Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Bravado on bikes

It's funny what you notice on the roads when you're riding a bicycle. You see people do all sorts of stupid things on the road. Perched on my bicycle saddle, I get a vantage point that offers a unique perspective on things. Sometimes, my perspective comes from a close call.

I ride in the bike lane where there is one, and prefer riding on streets that have them. I'm lucky enough to have access to a lane dedicated to bikes and pedestrians for the bulk of my ride between work and home. However, my close calls with cars often involve drivers who refuse to check cyclists when they are turning across the bike path (or into traffic in front of you). I'm lucky that I've had only a few of those, and no impacts so far. Touch wood.

When riding through busy traffic spots, I've also noticed drivers do some really silly – if downright dangerous – things.

Yesterday, however, I was reminded that cyclists can do some pretty stupid and dangerous things too. I saw a woman cyclist – actually, I first heard her – abusing a driver as she came up behind me. Of course, I immediately though it was the driver's dangerous mistake that upset her (us cyclists have to stick together, you know). Observing how the woman raised her voice at the driver, and her tone, I thought differently.

It was the tone and voice that suggested that loud, brash, aggressive manner that suggests one who feels embarrassed – and defensive – to be caught in a stupid situation of their making, but they're too proud to admit it. Hence, in such situations, they can turn nasty at others – as if they fault were the other's. It happens to all of us, at some time or another.

Her voice didn't strike me as one of outrage at an injustice, or rage stemming from sheer terror at a close call. I speculated then that the fault was probably her own. The way she propelled herself dangerously up the bike track – in a cyclist's equivalent of a swagger of bravado – ahead of the pack of cyclists suggested it further. It can happen to all of us, but it's funny how people get caught up in anger when they do stupid things.

[Image by Hey Paul]

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At February 27, 2007 4:05 pm, Blogger unique_stephen said...

I have smashed a car window with my fist as it drifted into me - that was in Hawthorn East coming up towards Camberwell Junction from Toorak Road just near the temple. I felt like a God.

At February 28, 2007 9:47 am, Blogger Mark Lawrence said...

How was your fist?

I stand corrected, btw. The worse drivers are the ones who do look, see the cyclists coming towards them, but drive across their path anyway!

They either think they are more important than bikes, or have little comprehension of how hard it is to quickly slow down a bike hurtling downhill (without going arse of tit, of course). Curse them.

Can you guess I rode my bike to work this morning?


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