On Thursday December 13, 2012 at 7:53 AM having just turned right from Tydeman Road into Port Beach Road, North Fremantle I experienced a very close pass; an experience that is so common to cyclists and to me that I have generally become indifferent to them, but for some reason this inconsiderate act of stupidity by the operator of this Western Suburbs Building and Landscape Supplies vehicle bothered me. Maybe it was because it involved a truck, a truck which had it hit me could have easily killed me; maybe because it was close to Christmas and I was feeling more vulnerable than normal. I don’t know but frankly I am sick and tired of this sort of driving. A few seconds of waiting and this whole incident could have been avoided and Western Suburbs Building and Landscape Supplies could have avoided this promotion of their business.
But it does not end there … this incident once again highlights serious road safety issues and the failure of the RAC WA and WA Police to act to protect their members and the citizens of Western Australia.
You may ask what has this got to do with the RAC? Well the RAC likes to describe itself today as a “mobility” organisation but it seems “mobility” only applies if you drive a motor vehicle. It is also the vulnerable road user (read pedestrian and cyclist) representative on the Road Safety Council of Western Australia. This is the same RAC, whose spokesperson and failed LIberal WA party candiate Mr Matt Brown, vocally opposes safe passing legislation in Western Australia. Safe passing legislation such as that supported by “one-metre matters” campaign. Yes you have read that right, Mr Brown and the RAC support the current road rules which consider this safe passing of a vulnerable road user.
If you are a RAC member and you or a member of your family are a cyclist you might want to reflect on how the RAC is acting in your best interests, in your families best interest. Maybe it is time to let your RAC Councillor, particularly Ms Jill Darby who is the RAC Councillor who sits on the Office of Road Safety on behalf of vulnerable road users, to know your views.
Sadly it does not end there. You maybe asking have I reported this incident to the WA Police? Well the short answer is no. For two reasons: The first is that the matter would be handled by Fremantle Police Station and my experience with Fremantle Police is that would be a pointless exercise. The Fremantle Police is far more interested in a blitz on cyclists than actually acting to protect our lives.
The second reason is that pass reporting of such incidents including this one involving a CTI Xpress truck results in a “no offence” response. I am now firmly of the view that at a minimum one has to be actually physically hit, that is injured, probably seriously before the Western Australian Police would consider it to be an offence under the Western Australian Road Traffic Regulations.
For what it is worth I have written to Western Suburbs Building and Landscape Supplies and sent them a copy of the video on a DVD. If I hear back from them I will update this blog posting. My letter to Western Suburbs Building and Landscape Supplies is as follows:
December 18, 2012
Western Suburbs Building and Landscaping Supplies
232 Stubbs Terrace
SHENTON PARK WA 6008
Dear Sir or Madam
I refer you to the enclosed video of one of your nicely painted small trucks in action going through the corner of Tydeman Road and Port Beach Road, North Fremantle on Thursday December 13, 2012 at approximately 07:53 AM.
Given the expense you have gone to promote your business on this vehicle I thought you would appreciate a copy of the video and the subsequent coverage this video is now receiving at various websites on the Internet and all for no cost to your business.
The above notwithstanding I suggest next time you wish to promote your business, that you consider a more considerate and safe way of doing so; you know away that does not bring into question your obligations under Western Australian occupational health and safety laws, your obligations under the Western Australian Road Traffic Act 1976 and of course your duty of care.
You might also want to reflect on the Office of Road Safety campaign; “Enjoy the Ride.” You can find it at http://enjoytheride.wa.gov.au/
I do hope you have an enjoyable Christmas with your family and maybe when you and your employees are out on the road next time, you might want to consider that other families would like that experience too.