This Age news article just makes me angry: Cyclists do not have the same rights as motorists on roads. Really? Most Australian states consider a bicycle a vehicle, with the same rights and responsibilities on the road: NSW WA QLD Many more here.
Yet bikes have always been stuck in a sort of limbo. It's a vehicle, so we ride on the road. But other vehicles annoy us and get annoyed, often refusing to acknowledge that cyclists do in fact have the same rights as any other vehicle. Or we ride on shared footpaths, whizzing past and weaving around pedestrians who often take up all of the path.
It seems like we just can't win.
I'm very glad to see that many state governments, and even the Federal Government are beginning to put more effort and money into cycling infrastructure.It's been a long time coming... cycling accidents are common, and the incidents are often blamed on the cyclists, no matter what the cause may have been. It is also true that cyclists often do risky things, and obey only the road rules they want to.That's what happens when you're given no room by vehicles and treated as a vehicle off the road by pedestrians.
Hopefully a greater awareness of cyclists will mean higher safety and better infrastructure. We could start by getting some studies of what the actual issues are.Or perhaps it's just that we need more cyclists. Maybe adding to the emphasis placed on looking for cyclists during driving licence tests could help.
"[In] both Australian and international contexts [,] the greater the level of community cycling the lower the cycling crash rates become." SA Cycling Strategy 2006 - 2010.
In any case, there are some points in the Age article that ring true. Cyclists do not pay anywhere near as much towards roads and transport infrastructure maintenance as drivers do. Maybe it would be safer to only ride a certain times.
The main point in all this is that cycling can be very dangerous, yet it is one of the best ways to get around, get exercise, and leave no effect on the atmosphere. It is agreed that cycling is beneficial, so it should be encouraged. It seems like this is actively being addressed, despite articles like this.