Australian MP suggests using Strava data to “track and take action against” speeding cyclists

Big brother is watching you

In an age of alternate facts and with the revelation that the CIA knows that I’ve watched Sharknado: The 4th Awakens from hacking my smart TV, it seems society is getting more Orwellian by the minute.

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And now, according to the Canberra Times, Australian MP Mark Parton is suggesting the Government “track and take action” against speeding cyclists based on their Strava data — Big Brother is watching you.

The MP may end up with a fine because according to his own Strava data he too is guilty of exceeding speed limits

The newspaper’s report says Parton suggested to parliament that Strava data could be useful for policing cycling speed limits, specifically in areas where a low speed limit is posted.

The issue of cycling speed limits was first brought up by ACT (Australian Capital Territory) Transport Minister Meegan Fitzharris in relation to cycling speeds in the suburb of Belconnen. According to the Canberra Times Fitzharris said: “A lot of older people live in the Belconnen town centre and want to be able to walk safely, but when someone whizzes past wearing lycra on a bike really fast they can find it really intimidating and feel unsafe.”

Think twice about chasing that Strava Segment, Big Brother is watching you
Think twice about chasing that Strava Segment, Big Brother is watching you
Courtesy (BikeRadar edit)

In response, Parton said: “”Every hard-core cyclist is on Strava. They have a digital record that’s public as to how fast they’re travelling and specifically where they’ve done it… If you were getting to the point where you’re trying to crack down on cyclists you believe are riding in excessive speeds in those areas, it’s like people get prosecuted for posting something on YouTube, the data is actually available for most cyclists as to exactly how fast they’ve gone and exactly where they’ve done it,”

Fitzharris when on to say that the Government would launch an app to collect GPS data about walking and cycling, including speed.

Paton is an avid cyclist himself so should the ACT Government follow his suggestion, the MP may end up with a fine because according to his own Strava data he too is guilty of exceeding speed limits.

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The trouble with all this is that GPS data isn’t totally reliable. We’ve all had anomalies where our GPS device has read that you’re riding 201kph / 125mph or your route on Strava shows that you rode directly through the living room of your neighbour’s house.