Oh, The Project. One minute, you’re alright (usually Waleed and the former Mr Pickering), and the next you are a slightly myopic crazy person (usually Mr Price, although he has been better lately).
The video is not up on their website yet for tonight’s broadcast, but the issue of the safe passing law being tabled again by the Greens in Victoria following the death of Alberto Paulon in Sydney was discussed. It’s true that a safe passing law would have done nothing to protect Alberto, but it did serve to highlight the issue of vulnerable road users.
Anyway, who else but everyone’s favourite, Steve Price, was asked about the issue. Quite predictable, given that he is guaranteed to say something controversial about cycling, which is a guaranteed source of attention for the show. I’m not sure how controversial it was, but he is so black and white about everything that it usually sounds like it regardless.
From memory, his argument was twofold:
a) laws won’t help. We don’t need or want any more laws, and furthermore, almost everybody does what they can to drive safely anyway, so, obviously, self-regulation is all we need (said in the most polarizing way possible).
b) the solution is education. Because we all want to be good all the time, it’s just that we don’t know how.
Interestingly, the guest host happened to be Bridie O’Donnel, a world-class Australian cyclist (who happens to be one of the better guest hosts in quite some time). What are the odds.
Her response was measured, but off the mark, unfortunately. She basically brought up the point that everyone who dislikes cyclists generalizes them into a group of lycra-wearing anarchists who always run red lights and never yield to anyone. She, meanwhile, always observes motorists using mobile phones, which is illegal, and yet you don’t usually hear people saying that all drivers use mobile phones.
Fair enough, to be sure, but I’m not sure how that serves to advance the argument.
So, Steve Price’s argument.
We don’t need new laws
No, says Mr Price, we don’t need a safe passing law, because, who is going to enforce it, anyway?
Well, first of all, that’s a separate issue and not relevant to whether or not something should be legally acceptable. Secondly, I would have to guess, THE POLICE. Furthermore, what the law will do is give some teeth to the prosecution of someone who does hit and injure or kill a cyclist. Next.
Why don’t we need this law?, Again, I would like to review the segment but it’s not uploaded onto their website yet, so from what I remember, he suggested that we all know better anyway.
Sorry, but isn’t that kind of the point of making something illegal? So people don’t choose to do things that they know are unacceptable? It’s legally punishable by law because people do stupid crap anyway? Do I have to use painfully obvious examples to illustrate the stupidity of this line of thought? I’ll pass.
What we need is education
Why, yes. Yes we do. Let’s educate the faces off of people. And once people know just what is unsafe behaviour yet still choose to find what is on Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest/Instagram/navigation/radio/etc. more interesting than what is in the road in front of them, or simply decide to leave their humanity at home that morning, we need laws, with consequences that matter.
Header image: source