Mitigating The Risks Of Cycling

One of my 2011 resolutions was to write in my Farifax column more often. It's taken me a month to get moving on it, but I just posted something that I hope the general cycling public will find useful.

Many of you would have read in the papers yesterday about Matt Tilley (Fox FM breakfast co-host, known for his "gotcha" prank phone calls and fellow cyclist) getting hit and breaking his back over the weekend. I was disappointed to read some of the tweets and comments from the cyclist-hating motorists with regards to the situation. For example:

It’s a debate that I’m sick of but unfortunately will never end (although, I did get a kick out of watching Koen de Kort get into it with miss @NoSpaceHere yesterday). As we can see, it’s a problem that every single cyclist from novice to PRO encounters. The only thing that’s certain is that neither bikes nor cars are going away, so everyone should just get on with life, relax, and be more tolerant of each other.

You can read today’s post in Fairfax at the following places: The AgeSMHBrisbane Times and WAtoday. I’m sure the comments will go pear-shaped and turn into another “cyclists versus drivers” showdown which I find tiring, but it reminds me of the mindset of some people on our roads. It’s frightening to say the least.


SIMILAR ENTRIES

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  • Five-55

    Hey Wade – looks like the link for The Age is going to an old article – “Ban the Bunch?” – not your current post!

  • http://www.chromaticdramatic.com/ Chromatic Dramatic

    Yah… wrong linky there Wade-o

  • http://www.cyclingTipsBlog.com cyclingTips

    Thanks for pointing out. Just changed it.

  • Dolson59

    “full time design student, part time idiot” is kind of redundant.

  • Mitch

    “When you ride a bicycle, you make the roads safer for everyone. In a car, you become a hazard to the public’s well being.”- From: http://www.grist.org/article/2011-01-31-dont-fear-riding-a-bicycle-fear-sitting-in-that-chair

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    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by CyclingTwips and Harry Hanley, brianne. brianne said: RT @cyclingtips: Mitigating The Risks Of Cycling http://bit.ly/i4eEkt [...]

  • http://www.happyfamilies.com.au Justin Coulson

    Wade the SMH link is also going to the Ban the Bunch article

  • Anonymous

    more like Full Time Idiot and Part time design Student…..

  • Gus

    That “No Space Here” girl is clearly not referring to the space between her ears as there seems to be plenty of space in there. Full time idiot Part time nobody. Absolutely ridiculous comments. Would like to see her bravado if she was standing in court pissing her pants as she is getting charged with manslaughter. Just stupid stupid comments.

  • Marcus

    Wonder if Little Miss “No Space Here” realises how many potential employers (Fixie hipster designers) she just upset?

  • daveb

    it’s a real shame that Melissa is confusing hindrance with human lives. I bet she’d feel a bit different if she’d had some kind of experience with people dying (LITERALLY Melissa they really do die). These are real people, with real lives, families, parents and friends. Cars kill people, all the time. Chill out Melissa and put your energies into something else more positive.

  • Scott

    Change attitudes one motorist at a time. Wave and say thanks when they do the right thing, not go off when they don’t. Hope Matt gets better soon.

  • http://hundredhandslap.com/ Van

    As a regular cyclist for recreation and transport, and a motoring journalist, I’m often amazed at the sense of entitlement and attitude displayed on both sides of the fence.

    Obviously cyclists have a number of legal rights, but the amount of times I’ve borne witness to cyclists cruising along on a narrow and heavily trafficked road, two abreast at painfully low speeds, chatting away, presumably aware of the obstruction they’re causing…

    Motorists do need to pull their heads in and develop some respect for cyclists on the road, there’s no two ways about that. They’re/we’re as guilty as anyone when it comes to expecting the seas to part as we motor through, but cyclists really don’t do themselves any favours, either.

    Cyclists should embrace the rights they’ve earned and fought for, but in those moments, when I witness the above scenario – all too often, sadly – well, I’m thankful I’m a good-hearted person and not one of those ragin’ cagers that will gladly plow into the back of them.

    Heck, even the South Australian RTA website asks cyclists to be mindful of what a pain in the arse they can often be. “Riding two abreast is legal however dont hog the road and allow others to overtake.”

  • beaker

    Wade, that’s one of the best blo posts you’ve written. It’s all common sense stuff, but most cyclists I see certainly need a reminder.

  • Hardo

    It is truly remarkable that some motorists try their darndest to stop or swerve for an animal or bird, or are moderately happy wait to get around a tractor or big truck… yet a cyclist gets their blood boiling.

