If you've been around the traps for a while observing the to-ing and fro-ing of cycling discourse you'll find two kinds of stories that never seem to die.
7 Apr 2015 - 11:32 PM  UPDATED 13 Apr 2015 - 3:37 PM

One is the hard to take seriously big media blowhard banging on about
Lycra louts on either the AM airwaves or in the pages of one of the big
city tabloids.

Stepping into the breach
yesterday for one of those yarns was failed shock jock Steve Price, who
threw the entire bag of hammers in his head at, wait for it, "Cycle

Now Internet lore has it that "given enough time, in any
online discussion, regardless of topic or scope, someone inevitably
criticises some point made in the discussion by comparing it to beliefs
held by Hitler and the Nazis".

But usually you have to wait until
the 20th comment or so below any article before someone decides to
compare some perceived outrage or other to Adolf and his jackbooted
acolytes, or mention Nazis.

Unfortunately for Price he Godwinned
himself before the caterpillar tracks of his brain gained any traction,
but that didn't stop our failed megaphone megalomaniac from dropping
all sorts of newly (to him) imagined bon mots.

"Melbourne isn't
Amsterdam and doesn't want to be," he thundered. "They (cyclists) don't
pay registration fees, are probably not city ratepayers, and add nothing
to the local city economy aside from buying coffee and those ludicrous
Lycra shorts," he asserted without proof.

The much-maligned
Middle Aged Men in Lycra (MAMiL's) also copped a spray of Price's
brainless buckshot. "Bike riding might be the new jogging and it has
become trendy as a way of exercise, especially for older, overweight men
who can't run and love Cadel Evans."

As if a desire to be a
healthy middle aged man who admires a truly gifted athlete and all round
nice guy, is a bad thing. This from a man who spends his weekends
singing the praises of those sporting role models plying their trade on
the fields of the National Rugby League (NRL).

Price closed his
thankfully paywalled diatribe, designed to stir the masses (white van
men and the over 60 crowd who listen to right-wing talkback) into open
revolt over the horrible fate that awaits Melbourne, with the only true
thing in his piece.

"It (cycling) will never be a mass transport
solution for Melbourne and should be funded accordingly." Which of
course it isn't, because it isn't.

The second never-ending story
is really more of a distraction to the main game of making cycling safe
and plentiful in Australia than it is a Pricean sledge at Melbourne's
cycling hordes.

Usually dissent on the issue of helmet
legislation comes from libertarian types and some cycling activists,
probably more disturbed by the sight of helmet head than reality, but
this time the source is a bit different, the Mayor of Fremantle Brad
Pettitt and Independent Fremantle MP Adele Carles.

The good mayor
and his sidekick want to give a two-year no-helmet trial in the West
Australian city a run in an attempt to boost cycling numbers. The
proposal will make helmets optional for adults riding on separated
cycleways, dual-use paths and roads with a speed limit of 50km/h or

This idea I like because it should clarify thinking about a wrongly perceived objection to riding a bicycle.

think a trial is a very good idea and anything that collects data on
cycling is good for future policies but the alliance will not be
formally campaigning to have the law lifted," said the somewhat
ironically named Bicycle Transport Alliance spokesperson Heinrich Benz.

helmet legislation may lead to increased cycle numbers but it is not
something we will be pushing. There are more important things we are
worried about. This topic is a bit of a red herring, it is a distraction
from the lack of spending on cycling infrastructure that Perth cyclists
desperately want and need."

A "red herring" it is because
bicycle sales in Australia remain strong at more than one million sold
each year, almost all of them with helmets. The buying public now know a
'skid lid' is part and parcel of riding a bike and are voting with
their wallets in vast numbers.

The real issue here is not fashion
but infrastructure, as Benz noted, "We need to invest money and time
into making roads safer for cyclists and look into things like more
cycle paths, safe passing distances and lower speed limits, above things
like helmet laws."

All things that ought to make Steve Price's head really explode.