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CeMoRe 'live' - Pedalling hatred: bicycling politics and the vox populi

Date: 26 July 2010 Time: 12.00noon to 1.00pm

Venue: Video Conference suite, C-floor, Lancaster University Library

Adrian Emilsen, Sustainable Transport Officer, Macquarie University, Australia

The renewed popularity of cycling within Australian cities has generated significant media attention and public debate over the last decade. While media reporting commonly draws attention to the transport, health, and environmental benefits of cycling, news coverage on events involving conflict between cyclists and automotive traffic has been far less accommodating. This paper considers the case of one such event involving a 'hit-and-run' driver and a group of training cyclists in Sydney during May 2008. Despite the group of cyclists being the victims of an unprovoked 'road rage' attack, popular opinion and media interpretations of the events were highly skewed. Many attributed responsibility for road rage onto the group of cyclists for provocatively 'claiming' roadspace, while others championed the actions of the 'hit-and-run' driver as 'doing motorists a favour'. Subsequent debate on talk back radio and online news forums uncovered a wellspring of deep-seated resentment against cyclists including support for automotive vigilantism and revanchist desires to regulate and exclude cyclists from roadspace. While such voices can easily be dismissed as reactionary or unenlightened, they are symptomatic of everyday antagonisms that face persons riding bicycles within auto-centric societies. Drawing from both critical geography and psychoanalytic theory, this paper proposes a number of explanations as to why such antagonisms proliferate on the roads and within public discourse.

This is a virtual presentation, live from Sydney, Australia. Adrian's lecture is in advance of the Bicycle Politics Workshop, hosted by CeMoRe (Centre for Mobilities Research) taking place in the Institute for Advanced Studies on 16th and 17th September 2010. See here:

For more details of the talk or workshop, please contact Dave Horton, or Aurora Trujillo,


Who can attend: Anyone


Further information

Associated staff: Dave Horton

Organising departments and research centres: Centre for Mobilities Research (CeMoRe), Lancaster Environment Centre LEC, Sociology


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Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Lancaster University
Lancaster LA1 4YD
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