written by Jill Young

Hey there, driver. I’m cyclist. Nice to meet you.

I’m not going to assume that you operate from a place of defense, a place of dislike for me and my two wheeling friends. Because lately I’ve seen a little bit of evidence that might suggest you think I’m ok. Or, at the very least, that I deserve to share the road with you, in some capacity. But that is what I’ve seen.ASimpleWave-600x500

I want to talk about the army that sit beyond my peripheral vision, beyond the cursory glance over the right shoulder as I move into the lane (perhaps due to a pinch point, perhaps for merely a meter). I want to talk about you, dear driver, who is out of my sight.

I am an urban cyclist (a biker for transport, an A to B bicyclist, not very furious but certainly quite fast, etc.), so when I sit behind the wheel of a car, I am immensely aware of people on two wheels and on four. And I think I am not alone in this, and you, driver, might actually share in this.

In a similar vein to Cycle’s SMIDSY article (found here) I’d like to pay homage to you who do look behind for cyclists as you drive. You who do wait until I’ve passed before pulling out from on street parking, across the bike lane and into the car lane. You who do wait for me to pass, instead of speeding up and overtaking me to turn left (only to realise that such an action has actually slowed me down), or you who do use your indicator to, well, indicate that you are hanging in the left lane for a bit (maybe texting or chatting on your phone or whatever) so that I know what your intentions are, or you who give me more than a meter so that I feel safe, or you who do wait for me to pass before you open your door to exit your car. Mostly, you who look for me. You who anticipate I may be there.

There is such simplicity in these actions, driver. They are minute and minuscule in the stretch of a day, a week, a year. But time and time again they happen after I have ridden passed, never even knowing they occurred. And never, therefore, allowing me to demonstrate my hand wave of appreciation or my verbal admiration. To you, I say thank you.

I know that - literally - you may have saved my life.



- Written by Andrew P



I commute daily and have done for 3 years. My route is not the safest.  90% of the route does have a painted white line and cycle lane signs.  The other 10% I use careful judgement and patience to ensure I make it.  I’ve been hit by a left turner once.

To make it safely I do my part.  Follow all road rules, have lights and mechanically sound bike.  Since the 1m rule I’ve been impressed to see greater space given by many drivers.  90% of buses are great too.  However one evening, one bus driver on two occasions endangered my life while riding in a marked cycle lane.


When I got home there was a news article of a NSW rider who was just killed by a bus.  This had to stop.  So I reported the incident online, providing the route and bus number.  I was requesting further training for the driver involved or better cycling infrastructure to keep buses and cyclists apart.

Less than a month later the company involved have completed their formal investigation and have confirmed an action plan far beyond what I was expecting.  It really inspires me to report a few more incidents to recognise the great bus drivers out there.  So happy to see the bus company and council taking cycle safety so seriously.

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Michelle-HerveyBayPic2Michelle Lennard went out for a bike ride on News Years Eve 2013. Little did she know she would still be working through the injuries to this day.

This is a story of pain and suffering caused in the blink of an eye. And the PTSD that can attach itself to you. Although not called this in the article, it sounds so much like anyone that has had something so dramatic thrown into their lives.

She writes:

"December 31st 2013.... it was going to be a great day, early morning ride with my sister, followed by coffee, then perhaps a family bbq and a celebration for the new year to come, but... 

The driver ‘didn’t see’ me! I am not sure where she was looking or where her mind was except that when I heard was a shout from my sister behind me I knew the next few seconds were going to be bad.

When the Great Wall 4x4 accelerated out of the side street into the back wheel of my road bike I became airborne, with my right-arm instinctively in front of my body. After rolling and finishing in a sitting position facing the way I had been riding, the pain shot into my right shoulder. Buggar, was my arm broken? Was my bike broken? How do I feel right now? Shocked? Yes, beyond belief! But thankfully alive.

The ambulance was called, my husband was called, my daughters were called, my mother was called. Word gets around quickly in a regional town about a cyclist going down and reassurance to my family members that I was ok was of number one importance.

I did finally get to have that coffee, after my visit to the hospital for xrays, dressing of the weeping graze on my elbow, and my visit to the police station to report the driver negligence. The only New Years Eve celebration that night was that my physical injuries were not more serious.

Nine months on and I no longer hold my job of 7 years due to my inability to meet the physical demands of this for longer than a 3 month period, the ache in my shoulder wakes me up at night, I have lost my fitness for road riding and my annual 100km charity rides will have to skip a year. I am now just gaining the confidence to head out on my own again while cars entering from side streets give me the jitters and eyeballing the driver is my new defense. 

