Who owns the roads

I’m not normally passionate about cycling advocacy (although I accept that all cyclists probably should be) – however, today I came across the following three different articles/opinion pieces that all have that theme (see below). Coincidence? Karma?

[li]Interesting article in the Guardian (UK) — 19th century cyclists paved the way for modern motorists’ roads | Carlton Reid | Environment | guardian.co.uk — which says that it is cyclists, rather than motorists, who are historically responsible for flat roads.
[li]Another article on a cycle advocacy site — Who Owns the Roads Anyway? | Cycling Utah — de-bunks the old ‘motorists-pay-for-the-road-through-taxes,-and-cyclists-don’t’ argument (as least from a US perspective).
[li]However, the key issues for Australian cyclists (as identified in this article — What is the key challenge for cycling policy? ) are:
/li changing motorists perception that roads are exclusively for their use and cyclists, like pedestrians, don’t belong on them;
(b) getting motorists to understand that cyclists have an equal right to the road, and that cyclists’ greater vulnerability also means they have a further right to special care and consideration from drivers.

Roads in NSW are mostly paid for out of general revenue (ie taxation, not vehicle rego), and local roads are paid for by councils, with some assistance from the state/federal govts.

The interesting thing is that up until cars became ubiquitous, roads were essentially common or public areas. Which I guess they still are (see summer cricket games in culs de sac) except that cars are so dangerous that they negate all other uses.

If cars didn’t exist and you came along today and proposed a new form of transport that monopolised open space, cost individuals a huge chunk of their income, and killed a few thousand people a year (in Australia alone) you’d never get it past the first hurdle.

Good links El Kabong.
Sounds like a compelling argument- now how do we convince motorists of this?

Frontal lobotomy.

…but that would assume the average Australian had any sort of intelligence beforehand, which would be a gross over generalisation.

Education and decent road use (not just ‘driver’) training.

I always thought the best thing to happen would be petrol prices going beyond $2.00 /litre- this would be a tipping point for change

Nah, drivers would just be angrier, seeing bike riders riding for ‘free’ would further infuriate them.

I honestly believe education is the answer.


As long as shows like a current affair and today tonight exist and people watch them, and say to me at work…“did u see that story on ACA/TDT last night” then I think the above quote stands true

Personally, I agree that education will go a long way, but unfortunately, you can’t stop people from being arseholes and our roads are full of them. Hence, I also think changes in the law need to be made as well. I’d welcome bringing us in line with some of Europe where, if you’re the car, it’s your fault!

The recent moves in creating cycleways aren’t necessarily helping either.

A lot of the new Sydney bike lanes (e.g. College St) direct bikes onto footpaths in order to cross intersections with pedestrians instead of with the cars. Sure to cause trouble with pedestrians, and prolongs the idea that the road is for cars only.

The Melbourne model of “bike boxes” at intersections was a revelation to me when I visited a few months ago. Can’t believe they haven’t at least tried them in Sydney.

The police to citizen ratios in australia are really low. Had a Euro friend, a hot rod builder, explain to me once that they could build most anything but couldn’t drive it hard. We on the other hand find it hard to build most anything but when we do can get away with anything on the road due to slack police/citizen ratios. Bogans et al know their chance of being caught hassling cyclists is almost zero. Even bus drivers (public servants) have tried ‘scare’ tactics…and they have cameras in their vehicles. Try getting the footage though!

As an aside, anyone remember the northern euro advocacy group that made a heap of Balsa wood ‘car’ sized frames to fit on commuting cyclists rides. Used for critical mass style peak hour rides. They caused hella gridlock and got the local 5 0 / government interested in taking their complaints seriously.

having drivers know that it’s not their taxes that pay for their roads won’t do much in my opinion. arseholes are gonna be arseholes.

True, but cyclists are gonna be arseholes too.

Riding home from work the other night on Flemington Rd- dude on MTB commuter didn’t want to stop at the various lights so he would temporarily ride on the footpath for about 50m, then go back to the road as though nobody saw him do it. Problem was he did this at about 5 intersections, at peak hour in front of the whole Melb peak hour motoring community. Ever get the embarrassed feeling for other cyclists?
Needless to say, I overtook him on the hill anyway… :wink:

i agree some cyclists could benefit from some introspection. if you blast past trams as passengers are alighting and, in general, act like a dildo you sorta forfeit some of your right to get indignant at idiot drivers.

Nah, this would just provoke more “Jeremy Clarkson*” thinking. He argues that cyclists cost him money because he thinks he burns more petrol when he 's forced to drive slowly behind us.

  • a cockhead of the first order

populist right wing prick!

me? i’m changing the world, one whip skid at a time.

But don’t you think once fuel gets to a certain price, Mr average who drives an HSV Maloo and lives in Cragieburn is going to come the realisation that ‘you know what, I can’t afford this!’

i do.


they’ll find away to afford it and the centre-right of politics will find away to assist.

i’d love to punch jeremy clarkson in the cock

I can’t see it happening. They said the same type of thing when it got to a dollar ten years ago.
It just makes them angrier and more hotheaded.