Politics and activism


I’ve never been on a Critical Mass ride. Frankly my bike comes out rather too occasionally, and I think I’d be struggling to maintain the pace. But I was amused on Friday to hear that they were planning another ride on the tollway — this time over the Bolte Bridge.

Some talkback radio hosts began foaming at the mouth, and state opposition leader Robert Doyle demanded that action be taken. Not sure what he was hoping for — police to use mass amounts of capsicum spray on them perhaps. Funny, we don’t hear similar screaming when protestors regularly block Bourke or Swanston Streets, something that delays many thousands more people.

Transport networks are susceptible to this kind of interruption, far more commonly from accidents than protest. And sometimes it’s just too many people travelling at once. Most of us hear the warnings, make alternative plans, possibly suffer a delay, and get on with our lives. I reckon it’s a small price to pay for living in a free and democratic society.

Oh dear. Did I write something startingly similar to this the last time it happened? Better check…

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

3 replies on “Outrage!”

Here we have the opposite problem: streets so narrow that they become heavily congested at peak periods to the point where bikes can scarecly move.

(Try foaming about that at the mouth, eh shock-jocks!)

I feel so virtuous as a non-car owning cyclist – for the first time in my adult life.

Still, the next step would be to learn some basic bike maintenance.

A Critical Mass ride is where a bunch of cyclists go riding together, thereby occupying the road in a legal way, and bringing awareness to alternative (non-car) forms of transport.

Obviously riding on the Bolte Bridge or other tollways/freeways where cyclists are not normally allowed is an exception to the “legal” bit! In Melbourne they don’t seem to do that very often.

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