Tony Latter, South Tweed Heads
You know me, you see me every day often in groups but also by myself or with a mate. To some of you it seems I am the bane of your existence, taking up your precious time. ‘How dare anyone get in my way, slow me down, or cost me a minute or two? Time is money you know.’
So blast the horn, swerve and speed past, yelling abuse. Yeah, that will show me just how tough you are, let me know who is boss. The road is for cars; get out of my domain.
‘You can’t ride two abreast, I’m in a hurry, I’ve got a two tonne trailer on the back. Do you know how hard it is to get that going again?’ Oh, and the old classic, ‘I pay rego, you don’t!’ You know what? I’ve got a car too.
I have heard them all and not one of them stacks up. Driving is a privilege – it should be treated as such when you get behind the wheel. It comes with massive responsibility: you take the lives of every road user in your hands. That vehicle is a deadly weapon when misused: if you hit me there’s more than a good chance I will be injured, maimed or killed.
Now it’s not all of you, in fact most of you are very polite, happy to slow down, wait and give me a metre when you pass – and really that’s all I ask. It’s called courtesy. I also know I’m not always as courteous as I can be sometimes in big groups. Sometimes I may run a red light or not follow the road rules and, like you, if the police catch me, I should be fined and punished just like you and be ashamed of myself for doing the wrong thing.
Let me tell you a few things. I am on the road a lot. I think I spend more hours and do more kilometres than many of you. I go out really early before you are even awake so I don’t get in your way when you want to go out. I am well within my right to ride two abreast and take up a whole lane; it’s the law – look it up. I know when you are behind me and I will move over when it’s safe for you to pass. Honestly, I’m not trying to get in your way or slow you down; I just don’t want to die today.
I can be competitive, commuting, saving the environment or my hip pocket, but I love the work; it’s hard, keeps me healthy and happy. I am a doctor. I am a lawyer. I am a fireman. I am a pilot. I am a tradesman. I am a parent. I am a husband. I am a wife. I am lots of things but most important I am a cyclist and today I want to make it home.