Councillor Ken Ong heads Melbourne City Council’s planning committee, and believes he was almost hit recently by a bike coming through a red light. (Full story here). My answer would be to do away with the need for red lights, by keeping cars out of the city, but shucks, that’s just because I’ve been to Europe. As matters stand though, Ken has indeed copped a start from a cyclist breaking a technical law. And if the cyclist was being reckless, Ken has been a victim of actual wrongdoing—reckless riding—for which we already have an applicable law. Ken needs to call for that law to be enforced.
He has an odd solution, though, to the problem of cyclists bombing red lights. He’s calling for a new, special law. He wants all cyclists in the city to ride below 20km/h.
We have a name for special rules targeting identifiable groups: “discrimination”. Limiting the speed of all cyclists because some run lights, is like limiting the speed of every young lady who drives a little white car, because some of that type talk on their phones, or limiting the speed of all asian men drivers, because Ken Ong’s oversized suit is bad for tourism. It’s irrational. It’s playing the man, not the ball.
So by all means mouth off about speed limits on bike paths, or lower speed limits for all kinds of vehicles using the road, or extra cops targeting reckless bike riders. Just don’t be discriminatory toward an identifiable group. It’s demeaning enough for Melbourne’s cyclists already.