There might be plenty to talk about from the past month – like Key going guns blazing for ISIS, or Winnie Peters running for Northland, but instead we think it far more gratuitous to talk about what really matters. No, not segways.
Cycling garb. What is it with politicians wearing spandex? I mean, of course we were expecting budgie-smugglers on the likes of Tony Abbott, but seriously, Trevor Mallard, what ARE you wearing and why on earth are you fraternising with the company of Cameron Slater? S’pose he is the “bad boy” of the Labour Party, after all.
Journalist, Ruby Harfield, documented the trials and tribulations of how road users view “spandex-clad cyclists” in a Fairfax article, where Heathcote’s Castle Rock Cafe owners got their wheels in a spin over cyclists sporting lycra in their cafe.
Claiming to be “unashamedly motorist friendly since 2008”, the cafe put a sign out front in an attempt to ban the sporting material, reportedly because “large men in very tiny shorts” were deterring customers. The sign read: “The bicycle is a beautiful thing but they never should have invented Lycra! No Lycra shorts please.”
With 128 comments on the Stuff website, one can safely conclude there is a theme: people either love or hate cyclists. One troll by the name of Jimmy Conway wrote, “it’s funny, cycling was never vilified until the potbellied corporate types in the throes of a midlife crisis decided to take up our sport.
“Now we have them riding three abreast, abusing drivers and taking over suburban cafes. Put the Pinarello on Trade Me and waddle back to the golf course, the lot of you.”
In other news, thank you, Mr Key, for giving us, via Google images, this goldmine of a photograph. Where’s ya bloody helmet, mate? Yes, we’re talking about the helmet debate.
AECOM Technology Corporation representative, Jack Jiang, a global provider of technical management and support services said, “there is strong advocacy against helmet wearing because it acts as a barrier against cycling”.
Campaigns that enforce helmet wearing are enforcing a construct that cycling is dangerous, he said.
After they introduced helmets in Australia, cycling numbers fell a third, because there was a safety in numbers effect: anything that reduced the number of people on bikes made it kind of risky for everyone, said Cycling Advocate’s Network Spokesperson, Patrick Morgan.
Off the back of this, there’s the argument that “bicycle helmets are too flimsy to prevent serious brain injuries and that cyclists should be wary of depending on them for protection.”
But, the real concern for New Zealanders is the lack of bicycle lanes. Wellington Mayor, Celia Wade-Brown, is all about getting the Island Bay route into the capital, even despite lack of funding and/or public support. As for Auckland, well if Taylor Swift is in on it, then the Skypath is covered. But, Julie Anne Genter says the real problem is in the social construct, which dates back to a systemic engineering paradigm of the 1950s.
“Traffic engineers traditionally took the principles of water engineering, which primarily was about monitoring the peak flow of water and building big pipes to accommodate it,” she said.
Traffic engineers of the day applied this exact same model to cars when car ownership was increasing: anything other than a car was thought to be an “add on” and invading the space specifically reserved for the flow of traffic.”
And she don’t need no spandex to say it how it is, amIright? As for the fools pictured below. WHAT. ARE. YOU. DOING?