    By the look of the young [and somewhat foolish] Melissa, the next generation doesn’t “get it” either. I’m amazed by the amount of P drivers who seem to think cyclists have no rights…. and they have supposedly only just learned the road rules.

    Astonishing human behaviour in the age we live.

  • norm

    Common sense and common courtesy seems to be lacking on both sides of the fence. On my Saturday morning Beach Rd ride the only people that yelled at me were fellow cyclists who were racing each other. I was with a mate in the left lane, riding two abreast when a peloton came through with a “move over d$%head” as the only warning.
    I didn’t even have time to turn my head before they came screaming past yelling abuse about “keep left idiot” (I thought I was keeping left???).
    Later on, as I rode past the Sea Baths, a delivery van cut in front of cyclists just ahead of me… The driver kept going oblivious/uncaring to the potential damage he almost caused… crazy world out there!

  • Guest

    Another “tip” .. once vehicles have gone past – don’t pass them again – wait your turn in the traffic rather than lane splitting. I know full well a cyclist can easily keep moving up to the front of (say) traffic lights, but then the motorists have to go through the process of getting past you again – this can get frustrating after a few goes leading to friction.

    If you are in heavy stop-start traffic, chances are, as you have pointed out, are on the wrong type of road at the wrong time of day. It is probably taking courtesy to an extreme and just me, but as a motorist it does frustrate me passing a “fred” a number of times when they aren’t able to make an effort to at least match traffic speeds in peak hour.

  • Big M

    To a point I agree with you, but have you stopped to consider that if you are passing “Fred” multiple times that you are actually travelling at the same average speed? Matching the average speed of a car in peak hour (about 24km/h from memory) is a snooze for most cyclists. So who is really holding up whom?

  • Notso Swift

    Norm, beach road weekend hero’s hmmm…. Especially at this time of year when the weather is good you would be better off riding almost anywhere else. Otherwise try and be finished by about 7.30 Although I admit I do sometimes do the 6am Ivanhoe Cycles Black Rock ride we are on the way back before it gets too busy… I will usually do it once then remember not to do it again, then a few weeks later… LOL

    No space maybe needs to remember that driving is a privilege, like wise, some cyclists need to remember (and I include myself,) that being on the “right” side of an argument with a vehicle will still result in a loss!

  • Notso Swift

    Norm, beach road weekend hero’s hmmm…. Especially at this time of year when the weather is good you would be better off riding almost anywhere else. Otherwise try and be finished by about 7.30 Although I admit I do sometimes do the 6am Ivanhoe Cycles Black Rock ride we are on the way back before it gets too busy… I will usually do it once then remember not to do it again, then a few weeks later… LOL

    No space maybe needs to remember that driving is a privilege, like wise, some cyclists need to remember (and I include myself,) that being on the “right” side of an argument with a vehicle will still result in a loss!

  • dw

    Nice article, Wade.

    I don’t think @NoSpaceHere’s comments are worth promoting here. Should we really care what some random person on twitter thinks? Publishing her comments here gives legitimacy to her opinion and reduces CT to her level.

  • Cementbagcyclist

    Wade great advice again, all common sense but all very relevant and true. On my rides on Saturday I encountered a very busy beach road with cyclists being the biggest danger as per Norm’s post above – I wasn’t riding with him but must have had the same bunch of heroes pass me also. On Sat night I was commuting home along Brunswick st and watched one young lady run a red light and was then confronted by two cyclist with no helmets or lights coming up the bike lane the wrong way!! Maybe I am getting old (I know I am) but these people do nothing to help our cause as cyclists and really need to get off the road – its no wonder some drivers get frustrated.

  • Notso Swift

    I prbably should have read the Age post before I wrote comment, the second half of the last sentence is redundant because it is exactly what the post is about!

  • Mars

    As a rider and a driver who pays rego and insurance on 2 cars I reckon I can comment unbiasedly. And unlike everytime I hear the argument there is good and bad on both sides, it appears overwhelming weighted to a perspective from drivers against riders, I am FOR the rider.

    This is because the pure drivers who may ride a bike once a year (yes I am playing for the point here) sprout rubbish about a cyclist here running a red light or other, and yes that action by the cyclist is not right and doesn’t do anyone any favours, but I say to these drivers how many drivers get done for DUI, speeding, texting whilst driving etc on a daily basis? How many drivers cut riders off to gain that extra 1 second buffer on their way to work, how many drivers almost hit riders with a “sorry mate I didn’t see you”, I could go on, but essentially people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones – that is you pure driver (once in an eclipse rider). Why don’t these drivers have a crack at all the drivers breaking the road laws in the traffic lane next to them any given day?

