Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Dismount? My arse!

I don't know who the culprit is here - a silly council or the UTS rowing club, but someone has gone to a lot of trouble to paint some white warning stripes on this corner of the bike/pedestrian path, along with a big sign on the ground saying "dismount from bike".

Now I don't have a problem with the safety message that these people are trying to send, but I do have a HUGE problem with the way they are trying to stop people crashing into each other on this corner.

A word of explanation - the path at this point snakes around the rowing club in an S-shape, and it is quite narrow at one end and visibility is badly impeded by trees, large shrubs and of course a 2-storey rowing club. Essentially it is a pair of blind bends, and only fools go tearing around it like there is no tomorrow.

Unfortunately, the world is full of fools, and I have had a number of near-miss head-on collisions at this corner with other cyclists who have declined to apply the brakes before fanging it around a busy, blind corner. Since all of them were smaller than me, and I was on the correct side of the path (and they weren't), most had no option but to swerve and take to the shrubbery, which is no fun on a bike. One guy went into the bushes and crashed to the ground, and I didn't bother stopping and going back to help him up, since he was a complete dickhead.

However, apart from the stupid cyclists with a death wish (if they crash into me, I will beat them to a pulp), there are many other potential hazards at this corner:

  • Drunken patrons who stumble out of the club, then gaggle in the middle of the S-bend and fill the entire path with no regard for passing joggers, cyclists etc
  • Pram pushers who try and take the bends two, or even three, abreast, thus blocking the path from kerb to kerb
  • Walking groups (generally families) who walk 2, 3 and even 4 abreast, and steadfastly refuse to get out of the way of anyone coming the other way, or up behind them
  • Dog walkers who keep their mutt on a loose leash, meaning that they are walking along one side of the road and their dog on the other, with a leash connecting the two
  • Joggers who jog on the wrong side of the path
Now I guess the easiest group to pick on are the cyclists, since they are the fastest moving, but I am yet to see two cyclists trying to go around these bends side by side. I have always taken the sensible approach, which is to get down into bottom gear and amble around the bends at a pace slightly above that of a fast walk. In other words, I have as much time to avoid a collision as a speedy pedestrian, which presumably puts me at about the same risk of smashing into someone else.

I'm buggered if I am ever going to get off my bike. The council or the rowing club can stick it up their bum as far as I am concerned.

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