WarnieGate – Second Innings

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You might remember a couple weeks back when Shane Warne ran into a someone’s bike after tweeting his disdain towards cyclists. Warnie quickly got on the front foot and made statements to the media about his version of what happened. Soon after the cyclist sent me a letter stating his side of the story. Mat Hollingsworth has now revealed his identity and launched a civil lawsuit against Shane Warne.

While all of this was going on I got in touch with my friends from SRAM to see if they could do anything to get Mat back on the road. I could tell from the photos that it was a cyclocross bike (the media reports say it’s a “hi-tech bike”) and it wouldn’t be a big deal to get him a new derailleur and wheels. They were more than happy to help out. SRAM dropped off the Apex derailleur and S30 wheels and on Sunday I delivered them to Mat who gave me a couple bottles of his homemade ale as a gesture of his appreciation (I assume that Mat got his bike fixed before he had received these parts from SRAM). I had meant to pass these onto SRAM guys but I got a little thirsty during the Nadal and Djokovic match. Sorry fellas…

This morning I read about Mat’s a civil lawsuit against Shane Warne for the $1575 repair bill on his “hi-tech bike” plus damages, interest and costs. A minor incident like this wouldn’t be something the police would normally get involved with but Shane Warne has a massive amount of influence over a certain population who seem to have taken it upon themselves to make our roads more dangerous. The police are doing absolutely nothing about Warnie’s irresponsible behaviour and will not press any charges. Mat tells me that it’s not about the money, it’s about the principle of the matter and he’s standing up for cyclist’s rights on the road. Civil action is Mat’s only recourse to make Warnie admit that what he did was wrong and face up to his social responsibility as a public figure.

The day after Warnie began his rants I noticed a distinct difference with many motorist’s behaviour towards cyclists on the roads. I first noticed it when myself and a mate were out riding in the Dandenongs like we normally do on a Saturday morning, however this time we were constantly abused and had half a dozen near misses. I was ready to walk my bike home on the footpath. In seven years of riding in Melbourne I’ve only had a few of incidents like this. Over the past couple weeks countless other cyclists have describe this same type of behaviour from Warnie’s disciples.

I don’t know Shane Warne but I do know that he hasn’t learned to connect his brain to his fingers before sending out tweets to over 644,000 people. I had to laugh when I saw this twitter exchange between Warnie and a parody QantasPR account beginning with:

@QantasPR: “We’ve left @warne888 stranded in Perth. Melbourne cyclists, it’s now safe to ride on the streets”

@warne888 proceeds to tear into Qantas…

Twitter exchange between a QantasPR parody account and Warnie. (the twitter stream has been slightly modified to depict the exchange that took place).

Even though we all wish this cyclist vs car debate would go away, I wish Mat all the best in getting Shane Warne to face up to his actions and reiterate our rights on the road in the mainstream press. The last thing we need is one of Australia’s role models setting this type of example. In the mean time I look forward to following Warnie’s comical tweets about this and many other escapades.

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