To be brutally honest it was a major reason why Charlotte and I decided to leave Sydney and move to the Sunshine Coast.
We got ‘over’ fearing for our lives each time we went out riding on our bikes… but slowly and unfortunately that fear is coming back and it’s all to real. Even here on the sunny coast.
On Eater Saturday fairly early when the roads where still quite, Rich Thompson and I were happily riding along – two abreast, which was very legal and within our rights on our way to a quick coffee stop in Eumundi (the hinterland of the sunshine coast). In the matter of seconds, we had an irate driver on his horn from about 200m back and speeding up to us as we came into a round about.
He slammed on his brakes and skidded up to us, screaming out his window. Then spun his wheels as he veered around us only to turn in towards us and slam on his breaks again. Calling us the C word and going mental. He was planning to get out of the car as we rolled around him and then he spun his wheels again and headed for me. It was here I thought this guy was going to deliberately run me over. I got myself off my bike on the side of the road as this guy continued his aggressiveness and verbal assault before driving off.
We got his number plate, spoke with a witness (who a few minutes later came back to tell us this maniac was on his way back). Indeed he was, but this time he stopped his car in the middle of the road and got out of his car. Rich got a short video (over at my facebook page) and only part of the confrontation. He got much worse before he got better.
One thing here is majorly important. Years ago, I would have lost my cool and my temper and likely made the situation worse. But as much as I would have liked to deck this guy, what would it have achieved? He would have become more aggressive and next time he came across cyclist may have done the unthinkable.
We need to see change but we need to become part of this change and behave appropriately. As pissed off as I was, I was able to diffuse the situation and in fact eventually got an apology out of this guy! I couldn’t believe it. But just imagine, that this guy actually thinks twice about his actions in future. That may potentially save a fellow cyclists life.
This shouldn’t be an us versus them. We need to be the change we want to see. We need to obey the road rules, the same as we do when we drive our cars. Sure there are many cyclists that do break the rules, run red lights and annoy drivers and there are many drivers who also break the law. Don’t be one of them.
Don’t be the impatient person in the car. Even to other road users. We all have a choice. We can react, get angry and achieve nothing or we can be proactive. How much stress would we avoid if we let people in. Lets lead by example.. whether we are on our bikes or driving our cars. Change happens with us.
P.S. I got a lot comments on my facebook page and amazingly one who sided with the driver. The issue is that too many people are in a rush for no reason. We too easily get angry. I can say that I used to be an angry person but I made a decision that being angry doesn’t serve me or anyone for that matter and to this day I still have to work hard on keeping a level head. Let’s make a difference.