Facts - who needs 'em

Facts – who needs ’em


Facts – sometimes we love them, and sometimes we hate them.

So in this one, we have missing facts, such as the fact that the cyclists were actually in the correct lane. The left lane is exiting the road, but the lane the cyclists were in proceeds either left or straight ahead. The cyclists were headed straight and therefore needed to be in that lane, and early enough to avoid having to cross over against traffic at the last minute.

These kind of facts are conveniently missing all the time in order to maintain whatever predetermined conclusion is desired.


“We are so focused on cyclists in Sydney, it’s a joke!”, says a guy whose job it is to be entirely focused on cars.

You can take your pick with any number of statements in the video above, which are a fair representation of the negative statements and assumptions that people make all the time about cycling and the need to provide for it.

“The roads are so congested!” Why? Because there are too many bikes? Show me one instance when things have ground to a halt at a green light behind a long line of cyclists. “The bike lane is totally under-used!” Why, because you are measuring use at the terminus of a poorly placed bike lane after everybody has already turned off to find a more desirable route to take?

Even though there are facts – many real, cold, hard, black and white ones – that support the investment in cycling, that show its benefit to public health, the economy, personal finances, traffic, the environment, mental health, workplace efficiency, learning, healthy communities, and the list goes on.

Facts, mind you. Studies. Statistics. Science.

These aren’t what we’re really after, though, when it comes to our roads. All that matters is that we are supposed to do things that appear to benefit cars. Even though the facts show that adding more lanes only leads to more congestion (usually within four years of new lanes/roads). Even though a well executed street diet actually eases congestion. Even though adding dedicated cycling infrastructure benefits small businesses and increases safety for cyclists and motorists – these aren’t the facts that we want to hear.

Facts for everyone! Unless…

See, we’re not actually after facts as much as we are interested in just having our biases and beliefs confirmed. We’ll find the right “facts” until they roughly match what we wanted to begin with.

What I find ironic is that Australians, in particular, are a rather secular society. Collectively, we show open disdain for religion, mocking it for the collection of silly stories that only children would believe. Get your head out of the clouds and get with the facts. Science. Reality. Truth.

Except when it doesn’t suit us. Then we’re afraid of facts. We like science and make fun of religion, but we worship crazy ideas of all sorts with all of the fanaticism of even the most fundamental worshiper.

We’re afraid to ask the most simple questions: can we continue to drive at the rate that we are? Can we continue to be as sedentary as we are? Can we afford to build more and more infrastructure (just) for cars? How can we move more people, more efficiently, with the greatest benefit to everyone in every aspect?

Screw science! Forget facts and logic! Just drive! Worship at the altar of cars, and the roads built for them!

We’re so proud not to be taken in by the stories of religion but greedily buy into the transportation equivalent of Sodom and Gomorrah – do anything aside from make more room for cars and watch all traffic, nay, our very existence, turn to a pillar of salt.

So, if you want to be all proud of your resistance to fanciful thinking and believer in facts, then how about doing so with some level of consistency?

Either admit that you are happy to believe things you hold dear to your heart which are not supported by data, science, or facts as we know them, or apply your apparent love of facts to the rest of life with the same ardor you have towards the few that you’ll admit to.


Header image: source