— TheAge Entertainment (@TheAgeEntertain) January 14, 2015
In Washington, D.C., the war between drivers and bicyclists — and between pedestrians and bicyclists — gets more heated by the year.
“I have to hand it to the bicyclists in the D.C. area,” Washington Post columnist Courtland Milloy, who later called for bikes to get their own roads, wrote last year. “They’ve got more nerve than an L.A. biker gang. And some can be just as nasty.” A more recent Post piece tried to get at bicyclists’ apparent disregard for on-the-road etiquette: “Let’s talk seriously about why cyclists break traffic laws.”
But Down Under, hating bicyclists isn’t just fodder for columnists — it’s entertainment for the masses. A recent episode of Australia’s version of “Family Feud” featured the question: “What is something annoying that a cyclist might do?”
The most popular answer: “Taking driving lane.” Runners-up: “Cut you off,” “run red light,” “pull out in front,” “ride slowly,” “ring bell” and “wear Lycra.” And the clincher: “Everything.”
Australian Cycle Alliance president Edward Hore took exception.
“Seriously, the hatred against cyclists has to stop,” he said, as the Age reported. “We are all someone’s mother, father, brother, sister, son, daughter … We all have family and everyone knows a cyclist.”
He added: “I don’t watch TV at all.”
“Family Feud’s” hostility toward bicyclists is perhaps explained by the fact that Australia, like the United States, is somewhat of a bike-free zone. In Sydney — Australia’s densest city where, presumably, bicycling would be easiest — just 1 percent of the population bikes daily, according to the Australian Bicycle Council. By comparison, even in relatively bike-friendly Washington, just 4.5 percent of residents commuted by bike in 2013 — and in the Netherlands, up to 70 percent of all trips are made on two wheels.
Some responses to the “Family Feud” imbroglio via Twitter:
#FamilyFeud you forgot some annoying things cyclists do: reduce congestion & carbon emissions and reduce public heath cost over lifetime
— LJ Kelly (@microwavelj) January 14, 2015
— Chris Aylmer (@almO_inc) January 14, 2015
— it wasn’t me (@sam_butler) January 14, 2015