As an older female (52) adult I belong to the allegedly 'missing' group of cyclists too scared to use the roads. I live four kilometres from where I work. It takes me longer to drive or bus than it does to cycle, which is the case for most trips of fewer than 10km in the city. I like riding my bike. It saves me money, saves the planet, I don't have to go to the gym and I feel better when I get to work ... no, scrub that last bit. Since moving from Melbourne to Sydney I find by the end of my bike commute my heart is racing and I am a sweaty mess. No, I am not unfit. That's the effect of the adrenaline produced by dealing with unpredictable drivers and oblivious pedestrians during that short ride.
On the way to work this morning a woman in a massive 4WD drove through a stop sign on a back lane cycle 'route'. Luckily I saw her. When she saw me she looked at me as if I was being nice to her by stopping and kept driving!
This evening's incident was far worse. I was stopped at lights at a major intersection on Parramatta Rd. I was stopped on the line between the left turn lane and the next lane. There was a green arrow to turn left. A car sped into the left lane, obviously decided I was in his way and blew his horn at me. I turned to see how much room he had - enough had he proceeded slowly - and as I shifted my weight he sped past me. I got a fright and lost my balance, falling in front of the car next to me and hitting my head on his bumper and the ground. Thank god for helmets and that the light was still red. The impatient driver was nowhere to be seen. The driver in the car next to me put on his handbrake but didn't get out of the car.
Thank you to the two lovely blokes who came out of the pub on the corner, picked up my bike and helped me to the footpath, suffering from a broken light, a maimed helmet, a bruised bottom and a severely shaken self-confidence. It's nice to know that some people still notice what happens around them.