One of my biggest battles is psychological, the fact that I am a cycling teacher; I am supposed to have confidence on a bike. Teaching children safe cycling skills and talking about the numerous benefits of bike riding is a big responsibility and cannot be delivered when there is a shadow of a doubt.

My goal is to ride 3 x 30km laps of my regular loop early one morning (before traffic) by December 31st 2014.

Michelle Lennard"



--- Writen by Tina McCarthy

I grew up with 3 older brothers. That meant a choice between sitting inside and playing with Barbie, or getting on the bike and chasing my daring and super-hero-like brothers. If I wanted to share in the secret adventures, the thrills and spills and the untethered joy of childhood mischief, I had no choice…it was the bike or Barbie.

I chose the bike of course…and I’m glad I did. Riding a bike when I was a kid was a way to get to nanna and pa’s house for ‘soldier’s and googies’, the way to get to my best friends house for few bombs into the pool, it was the game I played with the dog Timmy as he chased me around the yard and it was the way to be an adventurer. The bike was the ‘must have’ item in our house…it was freedom.

It started with the 3 wheelers, which as we grew older we played ‘smash up derby’ on (and I still have the scars to prove it!).  They were also the bike of choice to put in the pool and ride James Bond like down the slope from shallow end to deep end underwater…I can still remember my father screaming at us as he hoisted the bikes out of the pool!



But you know how the story goes…we grow older, and one day we stop being kids. Well that happened to me. Teenage years were a write-off with the temptation of sitting watching hours of Rage on tv, or talking on the phone to the latest love interest. By mid-twenties, the bike didn’t even make it out of the shed.

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Jai Cooper – Cyborgian Cyclist and Budding Bike-ademic
I was once a pro cyclist. I delivered The Herald and The Melbourne Age as a kid and got into drugs as a teen. I mean that I moved onto the local chemist round because the tips were bigger. I was young, fit and loved riding. It was fun, it got me places and it was an earner.
Not by choice, I became a cyborgian cyclist. At 19, I suffered debilitating leg injuries in a no-fault car crash. Since then, walking has been painful. My footy career was definitely over. After a couple of years barely walking, I got on a bike again and rediscovered my legs and active movement relatively free from pain. Thanks also to cleats and dual suspension, I am far more liberated. I understand the relationship of the disabled to their wheelchairs. “Walk” is a four letter word now, I much prefer to “ride”.
But I don’t just ride because it hurts to walk. I ride because the opposite of fear is love.
After the car crash, I felt fear of the road. I bought a 4WD with a bull bar to protect myself. Before long, I realised I had become part of the problem... we were turning our world into Carmageddon. The zombie apocalypse was thriving on a diet of fossil-fuelled hatred and I could witness the way the caged windscreen view of the world bred isolation and contempt for society and the planet. I love my planet and I didn’t want to be part of that problem. I wanted to do no harm. So, I compromised, less harm. I protested freeways, joined Critical Mass and learned the rhetoric of the movement. As my ancestors fought for me in their way, it is the love of my world that sees me duty bound to fight for my descendants and their future in my way.
And it is my descendants with whom riding means the most. The bike has been my way to be active with my family. I have shared so many wonderful experiences with them which I could otherwise not do. Bicycling has also bolstered me against the physical and mental health challenges besieging my peers so that I am less likely to be a burden as I grow old.
Bicycling has connected me with my community in no way I could have otherwise done. I have the warm feeling of teaching many kids and adults to ride, fix their bikes or improve their skills. I’m sort of “pro” again. I work sometimes as a mountain bike coach including the privilege of working with Team Dunghutti and the National Centre for Indigenous Excellence. I love to race with my peers on the oodles of trails found in my region. I have been the driving force in developing a legal trail network locally and facilitated the work of many in its construction. It is sweet to see it giving pleasure to so many and somewhat contributing to the “wilding” of my own home town. When my local MP named me in Hansard for services to cycling, my fate was sealed, I had a responsibility to continue as a bicycle advocate.
I know it’s just a bike, an object, a commodity but it gives us so much more than just a way of moving.
So, now I am researching for my honours thesis on Cycling Advocacy in Regional NSW with Newcastle University’s School of Humanities and Social Science. I confess to a pro-bike prejudice in my research.
Currently, I still just love riding as I did when I was young. I love to see other people ride and I enjoy praising the Council workers as they build the nearby bike path.

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