by Carlton Reid
Tuesday, July 26th 2016 at 3:38PM BST
“Normally I would not condone guerrilla action,” said Dr. Karl Kennedy, “but the cyclists of Erinsborough – both old and young – deserve to be safe.”
This stirring message was broadcast live on social media, with Dr. Kennedy shown with a paint brush in hand as he and an accomplice striped a road in the Melbourne suburb of Erinsborough in protest at a lack of action on cycle safety from the local mayor.
That is, if Erinsborough existed. It doesn’t; it’s the fictional location for the Australian soap opera Neighbours. One of the current storylines is that Dr. Kennedy is campaigning for the creation of safe cycling infrastructure in Erinsborough following a hit-and-run incident on a child cyclist. Dr. Kennedy is played by Alan Fletcher, one of the programme’s longest-serving actors – he has had a fair amount of chamois-time in the show over the years but, to date, he has not been shown to be proactive on cycle safety.
After a “Bike lanes save lives” poster campaign failed to shift the stance of Mayor Sonya Rebecchi (played by Eve Morey, and who first appeared in the show in 2009, introduced by unstrapping a helmet and getting off a bicycle)
Dr. Kennedy felt he had to take the same sort of direct action that real-world cycle campaigners used in places such as Amsterdam and Montreal in the 1970s. (An Erinsborough die-in can’t be far behind.)