    The ramifications of what damage a driver can do to cyclist or pedestrian when things go wrong is frightening.

    I genuinely believe these drivers with limited and biased opinions of road ownership will only ever understand and believe it is ok to share the road when someone close to them that they care for is injured, mamed or killed by another driver who was in the wrong. Some of the younger drivers who are more aggressive may begin to understand if and when they have kids and the kid wants to ride a bike and a driver has a crack at them or worse still hits them.

    A metre does matter!

    Long live the Rider (and motorist too).

  • Guest

    Perhaps my point isn’t quite clearly made. Assuming no dedicated bike lane and peak hour/busy road – the passing point is where the risk is. There is little risk when you are cruising along behind a car in the normal flow of things. The risk occurs when a car needs to get in front of you, either by squeezing you into the curb, attempting to change lanes, whatever. This applies whether the motorist is passing a bike or another car. This requires an action on the part of the passing motorist. Changing lanes in peak hour is hard enough – finding a gap, indicating, matching speeds, checking blindspots, whatever – without having to also avoid hitting a slower moving small object which is on the left of the car out of peripheral vision – ie a cyclist. You have to take your eyes away from the cyclist to look right?! If the speed difference is significant and not judged correctly – it is only obvious things can get messy.

    Why increase your risk by going through the process all over again? Chances are the first time the motorist left you plenty of room when they went around the first. But you will test anyone’s patience beyond that – whether you are a slow motorist or a cyclist. It is not a case of holding anyone up other than yourself, because as you have pointed out – by lane splitting you will probably average the same as the cars.

  • Derek

    Try staying behind Fred and the rest of the traffic in front of him who have previously passed you, they won’t waste their time trying to pass you safely again, they won’t become frustrated, chances are now that they are ‘free’ to go and you won’t see them again, and all that time you’ve created your presence in the traffic at the lights and shown respect for the flow of traffic. We’re not motorbikes, we can’t bang off and wave goodbye to the traffic – we will have to be passed again, by the same poor fool in the car.
    Nicholson st Brunswick is a prime example, the parallel roads to this carry very little traffic and have bike lanes, yet the super commuter (no lights, no helmet) insists on using this two lane road that is barely wide enough to carry two cars. It takes a lot of care and timing to pass a cyclist who is doing 20k 1 meter from the curb…..you get it done and breath relief only to have them squeeze past (at great scratch risk to the car – no meter there??) at the red light to put everyone back where they began.
    Now, if they just hold their place and are truely travelling at the same average speed, they should be in the same spot at the next red light, nothing lost, nothing gained and the motorist happy.

  • Derek

    Try staying behind Fred and the rest of the traffic in front of him who have previously passed you, they won’t waste their time trying to pass you safely again, they won’t become frustrated, chances are now that they are ‘free’ to go and you won’t see them again, and all that time you’ve created your presence in the traffic at the lights and shown respect for the flow of traffic. We’re not motorbikes, we can’t bang off and wave goodbye to the traffic – we will have to be passed again, by the same poor fool in the car.
    Nicholson st Brunswick is a prime example, the parallel roads to this carry very little traffic and have bike lanes, yet the super commuter (no lights, no helmet) insists on using this two lane road that is barely wide enough to carry two cars. It takes a lot of care and timing to pass a cyclist who is doing 20k 1 meter from the curb…..you get it done and breath relief only to have them squeeze past (at great scratch risk to the car – no meter there??) at the red light to put everyone back where they began.
    Now, if they just hold their place and are truely travelling at the same average speed, they should be in the same spot at the next red light, nothing lost, nothing gained and the motorist happy.

