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Brad McGee – We are all in this together

Following my post of the Geelong Advertiser of the editorial, I thought it was worth sharing the following thoughts from Brad McGee as written in his column in the January-February 2010 Issue No. 161 of Bicycling Australia, page 142.

Brad is writing about being safe on the road as a casual cyclist (what he now describes himself as):

  1. Be thankful to be able to out there. Plenty of people can’t.
  2. Be clear and precise in your actions on the road – be part of the flow yet modest.
  3. Eat smart. A drop in blood sugar turns people, all people into lunatics.
  4. Learn from experienced and well practiced others. Cycling clubs are perfect for this but also in Australia today there are some great foundations working hard for safer road usage, i.e., Austycle, Amy Gillett Foundation and the Ben Mikic Foundation.
  5. Always and unconditionally stick to the road rules. Catch up lost time from red lights by riding harder. If you are in a group that doesn’t do this then don’t be prey, find another group.
  6. Never respond aggressively to another road user’s incompetence or abuse. There is NO future in this for anyone.
  7. If there has been a wrong doing, try to record it and follow it up like any other road incident.
  8. Always THINK about your destination and find the safest route option.
  9. Keep your bike and equipment in good working order and go for bright clothing. Recently I have introduced small flashing lights, both front and rear for day time riding

and Brad’s closing comments are (my emphasis):

The only things you can control are yourself and your actions and you must be ready for anything. By doing so we cyclists remain as safe as any other road user and put ourselves on a sure footed platform enabling a return to the very (and many) reasons one wishes to be out there in the first place like accessing all the good coffee shops.

On a personal note I know I need to work more dot point two, being clear and precise. I am pretty good on this but really need to signal more often for sure; dot point three and dot point six. I am getting better, but boy I need to just learn to not respond and report instead.

With respect to dot point seven I make an effort to report road issues and now see a stronger police presence on the roads where I have regularly report incidents. Hopefully this makes a difference.

3 Responses to Brad McGee – We are all in this together

  1. Kym January 3, 2010 at 4:17 AM #

    The response thing is funny.

    I’ve reasonably well tuned myself to not react to people deliberately wanting a reaction. eg. Bogans/P-Platers screaming out of the window just as they pass, stupid comments from passengers and the like.

    It’s more the bad driving habits and shear obliviousness from drivers than personally rankles me; people looking straight through you on small urban roundabouts and not giving way, overtaking unsafely and then having to brake anyway just in front of you etc.

    Most of my reactions in this latter case I usually restrict myself to a one or two word expletive/exclamation – which I think more often than not the drivers cannot hear anyway. One time being cut off as someone over took me to get in the left hand turning lane, and then only having to straight away brake to a stop, I made a loud open handed slap on their car roof but I left it at that and kept going. Sure that could been classed as wanting to incite things further but I made a point of just carrying on and not looking back. I didn’t want to make a scene, I just wanted the driver to know I didn’t like what they did.

    Beyond these little incidents I quickly tell myself; theses drivers are idiots and yelling too much or deliberately trying to make a scene is not going to change anything, but rather make them dig their heels in. As pissed off as I maybe in those few instants following such a situation I do my best to collect my thoughts and try to look at it from a more detatched perspective. It’s a cultural problem, not a individuals problem. If things are going to change it’s certainly not going to be because of people yelling at each other from the middle of the road.

    But another tip is to then find a good hill to attack climb which does wonders for burning off any residual agro 😉

  2. Kym January 3, 2010 at 12:17 PM #

    The response thing is funny.

    I’ve reasonably well tuned myself to not react to people deliberately wanting a reaction. eg. Bogans/P-Platers screaming out of the window just as they pass, stupid comments from passengers and the like.

    It’s more the bad driving habits and shear obliviousness from drivers than personally rankles me; people looking straight through you on small urban roundabouts and not giving way, overtaking unsafely and then having to brake anyway just in front of you etc.

    Most of my reactions in this latter case I usually restrict myself to a one or two word expletive/exclamation – which I think more often than not the drivers cannot hear anyway. One time being cut off as someone over took me to get in the left hand turning lane, and then only having to straight away brake to a stop, I made a loud open handed slap on their car roof but I left it at that and kept going. Sure that could been classed as wanting to incite things further but I made a point of just carrying on and not looking back. I didn’t want to make a scene, I just wanted the driver to know I didn’t like what they did.

    Beyond these little incidents I quickly tell myself; theses drivers are idiots and yelling too much or deliberately trying to make a scene is not going to change anything, but rather make them dig their heels in. As pissed off as I maybe in those few instants following such a situation I do my best to collect my thoughts and try to look at it from a more detatched perspective. It’s a cultural problem, not a individuals problem. If things are going to change it’s certainly not going to be because of people yelling at each other from the middle of the road.

    But another tip is to then find a good hill to attack climb which does wonders for burning off any residual agro 😉

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