I AM chucking my bicycle on the tip.
I was going to sell it, but if I sell it someone else will ride it and it’s important to me that no-one does.
I used to ride it when I first arrived In Australia. Then I discovered Australian drivers treat cyclists the same way they treat cane toads — something to aim at on long journeys to relieve the boredom — so I gave it up.
I don’t entirely blame the drivers. Nowadays cyclists make such attractive targets. They wear clothes so bright they bring on instant blindness; and in their desperate endeavour to be seen (thereby reducing the risk of being hit) they actually ensure they make such clear targets that you can’t miss!
When I rode a bike the only piece of dedicated kit you needed besides the bike was bicycle clips. Now there’s a whole industry devoted to selling cute stuff to make cyclists look cool.
But there’s nothing cool about lying in the road with 4WD tracks across your back and your front wheel folded like an enchilada.
And when I say I don’t entirely blame the drivers what I really mean is that I blame the drivers almost entirely.
It is not hard to miss a cyclist. They take up very little room on the road. It is harder to miss an outback road train. The difference, of course, is that if you see something the size of a ship cruising towards you, you really don’t want to hit it; but if it’s a cyclist, who cares!
Besides the cyclist, that is.
In other countries when drivers meet cyclists on narrow roads, they wait until there’s space to give them a wide berth, and then they pass. It saves having to separate skin and hair from bicycle spokes and brake blocks.
Nor do they suffer terminal embarrassment because the driver of the car behind might be getting impatient. They just wait until the road widens, or there’s nothing coming the other way, or they can see round the bend.
I blame the government. When they noticed that cyclists were getting killed in large numbers did they think about educating road users? Did they try to inculcate a little mutual respect?
No! They made cyclists wear helmets. The message was: “People are going to try to kill you, so you’d better wear something to make it harder.”
I guess it’s part of the Aussie sport culture.
It’s much more sportsmanlike to give the victim a sporting chance to get away. Or at least get away without a crushed skull.
I’m surprised they don’t make cyclists wear brown and green camouflage gear so they blend in with their surroundings and you can’t actually see them at all.
But then drivers would miss them altogether, and that would never do.
So I’m throwing my bike away and I suggest you do the same. The only safe place for cycling that I’ve come across is the Townsville Esplanade. I mean safe for cyclists, naturally.
It’s possible to run over the occasional old lady, dog, or skater, but at cycling speeds the damage is rarely terminal. Broken limbs, greenstick fractures, that sort of thing is all.
And hey, they’re really all pedestrians – and who cares about pedestrians…