  • RJ

    It is dehumanizing and dividing to talk of motorists, motorcyclists, cyclists and pedestrians; and therefore counterproductive. We belong to multiple categories and should therefore stop this divide and conquer mentality and start treating each other as human beings. Similarly, as a collective we just need to recognise that some humans being are idiots – whether they be walking on the sidewalk, driving a car, pedalling a bike or riding a motorcycle. It is often the idiots driving cars that are the idiots riding bikes. And they are the common nuisance and should thus be the target of our anger

  • RJ

    It is dehumanizing and dividing to talk of motorists, motorcyclists, cyclists and pedestrians; and therefore counterproductive. We belong to multiple categories and should therefore stop this divide and conquer mentality and start treating each other as human beings. Similarly, as a collective we just need to recognise that some humans being are idiots – whether they be walking on the sidewalk, driving a car, pedalling a bike or riding a motorcycle. It is often the idiots driving cars that are the idiots riding bikes. And they are the common nuisance and should thus be the target of our anger

  • Timo

    Let me just look up how many drivers have been killed from a collision with a cyclist. Hmmm, it appears to be none. Quite often the safest way to cross an intersection is to run the red light or use the pedestrian crossing, although not legal the same argument applies. If it’s between a fine and death, I’ll take the fine, car drivers and their opinion of me can be damned. I also think car drivers can complain about other people following the rules when their Death Toll is zero. Cars as the biggest, fastest and most deadly thing on the road should have different rules about following the rules. That’s the cost of the car convenience.

    On another note, I’ll take my chances with cars on the road over a pedestrians on a bike path any day of the week. At least cars are predictable and generally follow a set of rules. Joggers, Dog walkers and other assorted peoples are completely random. Very few people walk like they are driving. Every time I take the bike path I have to be twice as alert then on the road. Even a bell is 50/50 between scaring them onto the wrong side into you or having them get over to left. They are crazy I tells ya.

  • http://twitter.com/mickbost Mick Boston

    almost every melbourne based designer i know or met in the last few years is a pretty massive fixie/single speed addict

  • Anonymous

    Excellent article Wade, all essential tips, and called out some of the worst behaviour on the road for what it is without getting agro about it, instead focusing on what the reader/rider can do to minimise their risk. So i hope the comments section remains as positive as it seems to be so far. Cheers for getting the correct messages out there!

  • Anonymous

    Excellent article Wade, all essential tips, and called out some of the worst behaviour on the road for what it is without getting agro about it, instead focusing on what the reader/rider can do to minimise their risk. So i hope the comments section remains as positive as it seems to be so far. Cheers for getting the correct messages out there!

  • SupermanSam

    Hope you kept your helmet on after your ride this morning CT, here it comes…no matter how thoughtful and well put, you’re bound to generate the armchair hero response on both sides. Good piece.

    Weird coincidence but I have seen Rex Hunt out walking recently, I may be just imagining the scowl he gave when he looked at the bunches riding past (wonder if he’s cooled down from being found guilty of assualt and road rage on a cyclist?).

    I agree with Notso about getting on & off majors like Beach Road early, especially if it means you can get a seat outside Racer before the Kings Men swarm in and over everything, littering the footpath with $15k bikes, leaving sweat all over the seats, scaring little old ladies and small children, etc.

    The ‘nongs is especially great weekend riding this time of year, about 10 degrees cooler than a silly Sunday Two Bays ride apparently. Kinglake is not that busy either. I figure I don’t want to risk myself against the NoSpacehere muppets if I can help it. Good luck to those who try though. Respeckt bra and all that.

  • Mark

    Its sad to see that its the same issues across the ditch that we have here in New Zealand (Auckland where I am). When I first visited Melbourne in May last year I was amazed how many cyclists were around and though to myself “cripes, Kiwi motorists could learn a thing or too about ‘tolerance’ from the Okkers”. SO that is sad news and just another example of how narrow minded, selfish and arrogant some drivers can be. I understand that us cyclists can get in the way sometimes….but generally we get out of the way, keep left etc etc. Would drivers rather we die in order for them to be ‘happy’, or the rest of humanity decides to no longer use ‘sustainable’ methods of transport and we choke ourselves from greenhouse gases etc etc????

    In relaity, its a debate that should not have to take place….just have some tolerance. In fact the world would be a better place if everyone practiced a little bit of that and focused on the collective good rather than selfishness. A little airy fairy I know but its what I think.

  • pmark1bike

    I see Rex walking often and give him a wave, he always smiles back and waves! I’m not convinced he was entirely alone at fault in that case . We cyclists do tend to forget about others trying to get past all the bikes and sweaty MAMALs while discussing who won the sprint and was 1st to the top of the hill, not unlike car drivers in their own world with the radio on.

  • JC

    Good article CT. Keep chipping away at this issue. Unfortunately human beings are a selfish lot. If we all spent a little longer considering how our actions affect others we’d all be better off. Failing that, just get out between 6am-8am and choose your course well. Depending on where you live, for a typical morning “out and back” training ride, it’s a good idea to minimise risk by riding “with” the traffic between say 6am-7am and then against it on the way back (when it’s busiest).

