Fri, 12 Nov 2010

First roadie commute, two road-ragers in one day // at 18:00

Bah, Friday, who needs it.

Family circumstances altered, toddler sleep requires a no show at Goat. Normal commute home, hopefully avoiding the wind and rain.

  • First ride home on the new road bike.
  • First ride on a road bike for about a year.
  • First ride in look cleats for about five years.

East Oakleigh: approaching little roundabout down a gentle hill, there's a Falcon coming down the street from my right but he's way back and I'll be across the roundabout before he's even got there. Surprise, should have remembered the mentality of falcadore drivers around here - he plants the foot — must get to roundabout before bicycle — swerves and sways onto the roundabout then brakes hard and smokes to a halt directly in front of me as I brake and stop, foot down, spot on the white line at the edge of the roundabout. Local falcadore driver waves both hands up in the air in a big “what the F#@#$” at me and then tears off spinning the wheels down the road.

East Oakleigh/Oakleigh: half a kilometre later. I turn left into Huntingdale road, pull out to the centre and sit there indicating right to turn into Edward street, a couple of cars pass head on going north up Huntingdale, a white falcadore wagon pulls up at Edward street to turn right into Huntingdale rd. Gap in traffic, off I start, falcadore pilot plants the foot and takes off straight towards me. A loud “OI!!!!” from me as I sprint out of the way, down comes his window and the screaming starts “F*@#$@#$ING DICKHEAD, GEROFFDAFUGGINROAD” as off he goes round the corner. “WATCH IT!” I yell to the retreating car. He stops in the middle of Huntingdale road, screams out a parting “F*#@$@ING C*NT @#$@#$....” and tears off, spinning the wheels. At least he tore off, for a moment I thought our local road-rager was going to come back and have a go at me.

FFS, can someone just shoot them.

At least I beat the rain home by about 45 seconds!

To add to the annoyance, yesterday I received from BV yet another cutesy sweet but totally unhelpful piece

Harassment and road rage - What you can do

With all the usual crap about taking details and filling out forms and contacting the police. All good in theory, but without photos, witnesses, a rock-solid description of both car and driver the police will do NOTHING, and anytime idiots like this attack you on the road you're usually too damn busy just keeping out of their way and not being killed to take a photo, memorise the details and write a bloody description of the car and driver. Maybe the police should just ride around plain clothes on bikes a bit more….

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Thu, 16 Oct 2008

Ride to Work day + 1 — a bus, again // at 09:30

Bloody typical! Yesterday was “Ride to Work day” and I rode from home — Oakleigh — to Federation square then back to Monash and had a near perfect ride. Maybe it was all the publicity about the cyclist's death last month but everyone seemed to be pretty well behaved (which I always find a miracle on St Kilda rd, whether they're on bikes, on foot, or in cars). Had my coffee and roll and made it back for a slightly latish 9:20 start. Didn't really need a third breakfast at Wholefoods on campus!

This morning, back to the normal ride, straight along North road, carefully and legally not riding in the bus lane since its not yet 9:30am. Cars pass on the right, cars illegally pass on the left. Stopped at the lights at Clayton road with a car on my right and a turning car on my left, and a bus behind on the left. Bus driver calls out the window “Excuse me!” then proceeds to tell me over and over again that I am NOT allowed to ride on the road and MUST ride on the off-road path. “That is your path, over there, this is my lane.” I tried to point out that I was on the road, not in the bus lane and explain that bicycles are legally allowed on the road, she ain't having none of it, louder and louder she tells me I MUST get off the road.

Lights go green and off I go through the intersection, with a continuous, deafening and intimidating blast of the horn she came up behind me and unfortunately I finally got annoyed and gave her the finger, she sped past on my left and I raised my hand up and hit the mirror since it was only about 30cm from my head.

Followed her to Monash bus loop and as I walked up to the bus there were four or five passengers1 having a huge argument with her loudly complaining about her attacking cyclists and what the hell was she on about. I took her photo and she started yelling that she had video showing that I was attacking her and “road-raging her bus.” Once again she tries shouting that I must use the off road path “it is law” (crap, closest law is VicRoads rule 247 which says you must use an ON-ROAD bicycle lane where provided unless it is impracticable to do so2.)

