, get a bike. Your six kilometre round trip to run with your friend is part of the traffic congestion problem that is costing us all millions of dollars to ease, through our rates, taxes and car registration, which we all pay.

Ben Wilson, Manager BQ

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