I have a story to tell about an incident that happened a few years ago.
I used to ride my bike from Cromer to Brookvale to work. At first i would take up a whole lane (i was always riding before 7am or after 7pm so off-peak) so that the car behind me would have to merge to get around me. But i stopped doing this as i was deliberately persecuted by the cars. They would cut close, stop suddenly, turn into a driveway and cut me off, etc. I got the message and tried to keep as close to the curb as possible, only to have my leg burned by an old lady who obviously had deteriorating periferal vision and came so close the engine seared my skin!
However the most resounding incident was when a P plater tried to squeeze past me without merging, knocked me from my bike, and left me on the road. Not only that, but the car behind them, that saw everything, simply drove around me and kept going, and the one after that too.
I can't help but wonder what people are thinking? I know that cyclists are anoying, but if someone irritates you at work, do you hold a gun to their head? Your car is a deadly weapon, and i cannot help but feel that the punishment for being anoying on the road outweigh's the crime. Being stuck behind a bike for 1km will hold you up about 2min from your destination, and how often are you stuck behind them that long? In addition, does someone deserve to die just because they held you up a couple of minutes?
I also understand that cyclists inflame the situation by breaking road rules and getting angry at drivers. But at the end of the day, it is their lives you are mucking around with when you get angry at them. And you cannot convince me that the resentment directed at cyclists who ride through red lights and skip the que isn't tinged with a squirt of jealousy... Because we would like to do the same in our cars! And plenty do.
This article was inspired by a story on Today Tonight. I didn't see it today, but the advertising was condemning the development of bike lanes in the city, because it "gave cyclists more power and forces cars to sit longer is traffic". If people ride their bikes, it takes cars OFF the road. In addition, they contribute less to pollution, as well as our health system. I do not know what TT meant by increasing a cyclists "power", but i believe that keeping vunerable and unprotected bodies separate to solid steel cars is sensible, no matter how much of an asshole the cyclist is.
Drivers have to get over their resentment of cyclists. It doesn't solve anything and at the end of the day, they are someones father, mother, sister, brother, daughter, or son. We all do stupid things when annonomous on the road, whether in a car or on a bike, or jaywalking. It will affect your life too if you hurt someone.