Not Grendas, it was Eastrans this time, driver's name badge says Maryla, 8:45am or so, bus registration 5485-AO.

Happy f'kin birthday to me.

references: 1, 2, 3

1. Talking to one of the passengers later, she said the driver had been in a bad mood all morning and had shouted at her to "turn her music down" on her iPod. I hope she's in a better mood tomorrow, or Monday, or the next time she drives 10 tonne of bus past 100kg of cyclist.

2. there is no on-road bicycle lane so rule 247 does not apply, and anyway, the off-road path is unsuitable for commuting, and is downright dangerous where it crosses side roads and uses a footpath past a primary school that used to be illegal to ride on and that now crosses a McDonald's drive through! Yet another bike path built by VicRoads with the attitude of "get the cyclists off the road" that nobody ever seems to use because it is no use!

REVISITED: 2008-Nov-11: Following a written complaint to the bus company from the University transport office and the Monash University BUG we received a comprehensive apology.

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Thu, 18 Sep 2008

Sharing the road // at 21:00

In the centre of Melbourne is a road labelled "Swanston street walk", its a joke really, there is no walking along it. During the day it is closed to private motor traffic. It is a major north-south thoroughfare through the city for cyclists, who have to share it with trams... and horse carriages... and jaywalkers... and taxis... and courier vans... and delivery trucks... and tourists who accidently drive into it... and motorists who ignore the closure and deliberately drive into it... and tour buses.

Tragically, this morning a woman died under the wheels of one of those tour buses.

It touched a nerve with the hundreds, if not thousands, of people who cycle into or through the city and a memorial service was organised for 17:15 on fairly short notice and despite this and the rain, somewhere between 100 and 200 people showed up.

A last minute decision to leave work early and head into the city to join the memorial gathering for the cyclist killed by a bus this morning. A sudden rain shower, a double-parked car blocking the bike lane and a less than successful overtaking manoeuvre across the tram tracks.

Thumbs up to all who showed up for the memorial.

Thumbs down to the idiots I saw in traffic; on foot, on bike, in car.

...and congratulations to our two newspapers, who seem to be at odds with each other in their reporting:

The Age

"She fell into the path of an oncoming Gray Line tour bus"

The Herald Sun

"The woman, from Parkville, was riding south when she was hit by the bus, which was also travelling south."

Truly makes you wonder about the quality of reporting of events that you can't verify from other sources.

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Wed, 17 Sep 2008

Victoria, Gardenstate or road-rage state? // at 09:00

There I was riding to work along North road, same as I always do. Obeying the law and riding in the lane adjacent to the bus-lane, same as a I always do. Nearly every other person using the road seems to be able to safely and legally pass me, same as the always do.

But there's always one...

The driver of a tow-truck from Gardenstate towing, registration TOW-836, was somehow unable to pass me and instead drove along for 400-500m blasting on the horn, yelling abuse and gesticulating wildly for me to get off the road and into the bus lane. I tried to wave him past, he just kept on hooting and yelling, finally as we got to Clayton road he swerved from being in the left-hand lane behind me, across the right-hand lane and into the right-turn lane.

Why is it that once or twice a week I get to meet a neanderthal who is insistent that I break the law so that they aren't inconvenienced?


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Thu, 31 Jul 2008

Abused by motorists for not breaking the law! // at 09:30

Twice in two days, given a mouthful of abuse while riding to work ... for not breaking the law! This morning the driver of Subaru (Forester probably) Vic. rego. UCA-754 felt he couldn't overtake me legally and safely in my lane or the lane to my right, so he swerved into the bus-lane to overtake on the left, meanwhile blasting on the horn and screaming at me to “Bloody move over”, then swerved into my lane when he was only half-way past. I braked and swerved and thankfully there was nobody behind to avoid as well and he was off in a great screaming rush to stop at the red-lights a couple hundred metres up the road.

Yesterday it was a woman in a Mitsubishi Magna blasting on the horn and frantically waving her hand in a “get out of here, go and ride through the McDonalds building site or the bus-lane or something” kind of motion.

Ride in the bus-lane, break the law and get abused verbally and physically by the bus-drivers.

Ride in the left-most legal non-bus lane, get abused by the motorists.

Thank you so much VicRoads for what you have done to North road.

Refs: 2007-Dec-17, 2008-Jan-09, 2008-Jan-22, 2008-Apr-04.


