Harold pops up in the press from time to time by releasing very annoying media statements. His latest wheeze has been to join up with the ambulance chasing firm of Slater and Gordon in an effort to have bike speeds reduced to 10km/h in shared zones.
Harold, please don't sue me for saying this, but when you say things like that, I start to think that you're a twat. 10 km/h? Are you inhabiting the same planet as moi?
I used to jog faster than 10 km/h. Not a lot faster, but faster. When I was a chocko, we had to pass a regular fitness test, and one part of that was doing a 5km run in less than 26 minutes. I always passed it, coming in around the 20-something minute mark, which meant I could amble along at a steady 12-14 km/h. The Hof, who was a tall, thin streak of pelican shit, usually managed to do it in 15 minutes - meaning he was cracking along at a marathon pace of 20 km/h. I did a few runs with him before he left for ADFA - he made me vomit every time. He didn't just run that fast during the fitness tests - he ran that fast all the time.
So what would you do with the Hof, Harold? Sue him for running too fast? Fine him? Where are you going to find a Ranger that could run him down and issue him a ticket? For surely being hit by a jogger doing 20km/h is as bad as getting clocked by a cyclist doing 20km/h?
Hell, people get injured in supermarkets by being hit by shopping trolleys being pushed by grannies who can barely put one foot in front of the other. Life is not without risk!
Besides, what do you think people are doing when they are riding their bikes? I'll tell you what they are doing - most of them are trying to get somewhere in particular (like work), so they want to be getting their as quickly as possible (within reason), or they are trying to get fit or lose weight (which means they have to be cracking along at a reasonable pace in order to burn some callories). Slugging along at 10km/h is not going to get you to work by starting time, and it certainly won't get you anywhere near a spot on the Biggest Loser.
COUNCILS have exposed themselves to massive damages claims from people injured while using shared bike and pedestrians paths, according to the Australian Pedestrian Council.
Massive damages? For getting hit by a bike? Mate, I got hit by a car, and the driver was judged at fault. I got a payout, but I wouldn't call it "massive". Getting hit by a bike can certainly hurt and cause an injury, but frankly I'm more worried about cyclists getting hit by cars, trucks and buses than pedestrians by bikes.
Far more cyclists get hit by cars that pedestrians by cyclists. I'd prefer that our limited budgets were spent on the areas of highest risk and impact (the interaction of cars and bikes), rather than areas of low risk and impact (the interaction of bikes and pedestrians). A million dollars spent on separating bikes from cars will have a much higher payback in terms of fewer injuries and so on than a million bucks spent on separating bikes from pedestrians.
Council chairman Harold Scruby said shared bike paths, such as the Glebe foreshore, were a “farce”.
I'm not fond of shared paths by any means, but I wouldn't call them a farce. Paths like that are generally 100% funded by local councils, who don't have bottomless pockets. They build what they can, given their limited finances and competing demands. I'm realistic enough to realise that most residents don't want to pay higher rates in order to deliver some utopian pedestrianist/cyclist fantasy of fully separated bike paths. There is no magic pudding that is going to pay for all of this.
He said the paths, which had no bike speed limits, could lead to death or serious injury and should be abolished immediately.
Abolished? How do we abolish them? Send in Scoop to dig them up? Should we dynamite the paths? Blast them from space with lasers? Send in a legion of mutant killer badgers to shred them?
Seriously, could lead to death or serious injury? Just about anything could lead to death or serious injury. Mum used to tell me to take the teaspoon out of my cup before drinking my milo in case I poked my eye out. That would be an injury. I could also sneeze whilst having a drink and drive the spoon handle through my eye and into my brain, causing death by milo. Should we ban the drinking of milo because it could lead to death or serious injury?
How many pedestrians get killed by cyclists each year in the whole country? One? Zero? How many cyclists get killed by pedestrians? Zero, zero or zero?
As for serious injury, how many end up that way from bike-pedestrian collisions? A few dozen across the whole country? Are we to ban something else because of a few broken arms and abrasions each year when one person goes left and the other goes right and they get tangled up?
Mr Scruby’s claim was supported by legal advice from leading Sydney law firm Slater & Gordon, which also said the RTA could be sued as it was part of the cycleway approval process.
I'll believe such advice when it has been tested by the courts. Until then, it's just a bunch of ambulance chasing leeches trying to drum up some publicity for their firm.
Even if they do get sued, so what? Let's say the RTA has to pay out $1 million per year in damages, out of a budget of billions. Do I care? No. I think that is a small price to pay so that I, and thousands and thousands of others, can quietly enjoy a magnificent past time. Here's news Harold - the price is worth it.
And Harold, as I said earlier, Councils have limited funds. Do you really think that suing them, and taking money away from them in legal fees (and possibly damages) is the best idea? Because if councils have to piss money away on lawyers, they're going to have less money for properly separated bike paths. Think on that.
The idea Harold seems to dislike was voiced here:
A City of Sydney spokesman said shared zones were the only option on many streets that were not wide enough for a separate bike path. When pedestrians use shared paths they “need to modify their behaviour” for cyclists while bike riders must slow down and give way to pedestrians, he said.
Pedestrians have to modify their behaviour? Quell horror!!! Pedestrians are sacred cows. They have an absolute right to walk anywhere they like in the stupidest manner thinkable and without regard for anyone else, be they a fellow pedestrian or a cyclist, and Harold will defend that right to the last cent of his latest government grant.
Try googling "pedestrian council of australia limited"
ASIC tells us that its an Australian Public Company, but little else. If you really want to, you can pay to get a copy of their latest financial reports here.
I found this telling comment here:
There are eight members of Harold's Pedestrian Council of Australia - whilst the name says its a Council, its a limited company by guarantee - almost gets charitable status. You can become a supporter and donate funds but interestingly you can only become a member if invited by the directors. And guess who is the CEO/Chairman of the board. If you feel really shitty about this amazingly large representation of all the pedestrian movements (sic) I suggest writing, emailing and generally pestering ASIC about allowing the use of the word "Council" when its really misleading.
When I hear the word "council", it makes me think of our local city council. How do you get on our local council? You stand for election, that's how. If the electorate likes you, you get elected. Every three years, you repeat the process. To me, that's a council - a democratically elected group that represents their members.
The President of a footy club has legitmacy because he has been elected by the membership (who pay for the privilege of being members). Same with a bowls club, and an RSL, and even a CWA branch.
I've voted in Union elections, I've voted as a shareholder in various companies, I've voted to elect the board of my health fund, I voted in the recent Bicycle NSW board elections and I voted in the last NRMA election. I can vote for lots of things, but I can't stand and vote for myself as a member of the board of the Pedestrian Council of Australia Limited.
As far as I am concerned, if you can't vote for the officials of a group like the Pedestrian Council of Australia Limited, then they represent no one but themselves. They have zero legitimacy, and should be treated as such.
So do us a favour Harold, and shut your pie hole.