Bowen's Report Card
My Disdain Towards Cyclists Has Waned
On July 29 2019 I wrote an article about cyclists, I went pretty heavy on them and was suitably admonished by many keen riders. The original article is below for context, since then I’ve dropped the divide and conquer commentary. Much of which was inspired by those I worked with at the time, although no one forced me to type such words.
I Still Don’t Get It
Come 2021, and I’m still at a loss when it comes to the mindset of cyclists. These people probably all drive cars, and work in a vast array of industries just like everyone else.
Every couple of Saturday’s I drive my son to his swimming lesson around 8am in the morning. We live in a semi-rural part of North West Sydney, so the roads are mostly goat tracks. With the onset of colder weather, we also experience regular and significant fog. The Hawkesbury region experienced terrible floods last month and many of the local roads are still in urgent need of repair.
So off we went last week in the above conditions. Once again, we pulled up behind perhaps 20 to 30 riders, riding three abreast. To their credit, the groups do make an effort to make overtaking possible; although waving me by usually requires slipping past over double lines, with low visibility. Many are wearing camera equipment to capture any atrocities from people on four wheels. Although I guess it’s no different to a dashcam.
What actually inspired me to revisit this was the fact an accident had occurred. It appeared that a number of riders had stacked it after hitting potholes or lose gravel. Without knowing the full details, it did require emergency services to attend the scene.
I know accidents happen and far more people in cars end up injured, or worse, than cyclists.
However, I still don’t get their thinking. I fail to understand why anyone would ride a bike on Sydney’s M2 Motorway. Or the M7, even though there’s a 40km long bike lane next to it. Or what about the notorious Galston Gorge. The very heavily used link from Galson, NSW to the Hornsby area is perilous. The winding road is full of hairpins and steep climbs and has a speed limit of 60km/h. Even when travelling at 30km/h around a blind corner, there’s a good chance at the very least I’ll be hard on the anchors to avoid hitting 10 cyclists.
For me it’s all about culpability. I don’t understand how some don’t fully grasp that metal always trumps flesh. There has to be a better way.
Anyway, here are my 2019 thoughts. Before reading on please consider the below.
I’m the first to put my hand up and admit I need to shed some kilos. I’m in awe of the early morning joggers, those who take a dip in the ocean or face the torture that is F45.
But for a little while now a simmering rage has been burning within me, the source of my angst is cyclists. For whatever reason once these people slip into some lycra, they become a rogue citizen.
Take for example Sydney’s M2 Motorway. Currently bike riders are allowed to use the breakdown lane between the Lane Cove Tunnel and Pennant Hills Road. The rest of the route is then closed because of NorthConnex road works right through to Windsor Road until 2020.
I do not understand the mentality of someone who’d actually want to be anywhere near this area. We’re talking about a 100km/h motorway, with all manner of vehicles trying to safely get home or go to work. What’s worse is the fact many of these cyclists frequently score a puncture, because that’s the nature of a road shoulder. It’s where all the crap ends up.
We have a situation where these people are literally sitting ducks. I have no doubt at some stage someone will be seriously injured or worse, most likely the result of collateral damage from a vehicle accident. Because despite the fact you have the right to ride on that section of road, metal and flesh don’t mix.
What I find even more astounding is the fiasco on Sydney’s M7. Again, our two-wheeled friends can use the freeway shoulder. This is despite the fact there’s a dedicated cycleway that cost a shitload to build running alongside it.
I live it North West Sydney in a semi-rural area, often on a weekend morning I’m confronted by two, three or four cyclists riding shoulder to shoulder in a pack. The twisty and hilly nature of the roads in our area means you can’t get past; you literally just have to tag behind and cop it. The only alternative would be to risk overtaking on double lines.
These people don’t pay tolls or registration I also think many of them turn into instant car haters the moment they straddle that seat. They’re more than happy to film some atrocity a car has performed, but rarely admit to being roving red flags to a bull.
I’m telling you; the lycra set’s brain matter works differently to the rest of us, I’m surprised they bother with a helmet. Risking your life on a metropolitan motorway is potentially Darwinism in action.