Archive for the 'Altercations' Category

Small victories and bad juju.


This morning I had yet another run in with a motor vehicle while on my commute. This time is was with a massive flatbed truck, exactly the kind you don’t want to mess with. The truck was going to turn right, and to make enough room for himself he veered left into the bike lane, right in front of me, cutting me off. Funnily I was suspicious as soon as I saw him, in the sixth sense spooky way that you sometimes get while on your bike in peak hour traffic, so I wasn’t altogether surprised when he cut me off. I was still a little pissed of though, because he could have killed me, so in my zen Buddhist kind of way I rode over and began to yell at him to stop and wind his window down. Initially he was quite defensive, as most people are when being yelled at by a loser on a bike. I told him he cut me off, and he responded that he had indicated. I pointed out that he didn’t indicate as he veered left into the bike lane, but did indicate that he was turning right. He thought about it for a minute, and then did the strangest thing I have ever seen in my time as a commuter. He agreed with me! “Sorry mate” he said. I was taken aback, in all of my communications with motorists it is a very rare thing for a driver to acknowledge that they may have been in the wrong, but he did. I thanked him, giving him a thumbs up, and continued on my merry way. Perhaps, I thought to myself, he will look next time. I understand the difficulties he must have driving such a massive thing, and maneuvering it must be a bit of a nightmare, but if my little spat at him will help him look that little bit harder next time, maybe I might help someone else from getting run over in the future. How self important I am, I thought as I trundled down the road.

Speaking of that strange feeling you get when badness is looming out there on the streets, I noticed a whole big bag of bad juju as I headed home from work a couple of nights ago. It’s the strangest thing, that feeling of dread that seems to hang over the city at certain times. I’m not sure if it was because of my notion of doom that perhaps I rode more cautiously than usual, but I made it to the city without incident. Then as I was climbing the hill to RMIT I had to weave through a large group of people who were waiting for the tram to pull up, but felt it was better to wait on the road than on the footpath. “You’re supposed to stop” a woman’s voice called out. I turned to see a middle aged woman glaring at me. I agreed that cyclists are supposed to stop for trams, but once the tram had indicated its stopping with those funny little orange flashing lights on the side, and that she shouldn’t be waiting in the middle of the road. She huffed at me and told me that she would remember that the next time she was driving and “you run a red light.” I told her I didn’t run reds, which isn’t strictly true, although I don’t make a habit out of it, and she replied “you must be the only one in creation.” She then boarded the tram and was out of my life. But she wasn’t out of my head, damn it. I wish I had a chance to talk to her in greater depth about the issues that were raised in ire. I wish I had a chance to tell her that two wrongs don’t make a right, and all that other self righteous crap, but the thing that bugged me most was her “you cyclists” mentality. I am a single cyclist, and by no means do I claim to represent anyone else out there in the world who cycles, nor would I want to. To be fair, I sometimes tend to lump motorists into one evil seething bag of distrust, but mostly out of safety’s sake. I find the safest way to not get killed on the roads is to not trust motorists one little bit. But to lump all “us cyclists” in together seems a little harsh. Of course there are bad cyclists out there, the ones that mountain bike jump onto the footpath in order to run a red light etc, but seriously, come on lady! Maybe if you got in the saddle once in your life you would see what it means out there on the streets.

Anyway, needless to say, the bad juju wasn’t that bad. I just had an annoying run-in with an annoying pedestrian. It could have been much worse. At least she wasn’t driving a flat bed truck.


Pregnant Driver Tries to Wipe Out Merri Creek Bike Path

In breaking news, a pregnant motorist has driven her car down a Merri Creek embankment in Fairfield today. Witnesses claim she was heading for the bike path, but then realised she had left her bike at home, and was actually driving her car. She managed to pull up just metres before the bike path. Apparently a group of training cyclists took the opportunity to hurl abuse at her as the sped by, narrowly missing several children on the training scooters pushing along the Merri Creek bike path.

11th Feb 2009 Afternooon Ride Home

So, everything was fine. made it down St Kilda Rd, narrowly avoiding the copious amounts of cars behaving badly, jutting arses out, turning from ridiculous lanes, the usual. Made it through the city, past the buses and pedestrians desperately trying to get hit by bikes while jaywalking. As I approached the intersection of Swanston and Franklin Streets, I heard some sort of ruckus. Outside the little Gloria Jeans coffee shop opposite from RMIT there were two ladies having an altercation. The younger one, in her 20s I would guess, was screaming and pushing this older lady around. I’d say the older lady was in her mid to late 30s. Anyway, so the younger lady is wearing an apron, evidently she works in the Gloria Jeans cafe, and is screaming at the other women “Don’t you fucking tell me to get fucked!!!” and other pleasantries at the top of her lungs. Upon closer inspection it looked as if the older woman had some kind of milky drink splashed all over the front of her black top. She was trying to back away from the younger woman, repeating things like “I’m going to call the police!” All this was being taken in quite quickly as I and the other cyclists pulled up to a red light at the intersection. The guy in front turned around and was like “What the fuck?” and I was like “It looks like someone is going to be fired today.” then the lights changed and we all sped off up the hill towards Melbourne Uni. All I could do was to use my imagination to fill in the blanks. What had the older woman done to upset the young lady so much. I really need to know.