Yes, it happened again. Again, when I was stationary. Festooned in hi-viz and flashing lights. A car drove into me – a sort of low-speed crunching as my bicycle was devoured by the front of his gas-guzzling SUV. Thankfully the driver stopped before he got to me, leaving my bike jammed under his car, my saddle (where I was sitting) hard up against his bonnet.

It is getting worse out there. Drivers are increasingly distracted. Mobile phone use is endemic, and rarely properly policed. Most modern cars now feature touch-screens that take drivers attention away from the road for ten or twenty seconds at a time as they prod at it to change the radio or operate the sat nav.

Against this near-universal back drop, in Sydney it is further stoked by the increasing aggression shown by drivers towards cyclists. This is rooted in the aggressively anti-cycling stance of the state government, coupled with heavy handed anti-cycling policing, all capped with a broadly anti-cycling safety ‘industry’ that seeks to blame cyclists for the increasing road toll and a populist media near universally playing the ‘law-breaking cyclist’ and ‘war on the roads’ angles constantly.

I am now at a point, sad to say, where I would not recommend to anyone they cycle in Sydney. I used to encourage my colleagues to cycle to work. I no longer do that. The environment is so hostile that I can’t recommend it. This, of course, makes me very sad, and also very angry. The sheer stupidity and short-sightedness of our policy makers and media is breathtaking. In the latest NSW budget, there are zero dollars for cycling, and all mentions of cycling targets or programs have been expunged from the Transport for NSW website. Pretty much all that remains are pages telling cyclists to wear helmets and ‘share the road’.

Well, I was sharing the road the other day. It just seems others don’t want to share it with me.


PS The police, predictably, refused to take a statement or follow up the incident, even when given the video footage. Too busy policing deserted stop signs, perhaps.

Views: 437

Comment by Bill Parker on July 27, 2018 at 11:23am

I would bypass the uninterested lesser ranks and go directly to the commissioner and ask him how many more memorials he wants to open

Comment by Andrew Taafe on July 27, 2018 at 1:40pm

Glad you are seemingly okay, if shaken.

Do we need to start launching private prosecutions, given the lack of police interest in actually policing.

Comment by Jonathon Troy on July 28, 2018 at 1:12pm

Dan it is important you do not stop cycling. That is what the Alan Jones's, Harold Scruby's, Angela Vithoulkas' and Duncan Gay's want. Channel your anger into doing something about it - keep chasing the cops - don't stop until someone does something, contribute financially to campaigns by the Greens or Reason - get sympathetic media coverage on this issue - the SMH or the Guardian can be useful. Get BNSW on to this - I am wondering if the devil AKA Bicycle Network or BN and it's relationship with Maurice Blackburn could be useful as well?

Comment by Dan on July 28, 2018 at 3:38pm

Thanks for the good wishes.

I'm not stopping cycling. I'll still be out there on my bike. But honestly, it's not something I recommend to people any more, unless they have access to off-road routes. Riding in traffic in Sydney has become extremely unpleasant, if not outright dangerous.

Comment by Jonathon Troy on July 28, 2018 at 4:32pm

Out of interest Dan, I was wondering if the bike frame is salvageable? I take it you got the drivers details and will be able to claim on their insurance. 
Watching Sydney from afar I have heard about the attitude issue of the NSW Police when it comes to doing something abut dangerous occurances like this. I am wondering if this is based on the way they have been treating car on car collisions - they just make the drivers fill out a smart form (here in the ACT and I gather the same or possibly a paper form in NSW) in order to make their insurance claim. The thing is you will need to be persistent - get the superior officers on station to do something. 
Speaking of insurance - make sure you make a claim on theirs - and if they try not to cough up you should be able to escalate it using a lawyer. 
I am not sure if not advocating others cycle is going to help in the long term. If we can get more people on bikes the more the NSW govt will have to do something about provision of infrastructure and if we can get some of the less than useful interactions with NSW Police on camera the more likely their attitude will change as well. 
One question is - is there anyone taking stats and keeping a record of the "No we won't do anything go away!" from the NSW Police? I remember BNSW had a number of videos of close passes that had been ignored but what about this?

Comment by Dan on July 29, 2018 at 6:55pm

Bike frame was undamaged; so just needed a new back wheel - I got it back from the shop yesterday, The driver paid up - he just gave me the money (no insurance claim). He was OK about it.

I will call the cops again tomorrow, but unless they take a statement there will be no record that this ever occurred.

I get we need more cyclists, but I am reticent to suggest it to people unless I can see they have a safe route. From my house to the city, I would recommend, as it's mostly off-road. But my current commute? Not so much...

Comment by Dan on July 31, 2018 at 10:28am

Update to this - after chasing,, I got this response from the police:


Dear Dan,
I sought advice from our Traffic Sergeant the same day that you reported the matter to me. As discussed, the other driver stopped and provided you his details, accepting responsibility for the incident.
I contacted the other driver that afternoon and spoke to him about the matter. I warned him about his awareness when he drives and to look out for cyclists.
As there was no injury (thankfully) and the other driver stopped and provided details to you, I will not be proceeding with an legal action as it had not met the criteria for a Major Traffic Accident.
Kind Regards,

Constable Peter Hibbert
Glebe Police Station
This seems to imply that police will never act on any kind of minor traffic accident. So unless you are injured, there is no chance of any driver ever being censured for dangerous driving around vulnerable road users.
Meanwhile the death toll amongst pedestrians and cyclists continues to rise...
Comment by Dabba on July 31, 2018 at 11:41am

Dan, I think that you'll find that the response that you got is their standard procedure for all vehicle collisions, and they only take action if there are injuries to people. Unfortunately, being a vulnerable road user doesn't matter a rat's! However, that shouldn't preclude you from asking Const Hibbert what action would have been taken if you had been rear-ended in a car.

Comment by Peter H on August 2, 2018 at 2:30pm

So, do a track stand and get done for dangerous riding. Drive a car over a cyclist and get a serious talking to. WTF has this world become?


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