OPINION: I can drive better and ride faster than you
WEDNESDAY afternoon I was blessed to be driving Conrod Straight on closed roads within the famed turf Mount Panorama at more than 240kmh.
One day later the wattage came from within aboard by trusted Specialized time trial bike. Sure the speed difference may have been 200kmh, but both provide generous enjoyment.
Shock horror, I'm a driver and a cyclist.
The career path of motoring editor has taken yours truly to some far-flung destinations, and like others within this industry we are fortunate to undertake regular sojourns to controlled conditions where we push cars and drivers to the limits.
I've been under the guidance of driving legends such as Peter Hackett from the Mercedes-Benz Driving Academy, former Top Gear host and advanced driving instructor Steve Pizzati along with Geoff Becker's team from Motorsport Safety and Rescue.
While confident in my ability behind the wheel, I'm also well aware of my driving deficiencies.
Unfortunately, the majority of drivers are not.
Which is part of the reason that the issue of licencing for cyclists in NSW was cause for anxiety.
Constantly we hear the message of "speed kills". The sad reality is that it's not the velocity causing the majority of accidents.
Many people simply cannot drive. They can't steer, they can't pedal, they can't chance lanes, they can't merge. They're a menace.
Before we look at the minority of road users, our focus needs to be on the majority at the helm of two-tonne weapons.
Apart from the initial "leaner" test, how many people have undertaken advanced driver training? Have you explored the limits of stability control or anti-lock brakes?
Chances are the answer would be "yes" for less than 1% of our population.
Which leads to this hatred of cyclists. Drivers have little knowledge of the foundation of their vehicle…hatchbacks will cross to the wrong side of the road to overtake cyclists, whereas four-wheel drives and utes almost shunt riders as they pass.
Yes, some cyclists do the wrong thing. But there are far greater wrongdoings from distracted, ill-skilled drivers occurring on all roads.
Walking a mile in all shoes would be a step in the right direction. If car drivers could gain take a spin in a truck, that might avoid them pulling into lanes and forcing them to jam on the brakes that cause flat-spots on expensive tyres. Then they could jump on a motorbike, and see how often bikers are overlooked.
Roads are a dangerous place, made treacherous by impatient drivers who overestimate their ability.
And riders are also drivers. Heck, there is a massive cycling fraternity among race car drivers. They can drive faster, with more precision than you…then they'll get on pedal-power and blow you away there too.
Pull your head in. Riders be aware, drivers give them space.