I don't know about you, but I am not feeling very comfortable on the roads or in traffic at the moment. Sunday's so-far-unexplained incident with multiple riders down on SCD has made me very nervous. I don't like to have anyone in a motor vehicle anywhere near me, especially behind.

Cycling is not relaxing anymore. If it ever was. I am coming to think that if you are relaxed while riding you are not paying enough attention and you are likely to be eating bitumen any moment. 

A case in point... I, perhaps stupidly, rode through Chatswood this morning. I am starting to f#@$ing hate Chatswood.

(A short aside:  A couple of weeks ago I was riding quickly in the kerbside lane of Archer St when I became aware of a truck driving close behind me but in the second lane. It slowly overtook me up the hill but, before it was completely past, the driver deliberately began moving left, squeezing me very close to the parked cars, then came into my lane and began to turn left into Ashley St with me still beside him. I was yelling. LOUDLY. It was quite intentional, unprovoked, not a {S}MIDSY, and calculated to intimidate if not actively endanger me, because he was watching me in his mirror the whole time and verbally abused me after I braked hard and moved out around him. I reported it to his company.)

Back to this morning. I'd done what I needed to do in the CBD and I had made it out, or so I thought, via the bicycle route marked along Claude St. This goes between the Albert Ave car park and a couple of major building sites. It used to be a two-way street but now has a short one-way-north section just at the extreme northern end. I was going south so had to use the crappy footpath past the exit of the car park to reach the dead-end of the two-way section of Claude St again. I was travelling quite slowly, certainly no more than 10 km/h, especially because there was a large brick-laden semi-trailer stationed in the middle of the narrow carriageway with cars parked along my left all the way up to it.

My eagle eyes spotted a potential hazard -- the driver of the truck was on the rear of the trailer, 15 metres away, and appeared to be about to jump down right in my path. Had he seen me? I veered slightly to my left while trying to establish eye-contact with him. No, he was not going to jump into my path at all, at least not before the driver of the last parked car I was passing flung open his door causing me to hit the concrete with a strangled yell of "F#@$ you" and a loud clatter of metal. 

Bloody hell it happened quickly. With split-second precision. Even at less than 10km/h there was no way I could avoid it. One second the road was "clear", a millisecond later there was the end of a car door wrapping itself around my handlebar. One second I was rolling, a millisecond later I was grovelling in the dirt, figuratively speaking. Mind-bogglingly quick it was.

The offender was aware that he was in the wrong and was keen to know if I was "all right". Fortunately I was and, after I'd delivered a short lecture on what he should have done to prevent the incident, I departed, licking my wounded pride, or some such metaphor.

I've written about this sort of thing before, disturbingly not that long ago I now see. Maybe I had become complacent again but who would have thought that it wasn't the hazard on the right that was going to get me, it was the unseen one out of left field. Of course, that is what I should have thought.

It is the first time I have ever been driver-doored in my 40+-year cycling career. (I was passenger-doored once, also at low speed.) I must not let it happen ever again. The take away message is:

NEVER let your guard down.

For the rest of the day, to calm myself and restore mental equilibrium, I think I will use the internet as therapy and look at pictures of funny cats. That's what it's for, after all.

"Do I even want to know what happened?" 

Views: 452

Comment by Neil Alexander on April 6, 2014 at 2:53pm

even Mr. Sydney Cyclist himself, has fallen foul of the Serf like Infrastructure

Dame Damo has had a crash too? Why wasn't I told??

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