Thursday, October 16, 2008

Cycling can be dangerous...

Damn, have to go to work on my day off, to argue about my shifts. They put me on weekends, and my weekends are sacred. Might be a while arguing, don't want to miss the bus - better take the bike.

Argued for half an hour. Argh, it's 3:30pm and I said I'd be home by then! And I've got a day's work to do there! Time to turn on the afterburners.

Downhill section. Shove it into fifth gear and try to match speeds with the cars. BLAST YOU inconsiderate car drivers, can't you give me a bit of clearance? Stop pushing me into the blinking gutter! Those black holes in the gutter aren't painted on, they're DRAINS. You with your tyres might be able to go over them just fine but I CAN'T! Do you want to see me splattered all over your radiator grill? Because that's where I'll be if I hit one of those drains as you go past. Hope you have a strong stomach and a REALLY good excuse to give the coroner.

Uphill section. Take it back to second. The cars are even worse here because they can just plant the boot and go past me. Trouble is they don't wait until their rear end is past me before getting their wheels back into the ruts in the road so I'm constantly shying away from a rear bumper bar, to say nothing of smelling their exhaust. Blow this for a joke, I'm taking the footpath. Nobody around, let's go.

Remember how the tram tracks were covered up during the Commonwealth Games cycling events? Well tram tracks have nothing on lawn edgers. I can cycle over tram tracks at 45km/h with no ill effects at all, they're shiny and stand out on the road. But an edged lawn, with a deep rut between the concrete footpath and the dirt and a thin layer of grass to hide it, is a perfect death trap.

When my front wheel dropped in, I knew I was coming off, no doubt about it. Luckily I managed to aim myself away from the road. But there was a fence on the other side, with a nice gate all ready to catch my pedal. Straight over the handlebars I went. My water bottle flew out of the pocket of my backpack and landed 2m ahead of me.

Luckily I got away with a few minor abrasions. But just imagine if there had been a pedestrian around - just getting hit with a water bottle would have been enough, but if they'd been close enough to get the full force of a Midga in the sternum there would have been bones broken.

We need cycle paths! And we need car drivers to be more considerate!

When I was working for FCL Transport I had to interview truckies. The #1 most common thing they said was "Put people in a truck as part of learning to drive, and tell them to bring it to a stop from 60km/h". I'll add to that: "Put them on a bike and tell them to take a 10km ride on a major road".

And for goodness sake, learn how big your vehicle is!

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