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Sat, 14 Jun 2008

Cycling things in the news // at 14:00

Bumper stickers reveal link to road rage
Hardly earth shattering, but their research shows that people who most strongly identify with their cars are the ones that get the angriest and are most prone to road rage.
Hating cyclists: some preliminary findings
Not much in the way of interpretation, but a large body of analysis of the feedback to any media stories on cyclist-motorist interaction in Australia.
Road Safety and perceived risk of cycle tracks and lanes in Copenhagen” (pdf)
Fascinating reading, a safety report from Copenhagen, home of those "Copenhagen lanes" that Bicycle (paths) Victoria are obsessed with — when they're not obsessed with other bicycle paths. Reports what many cyclists already know or believe, that while cycle paths encourage more people to ride, they also increase the collision and injury rate.
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Fri, 04 Apr 2008

North road and Grenda buses… again and again // at 09:30

There must be something about their "professional training", I really can't think of anything else to explain it.

Every day I ride up North road, usually with no problems

Every day I am passed by several hundred cars, usually with no problems.

Every day I am passed by one or two buses from other bus lines, usually with no problems.

About once a month some maniac in a Grendas bus seems to want to kill me.

January, run off the road, then told to G* F*d by Grendas management when I wrote to them.

February, abuse screamed at me by a Grenda driver for being in the adjacent lane 3m from the bus wanting to do a hook turn!

Today, 6115-A0 passed at I guess 70-80km/hr with about 10cm clearance, blew my bag off my back and helmet half off my head. Any chance of pulling out a bit into the (vacant) adjacent lane next time? At the Clayton rd/north rd set of lights I pulled up alongside the bus in the middle lane, 'cos I thought he would be pulling into the bus stop after the lights, but instead WHILE CHATTING ON THE PHONE, he swerved out half a metre into my lane while pulling away from the lights then tore off up North road and through the Dandenong road lights as they went orange to red.

[2008-Apr-08] Revisited: Hmm, maybe someone at Grenda's is getting the general idea. Maybe I just met the other 29/30 day's bus drivers who don't have a problem. This morning Mr Bus driver of 6116-A0 was quite happy to go past with over a metre clearance, even though he had to almost change lanes to do so.

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Wed, 09 Jan 2008

North road, bus lanes and road-raging bus drivers // at 09:30

How odd... as I was riding along North road this morning I was thinking that I really should write back to Vic. Roads and thank them for their clarification of the use of the bus lanes. Less than a minute later I had to bite my lip to stop from laughing as a Vic. Roads maintenance vehicle drove out of a side-street, safety orange light busy spinning around on the roof, assorted warning signs all sitting in the back... and the driver chatting away on THE MOBILE PHONE. Bloody typical. Debated jotting down the details to forward them to Vic. Roads for comment, but then it all went out the window, and out of memory, in a frantic bid for self-preservation.

The driver of the 9 o'clock Grenda's route 900 bus, rego. 6114-A0 then tried to run me off the road. Blasting on the horn as he went flying past without pulling out, forced me completely out of the lane and onto the 20cm wide, debris-filled concrete kerb. When I caught him at the Dandenong road intersection he told me that it was "bus lane, you not allowed to ride in it". I informed him I had been told by Vic Roads that I could and was told "You not allowed to ride after 8:30". I informed him again that Vic Roads had told me that it was legal for cyclists to use the bus lane at all times and he changed his words to "I just letting you know I was there".I pointed out that I was fully aware of his presence and that his actions were aggressive, dangerous and unnecessary. He told me I should not ride on the road. At this point I realised it was pointless to continue attempting to discuss it with him, and as per the recommendations of the two other cyclists at the intersection, I recorded the details of his vehicle.

I've written to Grenda bus lines, with Cc to Bike Vic and Vic Roads, asking for their response to this drivers actions, and what they intend to do to prevent it recurring. I have asked that they not introduce specious arguments to the effect that I should use off-road cycle paths, as under no circumstances do their presence, however unsuitable they may be for commuter cycling, excuse road rage in other vehicle operators. for the "bicycle path", well it still isn't finished, and it still has all the design problems that make it appear more of an after-thought designed from a viewpoint of getting bicycles off the road and not with any view of providing all road users, be it by car, bicycle or bus with a safe and effective route.

