Riding in Australia: A Close Encounter

April 17, 2015

Cycling in Australia

Australia, for all its wonders and prosperity, has forgotten largely about the beauty and flexibility of the bicycle.

The humble bicycle as is seen in a lot of the European context offers, for minimal outlay, a zero-carbon transport option that justifies the ever-growing argument for the expansion of cycle-friendly infrastructure.

I remember cycling to primary school as the norm with the days dropped off by car as the exception to the rule, due to horrible weather or some other prior arranged engagement.  That simple six-kilometre ride home started my cycling journey.  Now my partner and I cycle to maintain health, get our fix of fresh air and that clarity of mind rarely offered in modern-day life.

Close Call

After some near misses with motorists, we thought about incorporating video technology on our bikes.  The Fly6 came along at that time and we quickly joined the Kickstarter campaign.

For us, the Fly6 offers a cyclist’s side to the argument if required on incident or accident that we have never had before. Video evidence is becoming ever more needed in a country in which road congestion and a small but significant percentage of irate motorists and hostile media are seemingly the norm.

I am writing this blog as a cathartic release due to the close call I had with a vehicle a 7 weeks ago that very clearly justified the use of video on a bicycle as a means to defend oneself against poor road use (turn the sound up…the screech of the brakes being applied still haunts me).

Cyclist nearly hit by car in a roundabout way. from Cycliq on Vimeo.

Thankfully, all was well with that incident as I wasn’t hit but police involvement still took several weeks. Whilst the incident has been covered off with the police contacting the driver, I am still left with lingering doubt as to protection of cyclists within the law.

I simply won’t go out for a ride now without having planned ahead and charged the Fly6…just in case.  It is sad that this is the case but I simply don’t trust motorists having seen it all in being spat at, abused, had an object(s) thrown at me, close passes, stopped and harassed by a motorist wielding a golf club…yes, you read correctly…a golf club (I believe it was a 3 iron).

Share The Road

At the moment, we are also compiling some front video via the competent but ugly Go Pro (we need a Fly12…hint hint!) to share with other like-minded individuals and groups purely as a tool to further raise awareness of the current state of Australian cycling. The Fly6/12 are brilliant tools to help achieve this in that more video options will show in glorious detail the Australian cyclists’ lot in life in that you cop it on the roads and now also on the shared paths (where they exist) by pedestrians who seem reluctant to embrace the “shared” in shared path.

At the end of the day, it’s very clear we have quite the way to travel in incorporating the bicycle back into our lives as a sensible and healthy transport option so please join in on the debate with your opinion whenever possible.

The few words spoken from your experience will help us all find a transport balance in this country that is default in other developed nations where cycling isn’t the poor cousin of the motor vehicle.

Bio – Shane Edmonds is a passionate cyclist and advocate for quality cycling infrastructure that offers people transport options for whatever travel they undertake on any given day.

He was fortunate enough to do a lot of my early cycling in Perth, Australia, a city in which cycling infrastructure was factored in very early on. This experience showed me what was achievable and largely drives my desire for similar high-quality planning and infrastructure today.

He can be found via these social networks offering my opinion from time to time.

Facebook: Somerville and surrounds Bicycle User Group

Twitter: @SummyBUG