  • Toneredd

    Should be FULL TIME IDIOT. Her suggestion of ” I feel like hitting cyclists” would this suggestion be border line legally ?suggesting she would hit a cyclist? given the chance.

  • Toneredd

    Should be FULL TIME IDIOT. Her suggestion of ” I feel like hitting cyclists” would this suggestion be border line legally ?suggesting she would hit a cyclist? given the chance.

  • daveb

    100% agree with this and think that it should be included in rider education. Especially when trams are involved. A cyclist on a non road bike trying to pass a tram normally doesn’t make it. So traffic is all held up, no cars pass tram and drivers get angry.

    So when coming through traffic you need to be aware of the traffic you may hold up – it’s annoying if you do it repeatedly on the same stretch of road.

  • daveb

    100% agree with this and think that it should be included in rider education. Especially when trams are involved. A cyclist on a non road bike trying to pass a tram normally doesn’t make it. So traffic is all held up, no cars pass tram and drivers get angry.

    So when coming through traffic you need to be aware of the traffic you may hold up – it’s annoying if you do it repeatedly on the same stretch of road.

  • SupermanSam

    I agree Guest, it’s risk mitigation as CT says (and knowing that the driver won’t go into much thought about average speed etc.) and also knowing that Australian drivers are not very skilled or educated. Constantly passing a cyclist is like queing at the 15 items or less register in the supermarket and counting the 25+ items in the person in front’s basket. Pointing it out doesn’t mean you’ll ‘win’ there either. I drive up Grey Street St.Kilda but would never cycle there, even though I am legally entitled to. It’s just not safe and there are alternatives, so why not take them?

    Melbourne drivers especially are unskilled, so why put yourself in danger? The very high number of crashes (relative to drivers), and revenue earned from red light and speeding fines shows so many are unable to control their cars, drive within acceptable limits, etc. My own view is this is especially so with large 4WD’s and commodores, it’s more a matter of their inability to drive the thing than the cyclist being in the ‘wrong’. If they were skilled in any way, they wouldn’t have an issue with cyclists sharing the road. Many seem unable to pass cyclists at the minimum 1m without freaking out and getting upset at the cylist, etc. Why else would there be the angst? Many more also are unaware of basic road rules (two abreast being legal, it is not legal to open your door into oncoming traffic, it is not legal to drive in a bike lane, etc.).

    I’m just waiting for the first “lycra fools”, “wanna be Tour de France idiots” comment and I am happy that the world is normal…

    PS. Ever tried explaining why wearing lycra kit is the same reason most swimmers train at the pool in speedo’s, most people run in running shorts not jeans, etc.? Silence…crickets… I worked in a office previously where the CFO even made cracks about me when he saw me riding in, it was real toothless hillbilly banjo stuff.

  • JC

    Agreed. The way many non-cyclists hate us for our lycra really pisses me off. It’s functional you ignorant fools. The fact it looks fabulous on our toned hairless legs is a bonus (haha).

  • Ridetostayalive

    I personally find as a driver on Beach Rd Saturday morning one of the biggest problems is the Hell Ride.

    I often drive as support crew on road racers and am confident driving around riders, however whilst passing or trying to pass the Hell Ride I am scared shitless!!…. It’s not so much the big group, it is the random people moving into the driving lane (normally straight into my path) who you are afraid are going to swerve back into the bunch causing an accident. Take up the entire left lane, but be considerate and stay in it and leave the space for drivers in the right.

    If you ride the Hell ride, maybe one day just drive up Beach road and see what a disgrace you are to road users (see it from the other side)….

    I doubt everyday car drivers would be reading this blog, but the same goes the other way, if car drivers went for a ride and could see the issues they may be more tolerant.

    You’re never going to solve or stop this debate, but as riders in the Melbourne community sit back and think what you do everyday to cause this problem, if everyone started to act appropriately then it would make a good start.

  • Angelo

    True. Not mention that the design scene is pretty small. Won’t find work at our studio that’s for sure ;)

  • Angelo

    True. Not mention that the design scene is pretty small. Won’t find work at our studio that’s for sure ;)

  • http://www.facebook.com/aggiodavo Dave Coultas

    Exactly! It’s about respect. Both ways. Just because it’s a cyclists right to ride two abreast doesn’t mean it has to be exercised to prove a point. I now only ride with a small crew and whenever we hit single lane we always go single file. It’s just decent courtesy and common sense.

