Audax Australia
This is the umbrella organisation running long distance cycling events in Australia Their website includes a calendar of events.

A place where cyclist can keep track of their mileage and any number of other statistics, as well as an attached forum.

A set of discussion forums covering almost every conceivable cycling related topic.

Cycling Adventurer
The Cycling Adventurer has tossed in the structured life of an urbanite to explore the world by bicycle. A well-written site detailing how he came to cycling, and what he learned along the way.

Crazy Guy on a Bike

Bicycle touring journals from all over the world, including a couple of my own.

Johns Cycles

This is my LBS on the Gold Coast. While they cater more to the racing market, their service, advice and workmanship is the best on the coast.

St Kilda Cycles

Importers of all manner of things hard to find in Australia, including the legendary Schmidt hub dynamo & E6 lights.


Wonderings and wanderings out and about in Portland, Oregon, US

The Journey
The journey begins in Perth, Western Australia.

Lance Notstrong
The "other" Lance!

Ms Mittens
The Wired Cat on-line

Iron Gambit

Aussie Writer and Cycletourist
A blog chronicling the writing and cycling of a seaside baby boomer.

Up in Alaska
Jill's subarctic journal about ice, bears and distant dreams of the midnight sun.

The Kin Chronicles
Taking mediocrity to a new level of ordinary.

Riding and running with a vengeance.

London Cycling Diary
Pedalling across the capital since August 2005.

CouchPilot-2-BikePilot (Zin's cycling blog)
Living an adventurous life with Type-2-Diabetes.

The adventures of Crazy Biker Chick
... Including cycling, adventuring, cooking, knitting and ranting.

Redneck Espanol
The two wheeled Spanish redneck.

Treadly and me
"Work is something I do between riding my bicycle".

Womanist philosophy and theology. Cycling, climbing, art, single-motherhood and fire-twirling.

Adrian Fitch's random rambling.
A bit about cycling, a bit about genealogy, a bit about radio but mostly a lot about nothing at all.

Geo's big adventure
The life and times of Geo.

It's about the bike
Musings on the cycling life.

Various cycling tidbits.

Industry Outsider
A blog about bikes and stuff.

Tweed Coast Treadly
An old man's bicycle riding diary.

A cyclist's life in Tenerife
(Canary Islands).

Bike to work to live to bike
It's never too late to get back on the bike

Stupid Hurts
Just the random scribblings of a guy with a bicycle

I'm not drunk enough for this
Really, I'm not.

What can I say? Just read it.

Mozam's cycling adventures
A random collection of the things I like to do most, and mostly that is to ride my bikes, bicycles that is... My musings from competitive riding, long distance endurance to puttering around the neighborhood..

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Monday, March 26, 2007

Why "education" just doesn't work

Recently on the bikejournal forum there has been a discussion about hit and run assaults. This has, of course, been followed by the usual calls for "driver education" in an attempt to do something about it. If I could just take a moment, I'd remind the chaps in that post that similar schemes have been tried in the past. There is a reason the national road toll keeps rising despite all the money being spent on supposedly "educating" people (and that's without considering all the money spent on "road improvements" every year for the same reason).

The problem with education is that without some serious law enforcement to back it up, it just doesn't work. I've seen it tried in this part of the world for years, without having any effect at all. There are two problems. Firstly, selecting a medium that might actually be effective, and secondly, most people will just think it's the message is aimed at "everyone else".

Here in Queensland they tried running "share the road" advertisements on television some years ago -- a response to a relatively large number of hit and run assaults on the Gold Coast for a city of only 500,000. Television seems to be considered the only "acceptable" way to educate people these days. The problem, of course, is that the cost of it meant that we ended up with a 30-second slot that only aired sporadically. I'm fairly certain that most people just blocked it out along with all the other advertising that we're bombarded with day after day. In fact, I'd suggest that if you asked anyone (apart from a few cyclists) to remember the content of the advertisements (or even that they aired at all) six weeks later, I'd say most people couldn't.

Secondly, 90% of drivers seem to have this idea that they are somehow "above average" while everyone else on the road is a menace. Consequently, if someone does see an ad on the television, or a slogan on the invoice telling them that their rego fees are due, they'll probably just assume that it's aimed at "all those other hopeless drivers", and that they themselves can just ignore it. This seems to explain why "education" seems to be such a popular "solution" in political circles -- they can be seen to be "dealing with the problem" without actually upsetting anybody.

If anyone is serious about solving the problem, pass a law that makes any hit and run offence an automatic 30 year prison sentence -- with the only involvement from a judge or jury in each case being to ensure that the suspect is actually guilty. ENSURE THAT THERE IS NO POSSIBILITY OF A REDUCED SENTENCE FOR A HIT AND RUN DRIVER UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. The shock jocks in the media will likely create a heap of hysteria in response, which will be a far more effective (and much cheaper) educational tool than any diplomatically worded advertisement, and I guarantee that after two sentences have been handed out, the number of hit and runs will decrease dramatically.

Education doesn't work. It just gives people the option of blaming someone else, and the government a way to be seen to be attacking a problem without actually doing anything about it (or losing any votes a long the way). The only way to reduce the road toll is to start holding people accountable for their actions, and that requires law enforcement. Unfortunately, the prospect of this ever happening is somewhat remote as there don't seem to be any votes in road safety these days, but I suppose that's just "democracy" in action.


Blogger Treadly&Me said...

What you're talking about there is the self-serving bias. And yes, there have been studies done which show that it's mathematically impossible for everyone who thinks they're an above-average driver to actually be an above-average driver.

And the upshot is exactly as you say: everyone thinks that everyone else is the problem, which doesn't really make an individual receptive to educational messages.

I'm most definitely with you on hit-and-run, and if I may indulge in a little self-quotation: "Holding a driver's license is not a right, it's a privilege—and like most privileges it carries with it certain responsibilities. And if someone demonstrates that they are not capable of fulfilling those responsibilities—say, by failing to render assistance after a crash—they should have their driving privileges removed. Permanently."

Failing to stop at a collision scene should be treated as the serious crime that it is, not a minor traffic infringement: offenders should go to jail.

4:16 pm  
Blogger Chris L said...

I don't doubt for one second that self-serving bias is an issue. However, realistically it's an issue that's been around for a million years, and one that isn't going to go away anytime soon.

Policy makers therefore need to be aware of this, and adjust their message and/or their whole approach accordingly. In short, if self-serving bias prevents people from being receptive to educational messages, it's time to move on to another approach to which people will be far more receptive. I understand fines and prison sentences are fairly effective in this regard.

1:49 pm  
Blogger Jai Normosone said...

I quite like the idea of everything you say and I might add that automatic loss of the vehicle with it to be sold at auction and proceeds to go to a Victims Of Crime association (and if there are monies owed on it, it will proceed exactly as per normal and no "hardship" plea can be entertained).

I doubt this will ever happen though while the country is full of meathead magistrates who want to be pseudo-social-workers rather than upholding the law and the rights of victims.

1:08 pm  
Blogger Chris L said...

I quite like your idea of auctioning off offending vehicles and donating the proceeds to the victims. I agree that it's unlikely to ever happen, but we can dream!

7:55 pm  

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