A metre does matter
I identify myself as a runner. A trail runner. This is what makes me tick, what makes me fearless and what makes me happy. Although these days I also identity myself as a cyclist. But what don’t have as a cyclist, as I do as a runner is the feeling of being fearless.
The definition of fearless is ‘showing lack of fear’ being bold, brave, daring, confident etc. As a cyclist I am confident and I am brave but riding on the open roads challenges my feeling of being fearless; it’s not the open roads itself that challenges me but who I share the open roads with – the trucks , buses and the cars.
I am human
I am a human riding a bike with little to no protection around me. Its law that I wear a helmet and I am thankful for that. On my bike I have a bright front and rear light, I wear clothing that is visible and reflective and I obey all road rules never running red lights or riding more than two abreast. I signal when I turn a corner and signal when I have an obstruction in front of me such as a parked car. I point out to other rider’s pot holes, debris on the road; broken glass, bottles, cans, bricks, sticks, piping and I vocalise when I am slowing down or rolling through an amber light.
Wind is unpredictable
I am conscious of how I ride on the road, being mindful at all times of the vehicles I share the road and it goes without saying, mindful of other cyclist in which I share the road with. I smile when I have a tail wind and grimace when riding into a head wind. I wish I was a few kilos heavier when riding in weather that is less than favourable. What cars don’t see is the unpredictability of the wind; headwinds and more so crosswinds mean I can be pushed around from left to right without much notice. So, if this happens, what will happen to me if you are driving too close?
Me against a truck
I often wonder what drivers think when they pass me on the road, where do they think I am going to go when they squeeze me into the gutter? What will happen to me when that truck in front of me cuts a corner and drives in the bike lane, that very lane I am riding in? It’s because of this A METRE DOES MATTER. Do you think you are too close when I can almost feel your side mirror on my arm? It may not seem much to you when you are surrounded by air bags and a metal shell but it means a lot to me.
Amy Gillett Foundation
The Amy Gillett Foundation launched the metre matter campaign in 2009 with one main message, for drivers not to hit cyclist. The meter matter campaign is simple: when a vehicle is overtaking a cyclist, the driver needs to allow a minimum passing distance of one metre, this is a common-sense measure to give cyclists a safe space.
Every state but Victoria
The meter matter distance is law in every state in Australia with the exception of Victoria whose state government decided not to legislate the minimum passing distance in March 2017 along with NT and WA who are currently trialling the meter matter ruling.
The bird, abuse and flying objects
Currently there is conversation about cyclists riding two abreast on the roads, drivers of vehicles not happy that they have to merge into one lane momentarily while they pass the cyclist. Are drivers as unhappy when they drive down a road and find a parked car in their path, does this upset them as much? Me the cyclist, means one less car on the road, one less car to add to the congestion and one less car helping you get to where you need to get too quicker. Isn’t that something you should think more of before you drive too close, honk your horn, gesture at me, give me the finger, yell abuse and even worse throw something at me?
I am precious
I am human. I am a precious being enjoying what us as a country loves the most, the great outdoors. I am riding in all weather conditions, I am reducing congestion (not wanting to add), I am riding as fast and as consciously as I can and I am riding to be fit and healthy.
Despite Victoria not passing the meter rule legislation, please give me a meter on the road. Please respect my space and most importantly my life. I ride my bike for health and wellness as much as I do for pleasure, please don’t take all of that away from me because I might add 30 seconds or more to your journey.
Let’s show everyone respect on the road no matter what we choose as a ‘vehicle’ to get us from A to Z and all that is in-between. To read more and donate to the Amy Gillet Foundation please click here.