So far this year I've seen about twenty people cycling along North road, in all cases they've chosen to ride on the road, since it appears that the incomplete and unsuitable "bicycle path" doesn't provide any advantages — and in many ways, its presence reinforces the dangerous belief in many people's minds that cyclists have to get off the roads.

1. [2008.01.11] — Damn! Just saw on my scribble pad notes that although I'd written 6114-A0, in the letter I've written to Grenda I typed 9114-A0, probably because it was route 900 at 9 o'clock.

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Fri, 23 Feb 2007

Bah, cyclists! // at 23:59

It almost felt like I was living in Richmond again — left work on the bike, off down Ferntree Gully road and onto the Gardiners creek trail to head into Richmond to meet Jo for a beer. As usual I'm heading against the general flow of commuters; ones or twos, threes and more, the odd group of six, all flying along with total disregard for anyone else on track, all convinced that there's only traffic heading in their direction! At least half a dozen close calls, I wish some of these idiots could meet themselves coming in the opposite direction, at least then there'd be a cleansing of the gene pool....


Thu, 22 Feb 2007

More of Victoria's finest road users // at 12:00

At the moment, Thursdays seem to be crap days.

Woken — yet again — at 5am by garbage trucks then while riding to work I was hit by a truck at a set of traffic lights.

At the corner of North road and Clayton road I know that there's usually a left-turn arrow, so I'd stopped at the far right-hand side of the lane to let traffic turn with the arrow, five or six cars turned through with plenty of room, then the truck pulled up, the driver yelled out the window "Fucken idiot get out of the way" and turned the corner — striking me with the tray of the truck as it went around and pushing me half a metre over into the car next to me!

Thanks mate, glad to know that getting that truck around that corner was more important than my life and me.

I guess next time I just won't bother trying to be helpful to other road users and letting them pass, I'll just sit in the centre of the lane and let them wait — that is unless this idiot truck driver comes up behind me, in which case he'll probably just swear again and drive over me.

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Thu, 17 Aug 2006

Phone ph*ckwits // at 00:00

AAaaarrrg! Every day I ride to work. It's only five kilometres and it only takes fifteen minutes. Every day I see a couple of idiots on the roads on their phones in the morning, and another couple in the evening. Every week once or twice I have to take some evasive action from the antics of one of these idiots.

The local papers state that the police had “a massive crackdown”on motorists on the Monash freeway with “round the clock staffing” for an entire month. A whole 72 motorists were booked for using their mobile phones — illegally — while driving. Um, forgive my mathematics but 72 in a month is about 2 and a half a day, or a mighty one every ten hours!

How the hell can the police see one motorist every ten hours on an eight lane freeway using their phone when the rest of us have to put up with seeing 2 or 3 every fifteen minutes? Maybe the police should get out of their shiny protective police cars and see what its like being a pedestrian or cyclist on our roads!

Prompt for the rant? Today's dickhead du jour in his red Nissan Skyline, RGK 034, pulled out to pass me in Haughton road, then swerved back in when only half-past since he was about to ram into the traffic island and keep-left sign. I ran up the gutter to avoid being hit while he blithely roared off, the steering wheel in his right hand, the phone in his left as he SMSed away.

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Tue, 08 Aug 2006

Ow, that's my leg! // at 16:00

Another bloody motorist who can't be bloody bothered to watch where they're bloody going and obey the bloody give-way signs. Idiot old builder in crappy old white Ford station wagon, tears up the merge lane of North road from Huntingdale and goes straight through the give-way sign, straight past the “watch for bicycles” and would have hit me square on if I hadn't swerved out of the way. Glancing blow on the knee and hand, looks round in amazement at the loud bang as the bike hits the door and slows for a moment, then roars off up the road. Registration Vic. DPC-215, oh yeah, only one working brake light too....

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Thu, 31 Mar 2005

Pointy end first...0; // at 18:00

Arrg, the one day I leave my camera at home is the one day that I get a perfect opportunity for a photo. There I was, stopped at the red light when a “cyclist” appeared, riding illegally along the footpath and across the pedestrian crossing. Dead flat tyres, knees almost hitting his chin on a way-too-small bike, the bag and clothes and appearance indicating he's one of the myriad of overseas students here at Monash University. Priceless finalé — the helmet is on backwards with the straps almost covering his eyes. I caught his eye and quite reasonably say “YOUR HELMET IS ON BACKWARDS. He smiles, looks back, nods and replies “Hello, Hello!” I guess I shouldn't be surprised, the residents around here drive like they have no idea of Australian laws, why should they be any different on a bike?

