Critical Antagonisms: Cycling and Territory

Gordon Waitt, Ian Buchanan, Glen Fuller, Tess Lea

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Slower speed limits and regulated passing distances between motor vehicles and bicycles are now taken-for-granted in policies aimed at increasing cycling participation rates by addressing safety concerns in societies dominated by cars. Rather than understanding distance as a measurement between two points, this paper addresses the sensibilities of proximity. This paper draws on the work of Deleuze and Guattari and the related concepts of assemblage, territory and critical distance, to better understand how subjectivities emerge through sensations of proximity-in-motion while riding a bike. Attention turns to how experiences of risk underpin an encroachment on personal space that transforms the affective capacities of cycling bodies to ride specific routes along roads, footpaths and cycleways. The article engages with the situated cycling experiences of 28 individuals who ride for leisure and/or transport, who consented to participate in a cycling sensory ethnography in the small city of Wollongong, Australia. Greater appreciation of how sensations of antagonism triggered by proximity-in-cycling-motion, work to reinforce or challenge subjectivities may offer insights to improve actual and perceived safety for cyclists beyond fixed distance policy concepts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)859-873
Number of pages15
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2 Nov 2021


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