Tuesday 15 May 2012


I occasionally have a gander at cycling forums - as in once or twice a year. I had a look at one last week, and there was a long string of complaints about the bad behaviour of quite a few commuters at peak hour. People racing stupidly, overtaking like morons, lane splitting, barging in, tearing across cross walks when there are pedestrians crossing etc etc etc. As I'm usually on the road before the morning and evening peaks, I rarely witness that sort of thing.

I got caught up at work this afternoon, and for a moment, I thought I was going to be stuck behind that bloody awful pro-Palestinian parade that was due to kick off at 5pm. Thankfully, I was out the door just before it was due to start (I found out later it was delayed until 7pm), but that meant I still had to face the start of peak hour.

Things were OK until I got to the far end of the Pyrmont Bridge - then it turned into a completely undisciplined scrum. Most cyclists formed an orderly queue at the lights, but a few idiots barged in up the front. When the light went green, it was like the start of a major race - the group suddenly went 5 or 6 wide with the front riders fighting to be the first into the bike lane on the other side of the intersection - with bikes coming the other way and pedestrians meandering everywhere and space for only two skinny cyclists riding abreast. Once we got into the bike lane, a few blew through the pedestrian crossing, narrowly missing some women who had right of way. There were cyclists on the wrong side of the road ducking around cars in order to get first position at the lights. A few morons blew right through several red lights. It was sheer bloody madness. I've never seen such a chaotic zoo.

Some of those idiots were pretty fast, and were miles ahead by the time the more law-abiding group made it to the Anzac Bridge - but at that point, the fit and fast moved to the front and the useless lawless types were quickly ridden down. There's no point running red lights if you don't have the legs to take on the hills.

When I started commuting, the bike commuting community was pretty small. We smiled and waved to each other. We took it easy, and didn't cause other people grief. Sure we raced, but only when it was safe and sensible to do so. The rapid growth in commuting over the last few years has dragged in a reasonable leavening of morons - people completely bereft of common sense and courtesy. If they're this bad on a bike, I'd hate to see them behind the wheel of a car.


Philip Addamz said...

Yes I had the same rude shock when I was forced on the Anzac crossing during peak hour last week. There is rudeness everywhere you find the cycling commuter.

But there's ALWAYS another way. Now I just head straight down Pyrmont Bridge Rd, behind the High School and on to the beautiful waterfront around Blackwattle Bay. Much nicer, and flatter.

And the walkers and dog-owners deter the blinkered, get-out-of-my-way cyclists.

Do yourself a favour.

Bruce said...

I don't ride on main roads much these days; I would like to see my teenaged sons reach adulthood. I stopped cycling to work in Brisbane years ago after an intense period of arriving at work almost everyday in a lather of sweat, partly from the effort, but mostly from outright fear from close shaves on the 10Km ride. Late night rides home were also less than fun.

I got a wry grin over your description of certain cyclists; some of them seem to think they are ten feet tall and bulletproof, or some kind of super-hero clone, instead of squishy meat. There was one idiot who actually appeared to have fallen asleep on a downhill run one day. He went through the red traffic lights and slammed into the side of my wife's car in the middle of an intersection. Ruined her morning completely.

These days, if I need to get some serious leg exercise, I restrict myself to hammering along the bike paths (mostly) from the western suburbs of Brisbane to the airport . There are more than enough interesting roundabouts and road crossings to keep the thrill level up.

Anonymous said...

I don't know how anyone can summon the courage to cycle in Sydney's CBD / inner suburbs in peak hours, as an occaisional visitor I find driving there at that time scary enough.

I'm in Perth these days and I did enjoy cycling along the cycle paths beside the Canning and Swan rivers. The old bike spends more time in the garage these days than out on the road, I'm now living in the Perth hills where the uphill sections are too much work.

If you ever come over this way BoaB, try out some of the cycle paths around the rivers, or better still, spend a day cycling around Rottnest.