I live in the St George area, in Sydney. Early one morning, about 2010, I was riding my Honda 350 to work, along Hillcrest Ave, approaching Hurstville. I was chuffing along at 50-60 km/h, in the free-flowing right hand lane. Traffic was almost at a standstill in the left hand lane. I saw the 4WD in the left lane, bristling with aerials, and I saw its front wheels turn right. It advanced a little from its lane, then stopped. I felt sure that the driver had seen me, causing him to stay where he was. At all but the wrong time, he suddenly pulled into my lane. All I could do was to get onto the wrong side of the road. I was very fortunate that there was nothing coming the other way. Having missed him, I hit the throttle, intending to round him up and gesticulate. He must have also hit the throttle very hard, as I found myself unable to overtake. I was in the middle of the Hillcrest and King George’s Rd intersection, on the wrong side of the road, and heading for the now oncoming traffic. I pulled back into my lane and followed the miscreant up the hill. Steam was coming out of my ears. I was now at the red light at the top of the hill, right behind the miscreant. More steam. I thought “bugger it, I’m going to say something”, so I pulled around him and parked across his bows. He blew the horn. I slowly got off the bike and fixed him with my best steely gaze. Looking right at him, I slowly walked to his driver’s door, as all the other traffic got their green light and departed. He lowered his driver’s window. That’s when I saw the police uniform. Nonetheless, I said to him, with plenty of attitude in my tone…”Sir, next time you go to change lanes, why not have a look…..first ?” He was looking right at me, but said nothing. Trying to maintain my swagger, I slowly walked back to my bike, thinking “hell, don’t ride this bloody bike for at least a month, they’ll be looking for you.” I rode up to the red traffic light. He got into the lane beside me. There we were, side by side, waiting. I thought “don’t look at him, let him go first”. He took off like a bat out of hell, driving erratically. Perhaps he wasn’t all that happy.
Naturally, I’ve retold this story many times. In time, I told a friend who is in the Force. My friend smiled very broadly. “Phil, you road raged a copper and got away with it?” “Yeah” said I, “you might even know him”. “Unlikely, there’s a helluva lot of us. Go on, what’s his name?” When I told him, his eyes widened and his jaw dropped. “That’s one of the Assistant Commissioners. Wait, Maybe he has a son who has the same name. You saw his nameplate. Do you remember the colour of the plate, and the colour of the writing on the plate?” “Yes. White plate with black writing.” “Whoa, that’s him alright. Only the Commissioner and the ACs have those plates. Phil, you didn’t touch his car, did you? And you didn’t see his hands, either?” “No. What are you talking about?” “Since you approached him, one hand would’ve been holding the gun, and the other the capsicum spray. If you’d touched the car, you would’ve seen both, and you were being recorded.” “I bet he deleted that as soon as he could.” As riders, we see far too much dross from other motorists. Some of their behaviour is dangerous. Even so, it’s safer to take a more defensive and patient stance on the road, making sure that the red mist does not take over. This incident has certainly cured me of road rage, even though I’m very unlikely to ever lock horns on the road with another Police AC. Phil Ward Hurstville NSW