    I really try to be aware of how my actions could be viewed by motorists – especially around lights and stop signs etc.

  • Anonymous

    Great article Wade. Like you I have very few issues out on the streets. It’s all about a bit of common sense. I do not speed through busy areas, I do the right thing, anticipate driver errors and show courtesy to all. I have also pretty much abandoned idiotic bunch rides; drafting is not training.

  • Anonymous

    Yep, was swarmed in the car by the Hell Ride while standing at the lights. Found myself in the middle of the bunch unable to get out. Riders banging on the car. Was ready to jump out and start beating dudes up with the club lock. I have done the ride many times years ago.. but the numbers are now too big and the bogan behaviour on the same par as the Frankston racing car drivers. Time to move on people.

    I now organise a ride with some mates and we do our own thing.

  • Anonymous

    The peacefull warrior approach :-)

    Ride like you are in Asia and you will rarely encounter problems.
    “Dont ride fast in traffic, Give way to everything bigger than you and ride with 100% awareness of everything in front and behind you”

  • Adam Pyke

    Having been in a similar situation to Matt Tilley but not having come out of it anywhere as lightly, I am also concerned about the levity that he has been displaying in relation to the accident.

    Comments about bribing the police are likely to get a laugh out of those who don’t take his commentary too seriously but there are those that would take this sort of quote to heart and getting more upset at cyclists who (in their mind) are trying to cheat the system.

    Having spent 3 months in a body brace held together with mechano screws because a motorist didn’t see me as I rode up a straight stretch of road was a rude awakening to the fact that you don’t have to be doing the wrong thing to be hurt.

    I still ride and race but I am much more cautious about making sure that I am predictable and visible.

    My tip for riding in the evening and night is to make yourself as attention getting as possible. Use 2 tail lights and set them on different patterns so they continually change what motorists are seeing. There is also the added benefit that you are unlikely for both sets of battteries to fail at the same time giing you a greater safety margin.

    Take care to you all and safe cycling.

  • Scott N

    There needs to be mandatory education regarding cyclists for everyone who goes to obtain a driving license. Teaching people as young as possible and going the driving license route would mean, hopefully, that both sides of the fence are aware of there individual responsibilities. I am not 100% aware of other states but here in SA there is zero education on how to interact with other road users, cyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians.

    Even if this where not to fix all the problems, hopefully it would be a step in the right direction.

  • Slhaydon

    probably an interior designer / bored housewife in a 4 x 4 which she cant see over the steering wheel.

  • Slhaydon

    probably an interior designer / bored housewife in a 4 x 4 which she cant see over the steering wheel.

  • Slhaydon

    i always make a point of approving for thoughtful drivers but this is why i get SO mad for negligent driving. I feel so vulnerable – mainly during rush hour – that profanities stream from my mouth at least once a trip. sorry.

  • Slhaydon

    great article / lesson in safe cycling tips. What I have found though is that cycling in Melbourne (cant speak for other Australian cities – although Adelaide seemed ok during the TdU) is more scary than London where I am from. The word courtesy does not seem to exist for most drivers here – even between drivers. I find them to be the most discourteous and selfish bunch of drivers (know the generalisation will piss some people off) I have encountered. Perhaps it expalins why there seem to be so many road deaths here. On a positive note, Mark Webber seems quite good at driving.

  • Dougal

    These debates annoy the shit out of me as the underlying theme is idiots. Put an idiot in a car, on a bike, driving a bus…..and you get the same result – people getting p’d off at each other, hurt or even killed.

    This is not about what you drive or ride, it’s about how you drive and ride. Take responsibility for your actions and be considerate for other peoples lives on the road.

    Get a life and maybe you’ll save a life, it could even be your own.

  • Dougal

    I could not agree more RJ. Well said.

  • Bamfrankbam

    what an uneducated dickhead she is for even making a comment like that, it doesnt matter what it is you drive, ride, etc, causing harm to another road shouldnt make you happy, there are some strange people out there
    stay safe on the roads!!!

  • Gildasd

    Last saturday I had a ride.
    A group ride.
    About 25 people.
    Two abreast.
    With two team cars.
    Over roads going from small one way street – to a dual carriageway.
    From barren to bussy city centres.
    We got playfully honked once in once 5 hours.
    Despite ther being sometimes 20 plus cars stuck behind us.
    And we do it sunday too.

    Welcome to Belgium, a civilised place.

