Cyclist passes 589 cars on way to work

"War on our roads. Auto versus cyclists, the new front line on Australian roads. Depending on which side you're on ..."

So began a report on last week's . Fuelled by confronting footage of cars colliding with cyclists, the promos had preceded the shows for days.

Good news cycling stories are everywhere – and they'll often catch you by surprise.

And just to get the pulses racing, there was a clip of radio announcer Derryn Hinch encapsulating his view of cyclists: "Cockroaches on wheels."

Like any good promo, it sucked you in. But what followed was, in the main, a sensible, reasoned plea for more calm and consideration on our roads. To reinforce this message, the program highlighted what can happen when things go wrong, focusing on two women who had sustained awful injuries through the actions of careless motorists.

But surely this is not a "war"? What kind of a war is it when one side has weapons of massive destruction, and the other side is unarmed and defenceless? Or when the casualties are entirely on one side?

And most of all – why do we have to choose a side? Almost all the cyclists I know are motorists, too. Are they fifth columnists when behind the steering column?

In a bid to represent the "other side", .

He tried to clarify that he didn't mind recreational cyclists, but felt all cyclists should be banned from city centres (at a time when many cities are limiting the number of cars entering CBDs while encouraging cyclists).

Meanwhile, Skaife rolled out the , suggesting this was "the way for motorists to take [cyclists] seriously". A simple shift in mental attitude would be wiser, cheaper and easier.

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For all its good intentions, I wonder whether many saw the underlying message as: "Cycling is terribly dangerous, and people in cars have no regard for you." Not to mention the many who would have been cheerfully agreeing with Hinch.

I'm not saying we should ignore the problems on our roads. It's just that we surely don't see enough reports about the everyday joys and lasting benefits that people get from riding bikes.

There's a YouTube video I've watched countless times that neatly counters the fallacy that "bicycles hold up traffic" – a little gem called

Last week I tracked down its creator, Tim Goldby of . He'd filmed his commute from the Melbourne suburb of Essendon to the CBD. By adding up the cars he overtook – and subtracting the ones passing him – he shows himself beating 589 vehicles into the city.

Every time I watch that video, I think of how much better it would be for all concerned – including the jammed motorists - if there were more bikes travelling with him.

A as he powered along Sunnyholt Road near Sydney's Blacktown. It's a road relentlessly crosshatched by traffic lights, with motorists sometimes unable to get rolling when the lights turn green - there's nowhere to go.

Good news cycling stories are everywhere – and they'll often catch you by surprise.

I was on my way to work recently when I noticed a familiar ponytail sticking out of a bicycle helmet in front of me. It belonged to a colleague I've known for years. I had no idea she rides to work, and while chatting to her later, I realised she didn't see herself as a "cyclist". She just rides a bike to work because it's quick, cheap and keeps her energised and healthy.

The Sunday Night report included a mention that "cyclist are more than twice as likely to die in Australia as in the UK, where they have three times more cars ... and 10 times more cyclists".

I'm not sure where they got that statistic from, but the basic logic rings true. It's unlikely we will ever have fatality-free roads, but the more cyclists there are, the safer it gets.

If you ride a bike, keep spreading a positive message, to the benefit of all.

Do you have a good news story about cycling? Do you find it fastest to commute by bicycle?

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