It must have been the day of the bike idiot though, later in the evening I drove into Richmond at 7:30pm, while turning right I nearly collected a stupid girl in black clothes who was riding along Swan street with no lights (just saw her silhouette as she rode past the stationary tram through the exiting passengers). I then sat waiting for ten minutes to pick up Jo, three cyclists pass in the narrow street:

  • First one is girl in helmet, dark clothes, no lights, takes off the wrong way down the middle a one-way street.
  • Second one is guy with no helmet, no lights, meandering down the centre of the road.
  • Third one had a nice shiny bright white headlight, then he went past and I saw that he had a nice bright shiny white light on the rear too!

I've seen plenty of idiots with a flashing red on the front, this is the first idiot I've seen with a white light on the rear.

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Tue, 14 Oct 2003

Cycling fun'n'games // at 23:59

More fun and games with Norky bike today. Off I went to deliver the spare wheel to the bike shop so that Jo's dud wheel can be replaced with a spare — the infamous evil replacement wheel from hell (or Devizes in the UK). Casually mentioning that my gears aren't quite working properly, investigation reveals that old bottom bracket and the new cranks don't quite agree with each other, and a narrow bottom bracket is required... The shop is then turned upside down and many a box is emptied trying to find appropriate sized parts, and a quarter-hour quick visit turns into a leisurely hour and a half.

Then on the way home some idiot decides to run into me. I was stopped at the traffic lights, parked in the “forward bicycle box” when a car pulled up behind me, parking inside the bike box markings. Pale blue sports car, registration Vic. NOY-007. The left-turn arrow went green, and without indicating, the motorist started off, then turned sharp left, pushing me sideways off my bike and left me sitting on my arse on the ground! No idea what (if anything) was going on in his head — he stopped around the corner and sat there looking at me in the mirror, then drove off.

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Fri, 07 Dec 2001

A world first // at 23:59

A first apparently, a motorist in Chicago who deliberately ran down and killed a cyclist has been charged with murder. It'll set a precedent, and in one way I'm pleased with the verdict, but it sure is disturbing reading about the case ... especially knowing the number of times I've exchanged words with motorists after they either try to “scare me” by going a little close, or just don't look and don't care.

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Thu, 27 Sep 2001

Another motorist, another red-light runner // at 23:59

Cycled to work and guess what, another driver tried to flatten me where the cycle path crosses Malvern road. I'm getting sick of this sequence. Stop, wait, light goes orange, wait, light goes red, wait, cycle path light goes green, start to ride across intersection, stop and scream abuse as maroon Commodore NCI-033 drives straight through the red without slowing down.

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Thu, 14 May 1998

Verbally Abused, then deliberately hit by car // at 21:00

Riding home from work along Willesden road Oakleigh at 17:05, there were parked cars on the opposite side of the road and traffic from head on passing. Somone in a car behind me decided they couldn't pass me and the driver gave me a long blast on the horn which I ignored. The car, (white Holden Commodore sedan, black tinted rear window, rego. Vic. OXI-706, then pulled alongside with the occupants yelling abuse, then swerved in at me, clipping my front wheel with their rear bumper, then spun the wheels and drove off. Driver was not visible due to the darkness of the window tint.

At the Willesden road-Poath road intersection the car was stopped for the traffic lights and as I tentatively rode past on the left, the passenger again yelled something at me and threw a cigarette butt at me as I rode past. I yelled out “Learn the road rules!” in the window and then rode up to Murrumbeena Police station. The police officer took the details on the back of a scrap piece of paper, stating that “I won't take a statement now, after I ring them up and find out what happened I'll get back to you tonight or tomorrow and we'll see whether you wish to take it further.”

The police officer called me back the following evening, stating that he had interviewed both occupants of the vehicle in person and “given them a right serve on their driving behaviour.” However, both deny that their vehicle hit me, deny that a cigarette butt was thrown, and claim that I swore and abused them first, so it was pointed out that it would be fairly pointless to take the matter further as it would be their story vs mine in court.

