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Did Australian police call cyclists 'cockroaches'? Facebook row erupts

Cyclists who posted complaints about truck passing too close subject to abuse from five people alleged to be police officers

Police in Australia have been accused of calling cyclists "cockroaches" in an online row in which a cycle advocacy group alleges up to five officers posted inappropriate personal views on Facebook. invited comments on its Facebook page about a truck driver who appeared to have breached the one-metre passing laws when overtaking a cyclist.

The group’s president Edward Hore has claimed five Queensland police officers responded, one saying: "Riding bikes on the road is not a 'right', it's stupid.”

Another, said to be a Senior Sergeant, allegedly said: “Cockroaches on wheels. Should have to pay rego, insurance and adhere to road rules and single file only."

Mr Hore has complained to the Crime and Corruption Commission about the comments.

"This is a disgusting example of police overstepping their role," he told the Brisbane Times.

"If these police had made derogatory comments about a particular religious group or racial group then they would would face disciplinary action. This should be no different.

"How can cyclists have confidence in police, when they are calling cyclists to cockroaches?

"We have always felt that there was contempt for cyclists among police ... but this goes to show that it does really exist and that it's wider than we first thought."

Commissioner Ian Stewart took to Twitter to address the concerns of cyclists who brought the incident to his attention. He said: "All road users need 2 take their role in road safety seriously.

"Work with us to enhance the relationship with all cyclists & road users. Safer roads 4 all is our goal ...

"We try hard every day but we are not perfect. Our intent is continuous improvement!"

A spokesman for Police Minister Jack Dempsey said: "The Queensland Police Service has a social media code of conduct, which we expect officers to adhere to and if there are any complaints they will be fully investigated," the spokesman said.

The policy states: "At all times when using online social media platforms, QPS employees must take responsibility to ensure their personal opinions and/or views are not at risk of being misconstrued or misinterpreted as QPS policy or otherwise sanctioned by the QPS.

"It is recommended QPS members do not identify their employment status online or comment on Service policy, however, the QPS requires employees to act responsibly and be fully cognisant of the personal and professional risks involved in doing so."

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Iamnot Wiggins | 9 years ago

Anybody in a position of power who replaces words with numbers can't be taken seriously!

kie7077 | 9 years ago

Police minister translated:

We have rules, we'd like our police to follow those rules so we don't have to waste our time talking to you about it.

We didn't say they could say what they said but we're not denying that it's what we think.

They shouldn't say they are police when being dickheads, that way they can continue to say shit about cyclists without getting caught.

We are not apologising anyway because we don't disagree with what they said and we don't give a fuck about cyclists.

severs1966 | 9 years ago

Australia is not the only country where the police are largely anti-cycling (and anti-anyone who rides a bike); it's true here too. However, most are not stupid enough to declare the fact to the world.

portec replied to severs1966 | 9 years ago
severs1966 wrote:

Australia is not the only country where the police are largely anti-cycling (and anti-anyone who rides a bike); it's true here too. However, most are not stupid enough to declare the fact to the world.

A very significant proportion of the Australian population - much more than here - would agree the sentiments the cops expressed, so the cops are quite safe saying this kind of thing in Australia. And Queensland is like the Alabama of Australia.

Hugor | 9 years ago

The police will take almost anyone in Australia. Its not a competitive profession. In my class at school 5 joined the police force. 2 were the class bullies whilst the other 3 were general trouble makers but lacked the physique to push people around. None of them were intelligent, popular or high achievers in any capacity.
Anybody who was, had sufficient grades and motivation to go to university or learn a trade. The rest join the military, police force or unemployment list.

These comments do not surprise me.

tritecommentbot | 9 years ago

Classy stuff.

bendertherobot | 9 years ago

That's a shocking response. It's "You're," not "Your."


Housecathst | 9 years ago

I had a similar story for you regarding a driving instructor from Bristol making death threats to cyclists on Facebook from last week. But seeing as you guys seam to have no easy way to contact you I've passed all the details to Peter Walker at the gaurdian.

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