Monday 27 July 2009

Ninjas annoy me

A Ninja - my term for idiot, Darwin-candidate cyclists who tear down dark streets all dressed in black with no lights and no reflectors.

Cretins. Or Cretans, if you prefer to spell it that way.

They believe they are fine doing what they are doing because they can see approaching cars, unaware that approaching drivers can't see them. So when a driver thinks they are the only vehicle on the street and they decide to do a U-turn, almost collecting the cyclist, the cyclist has a go at the driver in righteous indignation, accusing the driver of being anti-cyclist and trying to kill them etc etc. The driver then drives away thinking that all cyclists are meat heads, and one more driver is now bad mouthing everyone that rides a bike as fools, poltroons and law breaking, risk taking maniacs.

I light myself up like a Xmas tree. I have a majorly bright light up front, and if that fades to black, I have a spare as backup. There are two flashing red lights at the rear, and I have not removed the orange reflective disks from my wheels in order to make the bike look cool. I dress in any colour but black - the more fluorescent, the better. I avoid streets with bad lighting. I expect drivers not to see me, and plan accordingly. I ride in the expectation that on every ride, at least one driver will zone out and fail to see me, resulting in them doing something stupid and dangerous.

I saw a Ninja when I was going to the shops tonight. None of the above happened, because I was on foot. I never walk or ride with an iPod plugged in - I like to have all my senses active when moving around. I heard this fool coming up behind me as I walked along the footpath - his tyres going wsshh-wshhh-wsshhh on the tarmac - and that was the only indicator that there was a cyclist on the road. He blended in so perfectly, I only saw him when he was a few parked cars away.

Dead meat on a stick.


kc said...

I expect drivers not to see me, and plan accordingly.

THAT is the best way to go. Shows responsibility and a firm grasp of REALITY. And it doesn't matter if I'm driving a big rig or a unicycle, if I ASSUME others won't see me - and plan accordingly - I'm safer than if I believe otherwise.

Richard_H said...

Hear you on the Christmas tree thing BOAB... When I'm riding home, I'm wearing either my lime green riding jacket, or a high viz tee shirt, front and rear lights on the bike, light on my helmet and flashing light on my backpack, and more often than not, hi viz ankle straps. You should be able to see me from a couple of hundred metres away. The light on the helmet is particularly useful. You can shine it directly at traffic etc. Consequently, even in the dark western suburbs of Brisbane, cars give me a nice wide berth.

What does sh*t me is pedestrians. Mainly those who wander down the Coronation Drive bike path wearing nice dark suits and get shirty when bikes nearly clip them. Seriously, there's one stretch of the bike track (for the locals, between Oxley's Restaurant and the Regatta Pub) where even we mountain bikers are hitting 35kph. While doing this, I'm searching ahead, looking for shapes that are darker than the background, like an astronomer searching for planets. These are the pedestrians you don't want to knock over.... Clowns