Bikes vs. cars war kit
Bikes vs. Cars: the war continues (Design Pics/Getty Images)

Watch: Car Door Jams Australian Cyclist

Bike wars reach a head in Melbourne

Bikes vs. cars war kit

Riding to work on Monday morning, a cyclist going by the name of CD attempted to pass a line of cars rolling slowly down Collins Street, a busy thoroughfare in central Melbourne. For a while, CD had been running cameras on her helmet and handlebars during her commute; these stayed intact when she collided with with the opening door of a taxi, which was unloading passengers on the left side of the car.

“You just doored me,” she explains, sounding patient and unintimidated, while asking repeatedly, “Can I have your details?”

Even after being knocked over, her tone of voice stays the same. It’s almost boring, until you get to the part where the passengers refuse to cooperate, and the rider, pursuing them across the street, is called a “fool.” Jeff Hunter, a toy and sportswear importer who was among the taxi passengers involved, soon added, “The way people like you ride around is disgusting.”

A video (redistributed by the The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald) has added fuel to the chronic disagreements between motorists and cyclists in cities across the world. Many commenters have sided with the passengers:

“Guy did nothing wrong.” one person wrote. “How are you going to see someone coming up the inside as a rear passenger?”

“It’s pretty simple really,” another commenter wrote in agreement. “If it was a bike lane then she had every right to play the victim card, and if it wasn’t a bike lane then she illegally undertook a motor vehicle and was served with a nice reality check.”

In its 2012-2013 budget report, Melbourne city council allotted A$5.6 million for its bike lane network throughout the city. While the act of “dooring” is an explicit offense in Melbourne, it might be harder to establish fault, given the fact that the cyclist, who prefers to be known simply as CD, was riding in a “cycling refuge” rather than a designated bike lane. Collins Street, despite being a frequent site of dooring collisions, is unlikely to benefit from the upcoming bike lane budget, in part because it is so narrow to begin with.

Although a leader of the local Green party contended that Hunter should be charged, CD has said she doesn’t blame the taxi passengers. Hunter, for his part, has since turned himself in to police.

From Outside Magazine, April/May 2021
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Lead Photo: Design Pics/Getty Images