Scully: ‘Cyclists do not have the same rights as motorists’

Australian ex-politician stirs up cycling controversy

Carl Scully, former minister for roads for New South Wales, Australia has created heated debate with an article in the daily Melbourne broadsheet The Age.

In the column, Scully said that cycling on busy roads was ‘profoundly unsafe’ and that he’d like to see cyclists banned from riding on busy roads during busy periods.

He said: “I would be happy to see a ban during morning and evening peak times. Time-of-day cycling would ensure that our roads during peak periods are for the sole use of vehicles and not for the use of cyclists. If pedestrians and cyclists can share off-road cycle ways, then why not where appropriate, share footpaths?

“Local councils would have to step up and start building much wider footpaths and cyclists would need to take greater care of pedestrians.”

The ex-roads minister noted that he had achieved much for cyclists: “I endeavoured, perhaps more than any other roads minister, to provide safe cycle ways and invested millions of dollars in the process.”

Scully emphasised his view that bikes and cars should not mix: “I made it quite clear that I believed riding a bike on a road was profoundly unsafe and that where I could I would shift them to off road cycle ways. I am still surprised as to how someone willingly gets on a bike and takes a huge risk with cars, trucks and buses, often travelling well over 80 km/h.

“That leaves cyclists very vulnerable. No one would suggest it is safe for pedestrians to be on the roadway, so why should it be any different if a pedestrian gets on a bike?”

“In rejecting the ‘we have a right to be on the road’ mentality of cyclists and their lobby groups, I also took a measured and balanced policy position on how best to separate bicycles and vehicles from our roads over time.

“Shifting cyclists off our roads or even banning them was neither fair nor entirely possible without providing off-road alternatives. I made a decision that all future major road infrastructure would be built with off-road cycle ways.”

In the column, the former roads minister praised the 40 km, off-road M7 cycle way, but went on to criticise ‘cynical’ cyclists: “I thought, and in fact assumed, that the cycling lobby would heap praise on the Government for this cycling Manna from heaven. Instead, I got roundly condemned for not building a cycle way that was flat and easy to train on.”

Scully also said that Australian cyclists should be more sensitive to the motoring public: “Apart from a negligible amount of GST on their equipment, cyclists pay nothing towards the cost of the roads they wish to use and rely on motorists to fund most of the cost of cycling infrastructure.”

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