A community board member from Dunedin wants the Council to create a bicycle registration bylaw so cyclists who break the law can be identified.
The Chairman of South Taieri Community Board Barry Williams is making a personal submission on the Dunedin City Council 2014/15 Draft Annual Plan to get bikes registered.
"I am going to privately put a submission in about the cycles so it won't lose its traction.''
Around the country as people settle down to their Easter Sunday breakfasts in peace and harmony someone has only to mention cyclists (if they’re a motorist) or motorists (if they’re a cyclist) to create enough tension to start WWIII.
If roads are for everyone and traffic laws are applied equitably then why should there be this tension?
The reasons, on both sides, are complex but it’s obviously an issue that merits further examination so these blogs will come back to it from time to time. For today I'll stick with the Dunedin councillor’s contention that cycles should be registered.
Much of the friction between motorists and cyclists comes from a perceived lack of equality before the law. In a nutshell, motorists pay the penalty of any traffic misdemeanours and cyclists don’t. This is because one can be identified, the other, unless caught red-handed, gets away scot free. This inherent injustice drives deep into the Anglo-Saxon sense of right and wrong. Flouting the rule of law is a step towards anarchy. So is the Dunedin Councillor right to start the ball rolling to beef up the law to take account of the reality of cycling in the modern era?
Bikes aren’t what they were that’s for sure. They are modern speed machines. They are versatile, grid-lock breakers that travel along urban roads at 40-70kph. The new generation of cylists see themselves as urban eco-warriors; the old generation of motorists sees them as GRUBBIES (green, rich, urban, biking, bullies).
One things for sure, if we want to diffuse the tension that spills from the breakfast table onto urban streets and vice versa then there needs to be a wider debate about cycling in the modern urban environment. Otherwise it’ll be WWIII out there, if it isn’t already.