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Wed, 11 Feb 1998

Nearly “doored” by a Taxi driver // at 09:00

8:40 riding along Atherton Rd through Oakleigh, I had just left the traffic lights at the shops and had a two-tonne van overtaking me. A taxi (Vic. M-3631) pulled head-on into a parallel parking space, leaving at least a foot of his car sticking out into the traffic, as I drew alongside to ovetake, the driver threw open the door and stepped out without looking. The van to my right had to swerve to avoid hitting the door, I had slid to a stop inches from the driver and yelled. The driver swung his arms at me and screamed “Don't ride on the fucking road, dickhead!” As he seemed quite angry, I left the area, since I felt that he would attack me if I tried to point out that motorists in Australia are required to check before opening their car doors and it is an offence to hit someone with one!

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Thu, 27 Mar 1997

Hit by a bus! // at 18:00

Riding home at approx 5:30pm heading west up Dandenong Rd, I had just turned onto the main road from the service lane, there were 2 cars and a bus approaching in the left most lane, but they were a fair distance back.

The two cars went past, although the second driver slowed right down and crawled past, the “Quinces” bus — Vic. DKA 119 — pulled in towards me as he went past, scraped along my pannier straps and as I through my right hand out, brushed along my knuckles. The driver was looking at me in the mirror and appeared to be either laughing or smirking.

I followed the bus to the Quinces depot in Atkinson Rd and went into the office to make a complaint — the guy (Steve) in the office seemed quite upset and promised to look into it first thing after easter.


Wednesday 2-Apr-1997: I received a call from Steve and he said he had spoken to the driver. The driver claimed I had darted out from the side road without looking and swerved into the middle of hte lane in front of the bus. I said that this was not how the incident had appeared to me and was told that “we have spoken to all our drivers and reminded them that cyclists are legitimate road users.”

Wednesday 16-Apr-1997: I was riding back to uni at lunch time along Blackburn Road and there was a semi-trailer parked on the lawn and leaning into the left lane, as I went past, the bus that had just caught up to me pulled out completely into the next lane to overtake. I laughed when I saw the number plate — same bus, same driver.

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Tue, 04 Mar 1997

Lady turns left into me // at 09:00

On my way to work, riding along Willesden road Oakleigh. Just past the Greek school I was pulling up on the left of the two cars stopped at the pedestrian crossing, all of a sudden the lady driving the rear one (Maroon Mitsubishi Magna) decided to turn left into a parking space, no indicators, didn't look. I hit her rear door and fell onto the car in the next parking space.

Her words to me “Oh, are you all right, I so sorry, I didn't see you, I didn't look.”

Damage to me — small bruise on the back of left calf, scraped bar end.

Damage to her — panel damage and a bent-in left rear door.

I was too shaken to take down her number or any details, and didn't bother because there didn't seem to be any damage to me. It did annoy me a lot because every morning I see idiots around this school and every morning I have to do something to avoid being hit by them. Around 100m further up the road after I had got back on my bike I had to hit the brakes to avoid being reversed into by a driver who decided to back out into the traffic without looking.

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Thu, 06 Feb 1997

Taxi driver mayhem // at 12:00

Taxi driver swears, swerves and tries to hit me

Commuting to work along Dandenong Rd, I had just reached a section where the road widens from 3 to 5 lanes — the intersection with Warrigal road — with the addition of two left-turn lanes. I was moving into the rightmost of these (since it was also allowed to go straight ahead) when a Taxi (Vic. rego. M1856) blasted on the horn, and as the driver went past on my left, swerved at me and swung his fist out the window to try and punch me. The taxi, complete with two passengers, then turned left down Warrigal road. The whole time the driver was yelling and swearing out the window, but due to his accent or language I couldn't tell what he was saying.

At the next major intersection (Huntingdale Rd), the now empty taxi was in the right-most of three lanes, and after the lights changed, he saw me and swerved from the right to the centre lane, then was about to change into the left lane (where I was) when a truck came between us. He sped off.

At the next major intersection (Clayton Rd), I left Dandenong Rd to ride along the access road past the shops. The taxi was stopped at the side of the road, and as I rode past, the driver looked up, saw me, and threw a lit cigarette at me.

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