CY­CLING WOES

The Tribune (NZ) - - CONVERSATIONS -

I was cy­cling through an in­ter­sec­tion re­cently, when two cars came rac­ing up be­hind me on ei­ther side, try­ing to beat the lights. I was per­fectly vis­i­ble, but I only heard one of these two driv­ers take her foot off the ac­cel­er­a­tor, and only at the last minute, sug­gest­ing that nei­ther of them cared par­tic­u­larly if I fin­ished up em­bed­ded in their front bumper.

NZ driv­ers are fre­quently self­ish, ag­gres­sive, im­pul­sive, poorly skilled, and quite of­ten a lethal com­bi­na­tion of all four. It’s not dif­fi­cult to see why NZ has so many crashes and road deaths. The car is a big part of many peo­ple’s iden­tity, and most peo­ple can’t imag­ine why some­one would ride a bi­cy­cle, if they didn’t have to. Cy­clists are there­fore re­garded as ‘‘losers’’, and not re­ally en­ti­tled to be on the road at all.

When cy­cling, I look be­hind me, check if mo­torists have seen me, and quite of­ten pull over and wait for traf­fic to clear. Since I also drive, I know what it’s like for the mo­torist; eg. it’s hard to judge how close a cy­clist is if they’re on the pas­sen­ger side of your car. Not all cy­clists are as con­sid­er­ate or as skilled as me, and I have seen cy­clists do some stupid things too, but no more fre­quently than mo­torists.

Karen Tutt

Wes­tend

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