Hell hath no fury like a rider scorned

The Daily Examiner - - TASTE - MAX CRUS

THERE’S a lot of press lately about cy­clists and mo­torist be­ing at log­ger­heads again.

Ap­par­ently cy­clists are be­ing pinged un­der the new fines regime for not wear­ing hel­mets, rid­ing on the foot­path, break­ing red lights and stuff that now costs you $300 plus, yet no car drivers have been busted over the same pe­riod for driv­ing too close to cy­clists.

A bit one-sided say the ly­cra-lovers.

Well, der. Politicians don’t ride bikes. So, the so­lu­tion is sim­ple, vote for those who do or get over it.

Hark, is that rocks I hear upon my roof al­ready? Okay, okay.

This whole driv­ing too close thing com­bined with rid­ers insisting that two abreast is best, is cre­at­ing more fric­tion than a sand­pa­per bike seat, and is a recipe for, well, more of the same.

Rooted deep in the heart of our smarmy con­vict cul­ture, the con­cept that all Aus­tralians own their bit of road and that whomever shall trespass de­serves to be pun­ished is uni­ver­sally ac­cepted (by Aus­tralians).

As a topic of con­ver­sa­tion it’s up there with pol­i­tics, re­li­gion and co­in­ci­den­tally, driv­ing skills – ap­proach with caution. Just as mo­torists should cy­clists on the road.

But they don’t and it’s even more fraught on the road than at a din­ner party.

Both par­ties are aware of the other’s propen­sity to do dan­ger­ous or an­noy­ing things and of each other’s propen­sity to re­act ag­gres­sively or bel­liger­ently, so how does each typ­i­cally re­act to a sit­u­a­tion, or de­bate?

Yes, with ag­gres­sion and bel­liger­ence. Haha, come on Aussie c’mon, c’mon. That’ll fix it.

There is a re­ally sim­ple so­lu­tion but alas it will not work.

Rid­ers, stop rid­ing two-abreast ex­cept where it’s safe (here’s a tip – if cars come too close, it’s un­safe). Drivers, give them space. How hard is that?

Per­haps of­fend­ers should be made to ride bikes for a year or drive a car at 30km/h?

Sadly, chang­ing Aussie be­hav­iour will take decades and must be­gin at preschool where, un­com­fort­ably, the be­hav­iour of par­ents will be shown to be un­be­com­ing, an­ti­so­cial and il­le­gal… just what the kids (and the par­ents) want to hear. Won’t that be fun?

Oth­er­wise we could put ev­ery­one in a room to­gether and ply them with co­pi­ous wine.

At first ag­gres­sion will in­crease and the pug­na­cious ones will be ar­rested, but the re­main­der will suc­cumb to the wine and be­come friends or so ine­bri­ated they can’t drive or ride, and with the former in jail, the roads will be safer for ev­ery­one.

Pho­tos: Si­mon Hughes

TOP DROP: Crit­ten­den Es­tate Los Her­manos Hom­e­naje (Tem­pranillo/Mataro/ Gar­nacha): 2015, $30. This is the fourth vin­tage of this homage to uvas de Es­pana, and it’s been get­ting bet­ter ev­ery vin­tage, eas­ily the best. Muy bien, amigo. Rat­ing: 9.1/10.

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