Celebrity does not allow assaulting a cyclist ! Seems that the more well known you are , the better chance you have of claiming public sympathy when you behave badly in public towards a cyclist !
Consider this scenario :
1. Celebrity ex sports person is driving and sees a cyclist and feels inadequate , jealous , scared , etc. because this cyclist can more easily pass through traffic , does not understand road rules relating to cyclist, etc.
2. All this and some adrenaline gets the better of the driver and he intimidates , abuses or attacks the cyclist.
3. As the driver calms down and realises that he just committed a crime and is a moron for doing it, he reports it to police, putting his side of the story first. Cops lap up the celebrity aura of the ex sports star as he adds lots of sauce to his story suggesting in some way that he was at risk from this cyclist despite being inside a car.
4. Whip up more of a storm on social media to get public sympathy, and hopefully also create lots pressure for police to drop any charges. Note that previously police involvement and pressure not to proceed with charges involved St.Kilda footballers.
5. Speak to an anti-cyclist shock jock on 3AW for more pressure and public sympathy.
6. Point to his Charity Foundation as a means of pretending what a great bloke he is (hoping the public will not realise the said charity does not disclose any financial information or proper evidence that a reasonable % of the donations actually go to the said causes, employs his family and others, etc.).
7. Distract from crime by creating hysteria about Rego for cycles and cars vs cyclists rubbish ("look over there, a unicorn!") !
Continually the media take the side of those that shout the loudest , since they have the connections they get more attention ! The victims are left to hope that the Police or CPS will weigh the evidence and decide that there is a case to answer .
Many times the official responsible for overseeing the case are pressured by their superiors to take no action . Difficult to be impartial when vested interests exert influence behind the scenes . One wonders why so many people are given free tickets to sporting events ?
Whilst Rex Hunt in Australia has had a narrow escape from a prison sentence for injuring a cyclist in a “ Road Rage incident “ there is no report in the media about any compensation to the injured cyclist . Perhaps the paper articles I have seen wish to discourage Cyclists from being recompensed for losses suffered as a result of the bad behaviour of their “ mates ” ?
Another recent incident has involved that well known Cricket personality , Shane Warne , who because of his retirement has been garnering “ headlines ” because of the new circles in which he has chosen to involve himself . Once again there are disparities in the accounts of the incident and using celebrity as a defence , Shane has aired his involvement in a way that reflects badly on him and dragging the “ Us v Cyclists ” debate back to centre stage .
Hopefully the cyclist will be fully compensated for the damage done to his bike and wouldn’t it be appropriate to give a fulsome apology and see the cyclist and his lady friend reimbursed for the lost time due to the incident and perhaps Court appearances ? Shane , you could even swing a few tickets their way in a gesture of goodwill , since you will want something positive to “ tweet ” after the magistrate has finished their say on your erratic ( being kind here ) behaviour ! Do it before the matter is heard and perhaps it will count in your favour .
Amongst the “ fish ” that Shane and his mates dragged across the trail was the suggestion , once again , that Bikes carry “ number plates ” ! I for one have difficulty getting down in writing a Car’s reg. plate when I see “ erratic behaviour ” whilst riding or driving on the road , so are we to carry on the front wheel and rear a similar sized object ? Switzerland has a sticker that goes on bikes for Insurance purposes ONLY , but your chances of discovering the info there are limited to when they are stationary and you know for what you are looking ! Too many other people have put forward their “ pros and cons ” so I have lifted the following from another blog :
“ I, and many other cyclists, would love for all cyclists to ride with the utmost consideration for drivers, and all drivers to drive with complete respect for cyclists. However, the poor behaviour of a minority of cyclists/drivers is often used as justification for a negative attitude towards the entire group, and no progress is going to be made when people think like this. Cyclists must ride with consideration for drivers, obey the road rules and show by example that they are respectable and law abiding road users. Drivers must drive with care and respect for cyclists, understanding the risk they pose to cyclists. Public figures must not promote antagonism towards cyclists (or drivers). And everybody should understand that mandatory registration and number plates for bikes are not an answer.”
Dave Johnstone has also commented about Shane on his blog as well as commenting to the blog ( Cycling tips ) where this story came to my attention . Seems like he knows a good deal about the “ trials and tribulations ” of an Aussie Cyclist !
Finally in relation to Oz , this comment to a blog is worth repeating :
“ registration is used to repair and rebuild roads. so if cyclists are made to pay it then maybe it should contain some sort of parity with other road users. Trucks/ buses have larger registration fees than cars, which in turn are larger than motorcycles. If cyclists pay it should be in line with the percentage of damage they do to roads. I'd estimate somewhere of the order of 0.01%. So, as a cyclist i'd be happy to pay 30c each 6 months to register my bike, along with the hundreds i spend on car registration. It can come out of the $5000 + i have saved my private health fund and taxpayers in surgery and physio/rehab from not having a knee reconstruction because I choose to ride as often as i can. ”
That comment provoked the following comment :
“ Actually thats not quite correct, car registration is split into 3 parts.
1. an administration fee by vicroads (about $120)
2. stamp duty (about $30)
3. TAC (about $450)
$$ amounts approx..
As you can see the vast majority goes to subsiding the TAC. The TAC pays for the huge medical costs associated with 1,500 road deaths and 30,000 serious injuries on our roads every year. Road funding is mostly provided by general revenue (income taxes, GST etc.)
Not many people realise but the TAC operates at a loss - the annual bill associated with the road toll every year is estimated at $18billion, a lot more than the $3.9billion raised. If we were to convert the registration system into a true "user pays" system then the cost of registering a motor vehicle would nearly triple overnight.
So the question for motorists is, do you want a true user pays regisration system?
Between 1925-2008, 185,256 people were killed on Australian roads.
Total Australian war dead 102,734
Bridie O'Donnell , the well known Australian Cycling champion , blogged this week about Warnie , and her article was picked up by many media outlets .
Essentially the item was quite knd to Warnie but id highlight the fact that so many " Sports Personalities " enjoy the limelight when it suits and then try to deflect it when they behave badly ! Bridie has written many interesting and thoughtful articles that i have enjoyed reading since meeting her at the Tour de Romandie one year , when there was a Women's Time Trial event using the same course as the men .
Over in the UK last week “ Thecyclingsilk ” managed to get the culprit into court , finally ! Result was a conviction and “ fines ” but I did not see any compensation in favour of the injured party ! Once again I am left wondering IF Cyclists are discouraged from pursuing those that cause them “ difficulties ”? Certainly we do not need the American “ Sue and be damned ” culture , but it is reasonable for the Cyclist to be reimbursed if the Guilty party has tried to create additional expenses by delaying or deferring their “ day of judgement ” , hoping the injured party will lose patience and give up ? Anyone seeing the “ video ” of the incident would conclude it was a “ slam dunk ” case but “ Innocent until proved Guilty ” is still the law of the land !
Congratulations to Martin Porter QC
for persisting and thus getting a result , which will help encourage other Cyclists in future cases to see a matter through to the conclusion !