Aiming in the wrong direction

The train aside, my main – and preferred – method of transport is the bicycle. Yes, I realise that this makes me a member of one of Julia’s least favourite groups but with three exceptions* I stick the to Highway Code and get as annoyed with other road users as they no doubt do with me.

Whilst I am nowhere near Tour de France standard, on a decent, flat piece of road in good conditions I can get up to beyond 20mph under my own steam and on downward stretch of some of the hills between myself and my parents I go through 30mph – and have hit 40mph on one of them before now – without trying (only one of those hills has a 30mph limit).

Basically I cycle (generally) within the rules, have notched up more than 1k miles a year for most of the last 23 years and I cycle at speeds which are sometimes comparable to the motor traffic around me. And yes, I have the tree trunk lookalike legs to prove it.

You can imagine my disbelief then when I read that a city councillor in Melbourne, Australia has called for the speed limit for cyclists of just 20km/h – or 12.5mph in real money.

12.5mph? I can go up some hills faster than that!

So, why does said jobs-worth want such a thing?

Cr Ong said he was almost struck by a cyclist moving at speed recently. “The other day when I walked out from town hall I nearly got run over from a cyclist who shot through a red light as I was crossing Little Collins Street right in front of town hall.”

So, a cyclist goes through a red light at what looks like (from Streetview) a fairly active pedestrian junction at ‘speed’** and rather than do complaining about the offence committed, he set his sights on something which had nothing to do offence, viz imposing a speed limit. Typically the prat hasn’t a clue about how to enforce it:

He did not know how the bike speed limit would be enforced. “The thing is not about enforcement, the thing is about education,” he said.

A speed limit is educational? Really? Methinks Councillor Ong has spent too much time sipping the double think juice.

If he wants the problem dealt with then he should ask the local police to enforce Highway Code (or Australian equivalent). I assume it is one of their jobs, much the same as it is back here in Blighty***…

h/t Angry Exile

* These are:

  1. I do, although very rarely, break red lights. Similar to some drivers, if a light I am familiar with changes to amber and I think I have the time, I will try and get through before it changes to red. I don’t always succeed and if I’m still within braking distance I’ll stop rather than jump.
  2. There is a one way stretch between myself and the London bound platform of my station which used to be (before one car driver too many lost control and ploughed the wall at the far side) bi-directional. Sometimes I get off and push, sometimes I will ride on the pavement (at a speed slower than walking) through here as it is a matter of meters compared to the 1/2 mile (according to Google Maps) to complete the trip legally.
  3. If I find myself coming home later than planned (i.e. after dark) and I didn’t pack my lights that morning I will still cycle home but I keep a careful watch out for cars and keep out of their way.

** People, especially stationary ones, are usually poor judges of speed.

*** Before they gave up and left it to speed cameras, obviously.


  1. JuliaM says:

    “Basically I cycle (generally) within the rules…”

    That puts you back on the list of most favourite groups, then.. ;)

  2. nisakiman says:

    Ah, Melbourne. That’s the place where they set up the city-wide bike hire system, wasn’t it. And then proceeded to make helmets mandatory, at a stroke rendering unusable the aforesaid bike hire system, as nobody, but nobody, was going to cart round a bike helmet on the off-chance that they would want to avail themselves of the bike hire service. You have to wonder at the mentality of these people.

    When I lived in Melbourne in the seventies, it was tolerably anarchic. Looks like the risk-averse jobsworths have prevailed since then.

    I won’t be going back…

    • Misanthrope Girl says:

      Ah, yes, the foolishness of the Australian government’s compulsory cycle helmet law. A (benefit of doubt here) well meaning law – the consequence of which was to reduce cycling participation across the country. Thankfully no one has yet managed to reproduce it in the UK but if they did I’d probably ignore it.

      • JuliaM says:

        Surely it’d have been possible to put a box on each bike, containing a helmet? Or are those things not adjustable for different-size heads?

  3. Furor Teutonicus says:

    XX If he wants the problem dealt with then he should ask the local police to enforce Highway Code XX


    There is nothing to ENFORCE.

    The highway code is just that, a CODE. It is NOT LAW!

    It points out things which are covered by laws, BUT IT IS NOT LAW!

    Have I made myself clear?

  4. john malpas says:

    You should know that city councillors in Australia are revered and much valued people.
    The cyclist should have got off the bike and walked by repectfully, whilst doffing the hat/helmet that all non drivers should wear..

  5. jameshigham says:

    The train aside, my main – and preferred – method of transport is the bicycle.

    As you know, I blog on the bike a fair bit and in conjunction with the train, like bread and butter, they’re a winning combination. But wimmin on bikes takes it into the area of the sublime.