  • http://www.facebook.com/leon.goh1 Leon Goh

    It seems that Melissa has problems with her spelling – no doubt a common problem on forums such as twitter. What I find disturbing is the fact that there is such vehemence in her tone of tweet – this is not only unfortunate but also illustrates wider social issues such as the general apathy that younger generations (I myself am of Gen Y stock) have to others. Wade’s article in the Age not only illustrates that the roads are shared pathways, but with common courtesy and acknowledgment of each other, cyclists and drivers can mitigate and manage the risk on the roads.

  • Meldais

    Hi there!

    I am nospacehere. Or if you like, Melissa. Since you have taking the liberty of screen grabbing my comments and sending a large amount of people to threaten physical assault , starting lists such “Anti-Cycling Fuckwit Slut” and adding me to it, I thought I would come here and attempt to explain where I was coming from.

    Firstly, the people that know me know me know I am entirely antagonistic and when I say things like that Im after the biggest reaction. Do I deserve the amount of abuse I have received and constantly monitor? Probably. Because people on the internet dont understand my brand of … ‘humour’ you’re right, its not funny or witty.

    My issue with cyclists is that they terrify me. People have suggested that ride and find out what its really like from the other side. I could never do what any of you do. I find it
    completely terrifying and I cant fathom how you can put your lives at risk. Sometimes I dont see cyclist, sometimes yes, I have to sit behind them for 5-10 minutes. Is it the worst thing in the world ? No. Am I in constant fear of hitting a cyclist ? Yes. I take as much care as possible, but having just got my license I am not comfortable with cyclist and I have seen them, as is other road users act irresponsibly.

    You are absolutely right, my experiences and feelings do not warrant such comments, and more specifically adding fuel to “that” argument regarding cyclist vs road users. At the end of the day its my inexperience and own personal relationship (my partner rides, as does one of my best friends and Im terrified something is going to happen to them!) that led to those comments, as well as seeing some irresponsible behaviour. Something I cant fathom though is the 1 meter campaign they have at the moment. Anywhere where I drive there is very little bike lanes, and it would impossible for me to keep a meter distance unless I started driving into oncoming traffic. That I dont understand.

    To all the designers out there that said they wouldnt hire me, entirely your own prerogative.

    Next time I have an opinion Ill be sure to drop the antagonisation, and up the empathy.

    Melissa

  • Gildasd

    I have also just got my driving license, less than a month ago, I’ll scan and send if this fact needs to be checked.

    Do I fell threatened by other road users? Yes.
    Do threaten to “knock off” any other type of user just because I have a “sense of humour” that is unicellular? No.
    Have I or any other driver I know have EVER been stuck 5/10 minutes behind bikes (especially in Belgium)? No.
    Do I think this person is lying about said matter? Yes.
    Do I think that person is trying to justify the unjustifiable? Yes.
    Does she gets away with this abhorent behaviour with non “internet people” because of a pretty smile and a silly laugh? Yes.
    Is that normal? No.
    What do I think of her? Nothing.
    Am I a design professional? Yes.
    Will she be getting a job from me or any of my collegues? No.

    Can I get away

  • http://www.cyclingTipsBlog.com cyclingTips

    Thanks for dropping by and leaving your comment Melissa. It’s actually very big of you to do so and I applaud that.

    As you can probably tell, this is a subject that is very sensitive to cyclists as many of us know people first-hand who are in wheelchairs or have been killed. Unfortunately there are some who give us all a bad name and I see that behavior out on the roads every day.

    In any case, I hope the list that you mention is taken down and I encourage any bullying to stop. That wasn’t my intention and wasn’t aware of that coming about. I’m sure you’re not the person that your tweets imply, however when you broadcast comments to millions of people it can be dangerous.

    All the best and be safe on the roads.

    Wade

  • Meldais

    Yes yes, Im lying. There is part of the road if you drive from Nepean Hwy to Frankston, where there is no bike lanes, and constant oncoming traffic. Yes I was stuck for a long period of time, possibly much longer than 10 minutes.

    I never said I was was trying to “justify” it. Explain it? Yes.

  • JM

    Melissa, it sounds to me as though you have been on the receiving end of some virulent and hateful abuse from which you are unable to defend yourself. How did that make you feel? Im another unimpressed design professional that commutes by bike… generally speaking Id like to think we are more enlightened and respectful of all people, regardless of the colour of their skin or the synthetic fabric of their lycra.

  • Tim

    Why do you “need” to be changing lanes all the time? This goes to the hectic, frenetic way in which Melbournites drive. It’s madness. Chill the eff out.

