Cycling in Sydney Australia
So there I was riding along a quiet street in Summer Hill on my way home when a car pulled out from a side street in front of me even though the driver was looking straight at me and there were other cars on the road. Given that today hasn't been the best day for me on my bike I notched it up as just another bad driver. However, this encounter was different.
I thought it was a bit strange that this driver stopped at the intersection even though the road was clear. He was to the left of the road but he had his right indicator on. When I pulled up beside him he wound down the window and shouted in this amazingly angry voice. His exact words to me were:
I hope you get packed raped by Middle Eastern Muslim men, ya f***kin' dyke. I hope you get hit by a truck and you get killed, a f***kin' c...'.
The absolute hatred in his voice and what he said not only stopped me in my tracks but also several passer-bys. Thanks to the man who stopped to check that I was ok.
Oh well, another day on the bike.
I was thinking about this some more over the last couple of days, and just an observation, but one that makes me both sad and angry is the way both our police and society treat this kind of behaviour. If this situation had occurred a couple of metres to the left - that is to say if you and Mr Irrationalhead had been on the footpath, I suspect the police would be much more inclined to take action. But for some reason when these threats and insults are made from inside a metal box suspended on rubber, for some reason they're not the same. So what's the difference?
Certainly if I walked in to a police station and yelled "I hope you get..." at an office I suspect their colleagues might be inclined to take me through to an "interview" room for a "quiet chat".
To my point - if you'd been in the same vehicle rather than on separate ones, perhaps a jail sentence might be an option?
Soon that type of language would land a person a $500 fine. Although I'm not sure if it would only apply to the CBD.
There is already a law against that type of language and the maximum penalty is a$600 fine or 100 hours community circus of course to get the ticket for the offence he would have had to have either committed the offence in front of a police officer or (more likely) comitted the offence against a police officer. I get the feeling that if Kim got the rego number and witness statements and went to the police she would have been told to ring the police assistance line or go away we are busy. In my opinion it is hard to get this guy on the charge of swearing alone. Should he defend the charge he may join the legion of people who have got off the charge using defences such as the words they used are in the bible. The defence may claim that the words are of low impact as swearing has become so commonplace no one should be offended by it.
The vilification in "I hope you get packed raped by Middle Eastern Muslim men, ya f***kin' dyke. I hope you get hit by a truck and you get killed", is a different case. According to this blurb from the NSW anti-discrimination board the motorist in this case vilified Kim and she may be entitled to substantial compensation. Of course this will bring out the morons of the free speech brigade who will claim that everyone has the right to say what ever they want no matter how threatening or offensive it may be.
Regarding the particular increase in aggression simply because one is on a bicycle, this little missive from Bike Hacks the other day is relevant:
I enjoyed that Disney cartoon in the article - it is still so relevant yet made in 1950! How little has changed. Perhaps TfNSW should just run it for its long promised campaign? :)
Glad you are okay - what a disgrace... this is just terrible and if it weren't for the many other stories I have heard and those I have witnessed I would be in disbelief that such things happen as often as they do. Making such behaviour unacceptable is what we must hope and strive for.
I too have considered the link to what we are dealing with in other parts of society (in the military, on our streets) and wonder if there is indeed a link to something broader going on. Perhaps some of our leaders need to ask the broader question and denounce the acceptability of all of this aggression and pronounce it un-Australian? Then we can nominate these jerks for the un-Australian of the year award...
"Then we can nominate these jerks scum for the un-Australian of the year award."
I am surprised we haven't had awards along the lines of the Ernie awards like the women who organise the Ernies we may fear that no one will say bad things about cyclists but we will never be disappointed.