Spokes(Wo)Man

Scared of traffic ? No bike infrastructure ? Too Far ? Helmet hair ?

 

Fuck it, ride anyway

Well, I'm an anarchist now; hope you're all happy

Earlier this year I started occassionally taking a newish route part of the way home, I go quite a bit out of my way on these back routes, but it beats taking the direct route along the ill-named Pacific Highway in the dark with the aggressive drivers, big trucks and the clouds of pollution.

Look it this, I'm making three sides of a square because certain fricking motorists won’t share the road safely.

So there I am happily tootling along at quite frankly a cracking pace on a lovely autumnal day, I'd even got away early so it was actually still daylight and so far about 10 cars in total have passed me, which has been fine, until it wasn't.

After the last experience with the Po-Po, I decided to get a couple of cameras for my bike, and I've found it makes me feel less helpless; anyone does anything remotely dodgy, I'm into the cop shop busting out my best CSI impersonation.

  This runs pretty close to my idealised hair  - but what have they done to Ted Danson's mouth ? Is that what this episode was about ? The mysterious disappearance of Ted's upper lip?

This runs pretty close to my idealised hair  - but what have they done to Ted Danson's mouth ? Is that what this episode was about ? The mysterious disappearance of Ted's upper lip?

It's intensely satisfying to review footage of certain situations, even just for your own knowledge, learning and understanding. Did someone blare their horn at me for no apparent reason? Look at the footage to check I did nothing dangerous or otherwise to deserve the blast.

Sometimes I'm watching footage at work, and I turn around to find an audience watching my screen, mesmerised and sort of smiling as they recognise landmarks, but from a very different perspective. I invariably get the "Jeez, you're flying up that hill aren't you."

Yes. Yes, I am.

Every now & then I don't have time to recharge enough between journeys and it is invariably those journeys where the camera dies and I fail to film a young woman putting on makeup while drifting along a 3 lane highway, or a guy driving along with a mobile phone clapped to the side of his head. And yes, crimes against my person as well.

Any-hoodle, a few months ago now a woman drove dangerously close to me, we were going less than 60km, so she only had to give me a metre clearance, but I could have lashed out with one leg and kicked in her back panel had I wanted to; and she kept alongside me for 20 or so meters, sort of looking lost or otherwise gormless. She had the whole of the rest of the road to overtake me in, i.e. no oncoming traffic, but there she was, sticking to me like an undeserving Australian former-Treasurer sticking to his sinecure post and accompanying perks in the US.

Too subtle ? Joe Hockey, you are an immoral hypocritical waste of human skin.

Back to the driver; I waved her away furiously, to back the fuck away from me; a passing scooter rider even shouted at her too, but to no avail until she suddenly sped up and took the corner. It happened to be the direction I was going anyway, so I sped up to see if I could remonstrate with her in person.

She'd driven round the corner, parked and fled the scene as I rounded the same corner. I cruised around looking for her with no luck. I am dammed sure she was hiding in some bushes somewhere. I then rode the rest of the way home in quite the mood. I fantasised about going back and smashing her wing mirrors as she clearly wasn’t using them for driving.

I went home to my professional film editing suite, cropped the video to the relevant sections and happily went to the Police Station.

My previously bike-friendly Senior Constable wasn’t on duty and I spoke to his increasingly nonplussed colleague who listed to my tale, as I finished triumphantly with “and this time I have it on camera”.

She looked at me.

I said to her, “you look nonplussed.”

"Yeah.” she said almost sheepishly, “I know this would have been scary for you…”

Hmmm. Yes, and what's more "Illegal".

“But these things don't do well at prosecution. How do you prove it was a metre?”

Wut? I should have included a banana for scale in the video?

Besides, everyone knows the proper unit of measurement is a rhino on a skateboard;

 Spike, the Yarra Trams rhino measurement scale.  God, I love Melbourne sooo much.

Spike, the Yarra Trams rhino measurement scale.

God, I love Melbourne sooo much.

I showed her the video, both front and rear cameras. She agreed it was close.

She offered to call and give the lady driver a “gob full”.

Now I looked nonplussed. This was, quite frankly, a shit response. I didn’t come here for a “dear dear” and a pat on the head. And if she thought I was scared, she was right, but that was the first thirty-seconds. After that I’ve been boiling with righteous fury.

And then she said to me “And if the driver gets lippy with me, that might make me take it further.”

Oh, ok.  “Justice” relies on whether the police take something personally? If they’re pissed off? Not if someone breaks the law or even if I'm pissed off?

Well. Good to know.

I kept my temper, because I wanted to see where this was going to go. We chatted a bit and I pleasantly brought up the fact that yes, while I had been scared for my personal safety, there was also the not-so small issue of the driver having broken a law. On camera.

She reluctantly agreed to refer it to another colleague who has had better “luck” taking these things to prosecution. At the very least she's going to ring the driver and tell her off. She said.

“But if I ring the registered owner, and the car is used by a household of people, they don’t have to disclose which person was driving, and then I can’t do anything.”  She noted it was a $400 fine for not disclosing the driver’s name, which in my neighbourhood is the average kid’s weekly pocket money, so that’s going to be a marvellous deterrent.

And months later, I'm still waiting for her to return any of my calls, or reply to any emails, even if just to tell me to my face that she doesn't give a flying rhino about my safety or the road rules.

I think it’s safe to say that she’s binned the whole issue.

Do you want vigilante justice ? Because that's how you get vigilante justice.