Shane Warne highlights stupidity of traffic planners

There are people in this country who look to Shane Warne as a role model, who we can automatically assume to be dumb enough to be dangerous. Mr Warne is already guilty of inciting his followers to perpetrate acts of violence against a vulnerable minority, cyclists, and aught to be charged. If he were tweeting hatred toward muslims, homosexuals or aboriginals, he would be due to face to court, for hate speech.

But in one sense, we aught to thank him, for highlighting the failures of Australian road engineers. Rather than treating cycling as a levered up kind of walking, as Holland and Denmark have done, they persist with John Forester’s idea that bikes are vehicles, “in the eye of the law”. The law must be blind. Bikes don’t have airbags. They don’t shield their riders. They have one five-hundreth of a car’s power. They can’t stop mid lane and reverse park. They can’t claim a car parking space. How then, as a matter of policy, can bikes be expected to move to centre lanes, in order to turn across oncoming traffic?

In those rare places where circumstances really do permit treating bikes as slow vehicles, the global solution has been to provide a bike box, that allows cyclists to follow a bike lane alongside the gutter, then gather at the front of the cars, before making their turn. But in places where cycling is really flourishing, because it is treated as a strong kind of walking (not a weak kind of driving), we see better solutions, including measures and laws to slow cars to bike speed, or hook turns from bike boxes, like the ones they employ in Copenhagen (see image on left).

I didn’t have to travel the world to learn this. I had picked it up just out of interest, by using google. So what kind or retarded road engineers are we paying to do this, as their real job, here in Australia? To some extent conflicts like Warne’s are the result of letting cricketers drive, but really, they are more to do with letting ignorant old men design roads. Ministers of transport: sack the lot, and re-hire.


  1. kfg says:

    “the global solution has been to provide a bike box”

    In the Netherlands these are being deprecated and removed as one of those ideas that looked good on paper, but was a mistake in the actualization. Oddly enough, their failings were precisely those depicted by the Johns (Forester, Allen & Franklin) before they were installed.

    Your Google ninja skills are in need of a bit of honing.

    The preferred method is to never place a bicycle in the projected path of an automobile. Complete separation in time-space. The fact that the Dutch then require cyclists to share their designated time-space with motor vehicles is just one of the odd personality quirks that makes us want to pinch their little cheeks and proclaim “Awwww! That’s so cute.”; I guess.

    • Steven says:

      Your comprehension skills are down with your written expression this week. I knew that about Holland, and didn’t say anything to the contrary. So come on, keep your end of the bargain, as a commenter whose text I don’t delete with the rest. I’m just guessing here: are you confusing the Danish style gathering box (the last picture) with the Portland bike box (second last picture)? Or maybe you’re thinking of Portland style boxes still used in Holland, but then, only when circumstances seem to permit?
      Oh, don’t bother explaining. I trust you to return to former form shortly.

  2. t.a. barnhart says:

    Pdx installed bike boxes after 2 bicyclists were killed by trucks making right turns. while i agree on the whole “bikes are vehicles, too” concept & ride that way, there are some practicalities in America that we cannot ignore. if bike boxes are necessary in Pdx, and they are, then you can imagine how valuable they’d be elsewhere. i’m very much for education, physically separated bikeways & improved bicycling skills. but i love knowing that i can sit in a bike box at a busy intersection & not worry that the vehicle next to me won’t flatten me.

    • Steven says:

      I’d put it this way, that IQ and personality tests should apply to operators of heavy machines (cars), and that oldies with dementia and people with down syndrome, plus little kids, and deaf people, etc etc, should be free to move safely by bike. Thanks for your comment.

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