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(en) Australia, Melbourne, Media, Anarchist Bikes Choke Tunnel

From Dan Clore <clore@columbia-center.org>
Date Sat, 28 Jun 2003 15:35:11 +0200 (CEST)

A - I N F O S N E W S S E R V I C E

ABOUT 500 cycling activists disrupted city traffic last
night when they took over the Burnley Tunnel. Peak-hour
traffic backed up for several blocks when the eastbound
tunnel was closed for 45 minutes from 6.30pm.

The cyclists were protesting against a lack of government
funding for bicycle safety and awareness.

Police said the protest caused only a minor disruption and
they were happy with the conduct of the protesters and, in
particular, with the reaction of inconvenienced motorists.

The cyclists, led by protest group Critical Mass, cheered,
whistled and lifted their bikes to the air triumphantly
after pedalling up the steep hill at the end of the tunnel.

The ragtag group included the young and old, dogs in sleds
and men driving aero-dynamic velo-mobiles.

Activist Greg Dickson, 28, said the protesters fell into two
groups -- environmentalists and bicycle safety advocates.
The architect said he took part because he had been injured
several times while commuting to and from work.

"We really need bike lanes on major roads," he said. "Many
people don't realise how dangerous our roads are for
cyclists. I've had three or four bad accidents when
motorists cut in front of me."

The protest began when cyclists assembled outside the State
Library about 5.30pm, some in lycra cycling wear, the more
alternative with dreadlocks, middle-aged couples riding
together and even some in costume.

Several had stereos attached to the backs of their bikes,
one blaring out Beatles classics as they travelled down
Swanston St.

Simon Stainey addressed the crowd before they set off.

"We are happy to be exercising and happy to be making our
way to work and study on bicycles," said Mr Stainey.

He was quick to point out he was not an event organiser, as
Critical Mass is an anarchist movement -- an "un-organised
coincidence" rather than an organisation, according to some

Many of those riding, like Graham McGilvray, were first-time
Critical Mass attendees.

"We are here to get as many cars out of the city as
possible, and to highlight the need for more bike paths," Mr
Gilvray said. He would like to see a bike path along the
whole of CityLink and over the Westgate Bridge.

This report appears on news.com.au.

Dan Clore

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