The Dynamo Ponders #7
Everyone is watching!
Discussion on how to achieve harmony between all road users seems to be ever more topical recently especially when cyclists are mentioned. It seems that we have all been tarred with the same brush. Though I believe the majority of cyclists endeavour to do the right thing and behave sensibly with safety in mind, the damage is done by the small percentage who selfishly ignore the rules and jeopardise the reputation of cyclists overall. Unfortunately, as seems always to be the case, something bad will need to happen before something good can come of it! But it doesn’t have to be this way.
Collectively, we have the power to PRE-EMPT IT!
A cyclist has just as much right as a motorist to use the roads lawfully. However, with rights comes responsibility.
We, meaning all road users, have at our disposal an arsenal of strategies to make the roads safer for all. Pedestrians, along with the operators of bicycles, motor scooters and cycles, cars, buses, trams and trucks all have a shared responsibility to participate in safe road use. Safe means that not only are we looking out for our own welfare, but we must also be respectful, courteous and attentive to the rights and safety and needs of others.
Unfortunately, the Australian concept of “mateship” seems to have very little presence on the roads. “Digital abuse” (the finger) seems to be more common than a wave of thanks. We all need to be looking out for each other.
As a motorist, how many times have you been “tailgated” by someone and then passed by them only to catch them repeatedly at every set of lights? You have seen clearly that the attempt by the ‘tailgater’ produced no real benefit at all. It did however increase unnecessarily, on-road tension.
Hostility rather than harmony seems to be on the increase. Why is it that everyone seems to be in such a hurry? There is so much emphasis on the importance of the economic state of affairs and so little toward the welfare of one another. How well do you know the person you are riding next to?
In our ever changing world, the technological developments are often blamed for the highest rate of loneliness in society although we have never before been so connected with smart phones, SMS, email, Facebook, twitter, etc. and whatever else is about to emerge. We are human beings and as such we are social animals like it or not. We need the person to person interaction and a club is a great place to foster such relationships.
If you travel to the same place of employment on a daily basis, chances are that you are amongst the same group of people in transit day after day. But how often do you acknowledge them with a wave, smile or G’day? All road users are a precious someone to someone else.
Some opinions are that to make the roads safer for all road users will cost too much money for the idea to even be considered, too high a price for the tax payer to fund. I challenge that idea with the notion that it need not cost a cent for all it will take is patience, courtesy, and respect for your fellow road users. As when cycle racing, we must travel appropriate to the road and traffic conditions.
With the road season drawing to a close for this year, it must be mentioned that there appears to have been a conscious collective effort to race safer. This does not mean that the competition has been any less vigorous but there have been very few crashes which is good news (but not for the few who did hit the deck).
Information passed on was that some very cold mornings were encountered by the set-up crew and a very heavy frost at Cora Lynn with a sub-zero temperature of
-3.5deg! That’s commitment to the cause …just so we can race. There were also three cancelled events some due to weather conditions deemed unsafe for racing. The Tracker White Handicap was also cancelled due to insufficient numbers at the pre-registration stage. The handicaps races are popular so if you want to race in the handicap format, pre-register if that is what is required. Remember, there is no such thing as the “racing fairy”. It is the collective effort of a few who do the bulk of the work to ensure that the race program actually becomes a reality. Big thanks to all of the club members who have input into the race program and also to the volunteers who endured the biting cold and damp fulfilling their corner duties.
The recently introduce race rule in regard to a working solid tail light is not an option. To race on the road you must have a working solid red tail light for the duration of the race. The onus is upon the rider to ensure that the equipment chosen has sufficient battery life to last for the full race. It would be a shame to ride the race of a lifetime only to be disqualified due to a light that didn’t last the distance.
The enforcement of the rules and penalties for unsafe conduct during a race has been realised with numerous suspensions and fines at the Victorian Masters Road Championships. Some riders were found to have crossed solid single or double lines putting the peloton at risk. Our road races are conducted on open roads with the appropriately authorised permits. “Open roads” means that the public also have access to the road during a race, that is we do not have exclusive rights. A race on an “open road” is different to a race on a “closed road”. As a rule we do not race on closed roads. If as cyclists we want to ensure this type of racing goes on for ourselves and future generations of cyclists, we must be seen to be doing the right thing whether racing or not.
Sure, there are many benefits in riding bicycles. Let’s not make it any harder than it need be. Surely, simply riding for the joy of it should be enough.
See you out there,