Monday, October 28, 2013

MY NEIGHBOUR ! What chance with others ?

SMIDSY ( S orry M ate I d idn't s ee Y OU )  from a neighbour , hurrying to a Sunday afternoon drive ?

An attitude of "I AM BIGGER THAN YOU " , as the blue estate car pulled into a slightly wider street , from the one lane track that runs past his house . I have not had a look to see if this peasant , actually lives in that lane , which i am allowed to ride a bike along , but is signposted against " Rat running ". No point as he had driven off elsewhere .

Living in rural Tirol ( An area bidding for the UCI Road Race Champs in 2016? ) of Austria , in the village of a Radio Shack Racer , you would think that the locals are aware of Cyclists . Not so , the local Polizei only see me when the local turd complains about me stopping them in their driveway to explain that , " I ride to promote " BEHINDERTEN ( disabled/para ) SPORT " , not to join them !

My gate is on RHS of photo past house , note the road sign and width of lane used by neighbour ! The white car is about where the Blue Estate car stopped.

The road i live in , is 40kph and 10M east of my entrance there  is a choke point that is wide enough for a Bus/Truck to pass through whilst others travelling west wait . Regularly in the afternoon , as i sit in the sun , i see Coaches having to back up East , so as to allow another Bus/Coach/truck to pass through . No doubt this is because there is more backed up traffic going west ? This road is NOT the main road , but has become an escape route since local bus services use it to capture more passengers in the winter . Many of the houses , are winter accomodation for Skiers , thus walking in Ski Boots and carrying Skis , etc , poses an unacceptable burden for the visitor ? Local traffic at this time of year involves many tractors towing extra sized Farm machinery .

My gate is on LHS of photo

When the village has the " Speed Radar Display ", and when i am not aware of it , i usually see 35kph displayed , but when i know it is there , i am trying for in excess of 45kph , OOps , i meant 40kph ! This village is 40kph throughout , but  vehicles make sure they get in front of you , before they decide to observe the " Speed Limit ", when they remember ?

Yesterday , i was 50M from my gate bowling along at 30+kph , when " Herr A**ole , arrived at the end of his lane , looked at me ,  ABSOLUTELY SURE  he saw me , looked right for vehicles , then drove into my space ! The part of the road i was on , was NOT WIDE ENOUGH for 2 vehicles to pass , but hey a BIKE, THAT CAN STOP , can't it ? Well i went left and stopped in his path , he stopped blocking the road , looked at me , like " WHAT ARE YOU DOING THERE "? Then imperiously waved , get out of my way  ! Woman passenger was looking at me saying something , then at him , then he shrugged , like " What do we do now "? Well no point talking to him , hopefully the woman was filling his ear ?

Previous blogposts , have mentioned a variety of other incidents in this road , let alone elsewhere . Fact is , whereever you live as a Cyclist , you can NOT RELAX , each vehicle poses a hazard , regardless of whether it is following or coming towards you . Brad Wiggins wins the " Le Tour " and a neighbour rewards him with a visit to Hospital . Regular reports of Racers of every Cycling discipline feature in the Media and it is ALWAYS reported as the Media's  " impression ", that the CYCLIST was the cause of THEIR Misfortune !

CYCLISTS choose to ride the roads for a variety of reasons . In my case , yesterday was a means to get out and about , after watching the Solden Ski Races on Eurosport . In past years , i would arrive in the Resort on Tuesday with my bike , ride to the Glacier on several days , ski with the Racers on their training tracks and ASK them to speak about " Para Sport " with the Media . Since my " Fund Raiser " at Solden in 1998 , i have rarely missed Solden or the Kitzbuhel Weekend , but this year with no car the past 2 months , i have been disinclined to rent a car to make the journey . My original plan was to have headed to Oz after this event but as yet still awaiting replies to some matters that i started enquiries about in August ! Some "Jobsworth " is about to receive a kicking from their Head of Department , particularly when i post the blog on that story !

AS most reading will know , i support several " Cycle Safety Blog/Websites " but i am going to plagerise a new site i found today , since it reveals many of the issues i have previously mentioned !




The New site :


A selection of points :

  " what needs to be done is: 
1. Proper funding and world best practice design, even if it means taking space away from moving and parked cars.  This doesn't mean separated Copenhagen-style paths on every street.  It means useful, connected, planned bike routes where necessary, which are separated from cars.  
2. Lowering speed limits: 30kph on local streets and 50kph on connector roads.  Here in Brisbane, and in most Australian cities, the default speed limit is 50kph.  That means that even little laneways, cul-de-sacs, residential neighbourhoods, nursing homes etc. etc. drivers can drive at 50kph and usually drive at 60kph happily. Next up in the hierarchy of roads, collector roads which provide local access but also move traffic from local roads to main routes, speed limits are usually 60kph or 70kph,  which means drivers do anywhere between 65 to 80 kph.  Seriously, if you drive around Brisbane at or below the speed limit, you will get honked at, abused, or cut off by irate drivers who want to stay with the flow of traffic (generally 5 to 10 kph above the posted limit.
3. Changes to the road rules so that cyclists don't have to pretend to be cars, or are at least protected from cars.  Bicycles are not cars and should not be categorised as 'vehicles'. The average person cannot propel a bicycle so as to beat a car to a destination further than 5km away. The average person probably couldn't propel a bicycle across an intersection quicker than a car. Being forced to do so (by having to stop at stop signs or red lights, and being prohibited from crossing with pedestrians) means the average person won't even try.
4. Get rid of mandatory helmet laws.  There's lots of evidence that while helmets may prevent some types of head injury in the unlikely event of some types of crashes, the social damage mandatory helmet laws cause (disincentive to cycling, shaping cycling culture as a male-dominated sporting culture, risk compensation, signalling that cyclists are responsible for mitigating danger etc. etc.) far outweighs the advantages. Despite this, State Government still churns out the propaganda.
Some submissions call for an awareness campaign.  Even though none have worked before, not even Scotland's depressingly fucked up Niceway Code campaign (which even goes so far to say that cyclists are not even a subspecies, they're horses).
The problem with most government produced awareness campaigns is that they are usually undermined by government's inherent, car-centric bias.  Some pinhead in Scotland's traffic department probably thought cyclists wouldn't mind being ridiculed, if it got drivers onside. I wonder how many Scottish cyclists get carrots thrown at them instead of beer bottles. 
Australian governments have the same bias.  For example, Queensland's 'Share the Road' campaign went to great lengths to deliver twin messages with equal weighting: It takes two to tango, so cyclists follow the road rules and motorists give cyclists plenty of room.   Thereby entrenching the fallacy that cyclists disobey the road rules more than cars do. 
Here's the message for drivers, encouraging them to give cyclists plenty of room on the road:

Those reading the above points will have seen much of the same in Blogs from UK, US  European & other Oz sites !


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