Now, I don't want to start a cyclists vs drivers debate (you know how it goes, both groups griping about how the other is worse) - all I will say is that I see of plenty of bad behaviour from both groups. But since winter has set in, and it gets dark so early, there seems to be a different mentality on the roads. Everybody is in such a frickin' hurry, which means that when they try and do that hook turn in front of the tram they don't necessarily look to see if poor old Jorthy is pedalling along.
I had such a near miss last week that the look of shock on the driver's face will forever be etched in my memory, as will the fright I felt as I realised that she hadn't seen me at all until I dinged my bell at her, and if I didn't slam on my brakes in a hurry then there would be a nice Jorth-sized crumple in her door, and me probabily in traction for a few weeks (if I was lucky). Then two blocks later, almost exactly the same thing happened. I was beginning to wonder if (a) I was invisible and (b) if I would ever make it home in one piece.
I'm not quite sure what I can do to make myself more visible to motorists. I ride - following every road rule perfectly, I must say - properly in the bike lane, give drivers plenty of indication and warning when I am going to make a turn, don my super daggy but highly visible yellow fluro bike vest when riding, and have uber bright lights on both the front and back of my bike. Yet it seems that as soon as I hit the city I am surrounded by some sort of magic fog that renders me completely invisible to drivers.
Part of me feels bad about walking my bike along the footpath instead of riding on the road, as the current wisdom says that the more riders there are on the actual road, the more drivers notice them and therefore drive with their safety in mind. But when you have so many near misses despite doing everything right, and you'd like to stick around to see your daughter grow up, then it seems that one has no options but to remove yourself for safety's sake - at least until you are out of the confines of the CBD.
UPDATE: Just like to say I'm not quitting riding my bike - ugh, that would mean waiting for the tram, and I'm far too impatient for that - I'm just not riding the last four blocks of my commute which are smack bang in the middle of the CBD. Give up riding? Never? I love the feel of the wind in my hair too much!