Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A bike ride home with Jen - brought to you by Jentopia

You might have heard about the 'bike rage' on the weekend, where about 13 cyclists coming back from round the bay had some hoons swerve into them.

So here is some of my ride home today:

- Get down into the carpark and unlock my bike, putting on my front headlight, helmet light, back bike light and backpack light.

- Walk bike from carpark to road, waiting at pedestrian lights to cross over to Nicholson St, walk bike over pedestrian crossing

- Ride down bike/walk footpath along Nicholson St, can't turn onto the road at Carlton St once I get to the corner of Carlton gardens because cars tear around there too fast.

-Scowl at cyclists riding through the gardens (you're not supposed to)

- Ride up Canning St until I get to a roundabout, enter the single lane roundabout, car comes into roundabout behind me and almost swipes me as it tries to overtake me.

- Catch up to car at lights and scowl at driver

- Wait at lights with about ten other cyclists (some who do go through the lights before they're green)

- Carefully watch each street that joins onto Canning st in case any cars drive through the intersection without looking for cyclists lit up like Christmas trees.

- Ride down Park St, get the green light riding onto Lygon St (bonus!)

- Continue riding down Park St, Brunswick. Almost at end of Park St going down a hill when I slow down at a t-intersection because most people turn left at the intersection and I'm going straight. Sure enough a sports car zooms up but just slows when they see I'm not turning.

- Driver of sports car on mobile phone

- Continue riding down hill, pedestrian steps in front of bike

- Slam on brakes, back wheel slides - and I somehow manage to not fall off.

- Tell pedestrian to 'have a look next time neckface'*, who shouts back that I should 'use my bell'. 'Politely' tell pedestrian to 'go away'*, pedestrian tells me to 'get a frog'*, I tell pedestrian he's a 'wally'*, continue riding while muttering under my breath.

- Ride over the top of citylink (on the footpath)

- Stop at pedestrian lights rather than having to ride on road with cars and try to cross Ormond Rd that way.

- Rest of trip home was okay and I admired the setup for Cox Plate at Moonee Valley.

I love riding now, especially now its a bit warmer. I get fresh air, don't have to put up with Connex (I beat trains home), get some more exercise and I get home in a great mood. But for all that, it just takes one driver who is talking on their phone, one bus where it shouldn't be, one cyclist who decides to race through an intersection (or 100..) - you get my point.

One of the man's friends was hit last week going home on his bike, a car saw him coming and they turned in front of him anyway. And he hit it. Fell over the front bonnet of the car. And the car kept going. Didn't even stop. Thankfully he only broke his toe. His girlfriend has been hit too, by a taxi. Both the man and I have had minor 'hits', the man got side swiped by a ute.

I can't be any more visible. I can't be anymore careful. If you google map my ride home, its all backstreets. Especially Canning St, its fantastic for cyclists getting into the city. Click here to see how awesome it is. I don't know how you guys feel about cyclists.

Its cars, its pedestrians and its cyclists. Sure, pedestrians jaywalk, sure cyclists run red lights, and if they get hit - then thats their fault. But seriously, car drivers need to pull their heads in.

(ducks for cover)

- Jen

*I may have substituted certain words for a more 'family friendly' feel.


Andrew said...

The biggest problem for car drivers, I think, is when they want to turn left and a bike is nearby, either going left or straight ahead. They seem to feel it is wrong to slow down and sit behind the bike for a few seconds, instead, go around closely and then pull in front of the bike.

As for opening car doors in front of cyclists, just carry a gun when you are riding.

Gus said...

Dam, i really don't want to live in the city now dude. Scares me to much.

jase said...

Get a frog, Jen :)
Nah man, that sucks. Pity they don't have shared pathways all through the city. Keep looking out for the other guy though! I might be on the pushy brigade soon. Took my car into the mechanic yesterday and i'm scared what they're gunna say.