Helmet-cam traps: where’s the humour!

It was a sting operation. A classic piece of entrapment, designed to expose the dark soul of the average middle aged Australian misogynist who doesn’t care much for bikes either. With her camera rolling she cycled beside a taxi that had pulled over, something no bike messenger would ever do. But these aren’t the 80s. Cities are crippled by congestion and an obesity crisis and are relying on cycling for more than just parcel deliveries. The economies and health departments of urbanised nations depend now on cycling becoming a mainstream mode, as it is in Holland and Denmark. Attention needs to be drawn to the attitudes of those people who are stopping bike transport from working, people like toy importer Jeff Hunter (whose imports are now banned from my house), and Australia’s traffic engineering profession who continue to ignore all the evidence that barrier protected cycle tracks slow cars, but speed people movement and save many lives.

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But as good as her setup was, she could take some tips from Sacha Baron Cohen. Sexism, racism, homophobia, nationalism, propensities toward violence—anything people in suits try to hide, Cohen seems able to tease to the surface. So I’m thinking that with a little more thought in the setup, this recent dooring incident in Melbourne could have been bled for more laughs. What could have been done with a stunt rider, for instance? Could a stripper have arrived on the scene with free tipping dollars for anyone hitting a cyclist? Could the driver have stuffed the woman into the boot of his taxi and promised to get rid of the evidence? Could a gun battle have broken out between bike riding rebels and soldiers with other soldiers holding Jeff and his mates on the ground to protect them from bullets?

While I’ve resisted joining the helmet cam warriors, and am confident after 20+ years of bike commuting that happy thoughts really do insulate us from hatred, another part of me is attracted to the spectre of hijinx.

About Steven

I'm on a mission to put cycling on the agendas of architects, urban designers and fellow academics, who see the potential for bicycles to change cities and buildings. My PhD is in architectural history and my interdisciplinary research spans art theory, philosophy and cultural studies. I teach architectural history and theory and design studio at The University of Tasmania, Australia, and formerly worked as an architect designing large public housing projects in Singapore. My favourite bikes are a titanium racing bike I use for racing, a Velorbis retro commuter for riding to cafes and work, a single speed ultra light Brompton that I take with me when I travel on planes, a 29er hard tail mountain bike that I get lost on in remote places, an old track bike that scares me, a 1984 Colnago Super with all original campagnolo components that is plugged into a virtual realm that I train in, and a Dutch-made Bakfiets, that could easily replace half of the bikes I just mentioned.
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4 Responses to Helmet-cam traps: where’s the humour!

  1. crank says:

    I’m like George Costanz: come up with the zinger way too late. I am one un-witty bike riding guy. We need ex-Chaser guys riding around with cams.

  2. Matthew says:

    Looking at his business website I see he made part of his fortune importing Cyclops bikes for Target. Importer of crappy bikes calls cyclist disgusting.

    It would never work in a script, it’s too contrived.

  3. Luke says:

    They (the blokes in the cab) are a bit fat. Not sure how this changes things. But they are lardy.

    • Steven says:

      Indeed, we need some fat actors to tease out the prejudices of skinny cyclists. Perhaps a fat public health worker with a clip board and golf cart, pulling over cyclists and lecturing them about the need to walk 20 minutes a day.

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