I'm really in two minds about whether to post this blog. On the one hand, I had a couple of kind of interesting / amusing incidents on my bike today. On the other hand, it kind of vaguely relates to you-know-what, and, well, I have a resolution to never raise them as an issue. (When others do it, well, they have to accept the consequences...).

Oh well, here we go.

On the way to work, I was stopped on Pyrmont Bridge by a couple of bicycle cops. They queries me about my lack of a you-know-what, so I gave them my reasons as to why i didn't wear one. They seemed quite interested, and at one point one of them said 'so why did politicians introduce these laws then?', and we all together had a bit of a laugh about that - evidence based policy indeed! Anyway, after we'd dealt with that topic, I chatted to them for a while about their duties, how far they rode each day and so on. They were very nice, and as they left asked me to walk my bike for a bit, which I complied with before continuing on to work.

On the way home, I almost got crushed by a car. It was at a three-lane junction; a left 'turn left only' lane, and two ahead lanes. I was riding in the middle lane to go straight on, and the other straight on lane came to a halt as the person at the head of the line was turning right.

I was riding along in the centre of my lane when evidently the car I was alongside decided they didn't want to wait in the queue, and swung into my lane. Just where I was. There was a long bendy bus in the turning left lane, and I screamed out as I hit the brakes to avoid being squashed between the side of her car as the bus. Evidently she didn't look properly before she pulled out.

I subsequently overtook her, and as I rode past called out 'look more carefully!'. (I'm not sure if this is a good thing or not. I'm of the opinion that it's not really a good idea to call out to motorists, but at the same time it's hard not to when the adrenaline gets going. Anyway, that's what I did.)

The passenger in the car tapped her head, and mouthed 'helmet!' at me. I shrugged my shoulders; yes I'm sure having a helmet would have been a great consolation as my hips were crushed between her car and the bus. And then she 'yelped' her siren and lights - it was an unmarked police car.

For a moment I wondered what was going to happen next; I had time to prepare the line 'Are you going to give me a ticket before or after you apologise for nearly killing me with your careless driving?', but it proved unnecessary. She didn't want to talk to me.

Still, two rather different experiences with the boys in blue. But just think how much better it would be if they all rode bikes, rather than driving cars!


Views: 60

Comment by naomi on June 10, 2010 at 1:25pm
Your tags!:)

Wow - yeah no way she would have booked you given she had just been in the wrong.

I do think that the reason so many motorists heckle you when there is an absence of you-know-what is that a) they have an excuse to abuse you that is backed up by the law and therefore legitimises their emotions that cyclists should not be on the roads or rights any wrong doing on their behalf and b) it makes them feel more anxious about sharing space with you because they rationalise that at least if something goes wrong a you-know-what will save them from killing you.

So really, as you have pointed out before, there is a whole lot of emotion involved and not much logic. I just wish they would extend that emotion about caring for cyclists' safety to drive more carefully in the first place regardless of a you-know-what.
Comment by sydneyCommuter on June 10, 2010 at 1:51pm
John,
What do you think the helmet law does to encourage people to take responsibility for their own safety?
Can you see how it can become counterproductive?
Comment by Dan on June 10, 2010 at 2:00pm
Pretty please don't turn my blog into a helmet debate...

I only put it up as it seemed such a coincidence to have two encounters with the police in one day - one a positive one, the other rather less so.
Comment by Jonathan on June 10, 2010 at 2:02pm
More cops on bikes would be nice.
Too many fatties with bad attitudes getting around.
Comment by Neil Alexander on June 10, 2010 at 2:23pm
Hey, Dan, can you post a precis of your argument to the cops which interests them enough to stop them from booking you?
Comment by Dabba on June 10, 2010 at 3:04pm
Are you going to give me a ticket before or after you apologise for nearly killing me with your careless driving?'

Yes, it makes you wonder about people's priorities. I was riding along the Fernleigh Track in Newcastle on the weekend (an old coal line that will soon be complete as a nice off road 15 kms cycleway into Newcastle). I went to overtake another cyclist and called that I was passing. His response was "where's your bell?" I asked him whether he had a problem hearing voices that can be louder than a bell, and continued on my merry way to the tune of this moron persistantly hammering away on his bell.

It's almost like some people would prefer to see others dead because they've obeyed the law, rather than survive something because they didn't obey the law. "The gene pool needs more chlorine, dear!"
Comment by Bill Parker on June 10, 2010 at 3:16pm
Dabba, I broke my bell a couple of weeks ago (while over using it to express displeasure at a taxi) and since then I have been riding around an voicing "ding, ding" as required, certainly gets some odd looks (but gets noticed and is effective) The broken bell is still on handle bars for show
Comment by back street baron on June 10, 2010 at 3:25pm
Nice story, I am surprised they fessed up to being coppers though, I'd lie low after something like that.
Comment by Dabba on June 10, 2010 at 3:39pm
LS, I had an incident a few years ago while riding my touring bike with drop bars along a lakeside cycleway. I pulled out to pass a couple strolling along and the woman did a sudden 90 degree turn into my path across to the right hand side of the cycleway so that she could do up her shoe. I slammed on the brakes and said a few words. Her retort was "why didn't you ring the bell". I asked her whether she would have preferred me to ring the bell and run into her, or keep my hands on the brakes so that I could put them on to stop myself from running into her? She had no comeback.

Since then, I've dispensed with bells. It is quicker, safer and easier to call and apply the brakes at the same time, as well as getting a message across. I usually only call "passing", "stop", or "bike". The fewer the calls, the more instinctive it becomes with each circumstance.
Comment by Choccy Boy on June 20, 2010 at 12:59am
Kylie - sooo sweet! Let him squirm as the bikes go past the bus he is on!

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