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Thursday, May 23, 2013

CYCLISTS ARE PEOPLE TOO

I'm so fed up beyond comprehension right now.

Now, if you can't guess from the title of this post, this me expressing my feelings over how badly disrespected cyclists are – Especially by those driving this little thing on 4 wheels, called a car. 

Now, I drive a car and I also cycle, and so yes I can understand how sometimes when you are driving your car, a cyclist may appear out of nowhere and begin cycling at their normal to fast pace (which is obviously glacially slow in comparison to the fast cars on the road) right in front of you. You may respond in one of 3 ways: 
a) You violently overtake them in a dangerous, speeding frenzy
b) You complain and yell at them from the inside of your car (with the windows rolled up) 
c) A combination of the above, except your window is down and your sticking your head out the window hurling abuse at them 

We can all feel this way, especially if we're in a hurry (let's be honest here) but it's different once you put yourself in the shoes of the cyclist (or rather the pedals...ba dum tsh) and that's when you realise that hurling abuse at them or nearly causing an accident while overtaking, is probably not the way to go. Especially considering that the time you saved getting to your destination by overtaking that cyclist only amounted to about 3.5 seconds total. 

I experienced this first-hand, because one day, a really lovely, sunny and beautiful day, I decided to cycle home after work and I was cycling on a virtually deserted road. I was on my side of the road (the left side, here in Australia) when I checked behind me to see if there was any traffic, thinking I could pop onto the equally deserted pedestrian path if there were vehicles driving behind me, I saw a small red car with its learning plates on. 

Now if you're unfamiliar on how the driving system works in Australia, when you turn 16 you're allowed to drive a car as long as you are supervised by an adult with a full license. It's also a requirement to stick these yellow square plates on your car with a big, black 'L' on them – So we can spot you learner drivers from a mile away. 

So as I realised it was probably selfish of me to stay on the road, I went to get onto the footpath, waiting for a suitable dip in the kerb that wasn't occupied by a never ending row of parked cars. Before I could turn off, the little car sped up behind me, beeped 3 times and violently overtook me. Now,  almost killing me as I nearly flipped my bike fully over in shock and surprise, WAS NOT ENOUGH. No. The woman supervising the female driver (I'm assuming it was her mother teaching her daughter to drive) actually leant out of her window and yelled abuse as me, slightly reminiscent of: 
"You f**king little s**t, get off the bloody road you stupid f**ker" 

Let's take a moment to give this woman a round of applause for setting such a wonderful example on prime driving to her underage daughter. Well done random woman on the road. Well done. 

And I bet it wasn't even the driver who beeped the horn, hell, it was probably the mother who swerved the car to the side and beeped the horn for her. And thanks to that little incident, it kind of ruined the rest of my day – I was actually quite shook up from such random harassment, I really didn't know how to feel about it. 

The worst part is, as a cyclist, if you stay in your bike lane, drivers ignore you completely and practically kill you (let's face it, you're invisible) and if you drive on the road you get beeped at, verbally abused (etc.) and if you ride on the footpath, pedestrians practically murder you with their piercing glares or snide remarks. 

Well cyclists are people too, and that means we should be a little bit more considerate of them on the road. Just a little bit. After all, no one wants to instigate a car accident. Or maybe they do. But they would be a pretty bad person, and probably in need of some psychological evaluation. 

That's all I have for you all tonight, 
Margot Ana xx

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