  • Tim

    I drive and ride (400-600km a week on bike). Saturday morning on the way for a surf, as a cycling motorist is shameful. Gives us all a bad name. Peeps jumping into the inside lane – no head checks – is madness. I totally understand why many motorists have such a poor opinion.

    As CT has said before the NRR and HR should be showcasing how it could be done, but it degenerates into a shocking display of lack of commonsense and is just poor form.

    At the end of the day you can bang away arguing with motorists and you’ll change nothing. Best thing to do is ride smart, wave to cars as much as possible, be cool and change em one driver at a time.

    PS don’t ride Punt/Hoddle peak hour. That’s just stupid.

  • Tim

    +1 the Euro steez.
    Maybe as so many people in the EU ride.

    Unfortunately, in AU we have a background of minimal and sparse populations and an attitude of “it’s my road”, no obstructions and not having to live on top of each other.

    Until we get to 35 million and people get used to driving slow, taking time, and bikes are seen as legitimate forms of transport and leisure, we’ll continue to have overweight, nasty, rushed, stressed people trying to scratch each others eyes out over the interwebz.

    Reckon everyone needs to chill out. Take a trip to France. Do some cycling. Do some driving. See how it’s done.
    I also reckon angry drivers should ride on the roads a bit. Bit of perspective never hurt.

  • Tim

    Sounds like you need some more supervised time on the road.

    I reckon the P plate age needs to be lifted. Too many examples of young people with not enough experience (myself at 18, and my cousins included).

    +1 Wade’s comment. Good on you for stopping by.

    Good example of how there is no tone context via Twitter. Need to be explicitly clear and not subjective.

    Maybe you could borrow your partners bike and go for a ride with some people from here. I promise you’ll be looked after and it’s not as scary as it seems (my gf is just as terrified as you, so you’re not alone).

    The 1m campaign makes total sense. From my understanding, it’s actually against the law for you to be in the same lane as a bike when passing. So, just give us a meter. If that means hopping into the other lane, then do it.

    I struggle to think of many roads where the lanes are so narrow that a standard car width, plus 1 m, plus cyclist, would put you in the next lane across.

  • http://www.BrandWorld.com.au/ Priestie

    The common sense approach is the best approach for both motorist AND cyclist. I’m sick of muppet drivers, and muppet cyclists, wise words Wade.

  • Mr Bailey

    If you wouldn’t say it across a dinner table the probably best you don’t say it online. Sarcasm doesn’t come across in text very well. Welcome to the Internet.

    Don’t worry about the designers and their single speeds. They probably don’t ride them anyway and by the time you graduate and are looking for work they will have moved on to the next “cool thing” by then.

  • justhappytoride

    Melissa has apologised profusely and come to see our (the cyclist’s) side of the story. We need to continue to win over more people like her (especially those new to driving), so give her a break. Aggressive language and threats are not going to make our roads safer. Yes her initial comments were out of line, but she has shown the courage to acknowledge that. We are all human and should be allowed to make mistakes.

    And please refrain from the sexist and belittling comments (regardless of your own gender); her “pretty smile” and definitely her “silly laugh” need to stay out of these discussions.

    Lets make our roads peaceful and safe.

  • http://yabastaphotography.blogspot.com Yabasta

    Spot on. I think it might have been on these very pages where it was Simon Gerrans ( I think) who said that they ride two abreast but if they are on narrow roads or potentially hindering flow, they drop to single file. Good enough for the PRO’s? Good enough for flash weekend warriors.
    As for the twitter twit…this sentence has wasted more on her than i wanted to…tut tut!

  • AaronG

    I agree with all of the above comments regarding the Ditsy Princess’s thoughtless Twitter. I need to add one, though. Princess, please, “cyclist” is singular (eg I hate that cyclist); “cyclists” is plural (eg I hate those cyclists). I’m happy to complete your grade 3 education. Call me……..

    CT, in reference to a previous post, could you organise a “Drive to Work Day” in each capital city. I’d love to leave the bike at home, fill up the old Mazda with petrol and drive around aimlessly at both peak hours to clog up the streets for a day to prove a point. I could even fake a mechanical breakdown in the middle lane, call the RAA and watch the traffic back up for miles. I’ll leave it with ya oh You with So Much Power……………

  • http://www.BrandWorld.com.au/ Priestie

    I agree mate, fighting fire with fire is futile, it just adds fuel to the ‘I’m righters’.

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