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Online Discourses about Cycling

The next ANZCA 2017 speaker is Glen Fuller, who begins from a focus on cycling cultures. Cycling spans a number of research areas from transport and urban planning to cultural studies and health; there have been a series of national cycling strategies, which always aim to increase the number of people actively engaged in cycling, but these rarely achieve their lofty aims, and it is therefore necessary to further explore the reasons for the present stagnation.

Cycling has been cast as a form of politics, transport, business, leisure, environmental activism, and culture, and is seen both as a problem and a solution to current issues in the urban landscape. Across Australia, these perspectives are highly variable; attitudes towards cycling are a great deal more positive in the ACT than in NSW, for instance. This is partly because of a perception of the likelihood of close calls with motorists, which deter potential riders from cycling more.

Current systems of automobility are premised on contestation – around speed, rituals of courtesy, and a risk-based, 'road safety' discourse. This also takes in multiple discourses about risky cycling environments as well as risky cycling practices. Many such discourses are also highly masculinised, in essence accepting and normalising risk rather than seeking to mitigate it.

Crashes and near-misses are not increasingly captured by personal camera footage, tracking via Google Maps, and similar technological tools; in fact, there are some dedicated social media accounts that specifically traffic in such material. In the discussions around these accounts, vulnerability, is expressed in the footage itself, the framing of videos by sharers, and reflexive follow-on commentary about these close calls. There is also increasing visibility of cycling groups, especially in expressions of mass grieving in response to cyclists' deaths.