29th June 2010

 

 

Dear Reasonable Person,

 

This morning I felt that you drove your car at me in a threatening manner.  I inferred that you thought that I had broken some sort of road code; which you seemed to confirm when you opened your door and yelled at me something I couldn’t quite hear.  I’d like to take this opportunity to let you know a couple of things.

 

I ride a bicycle to work because I can.  If I drove a car, I would be adding to the already terrible traffic congestion between my home and my work, potentially making your trip less pleasant than it is.  I do this in all weather, despite the discomforts of rain, cold, wind and sun.  I am also riding to show my three children (girls) that they too can use their own motive power, rather than soon to be scarce resources to get around.

 

It is illegal to use a motor vehicle in a threatening manner.  Normally I record my ride with a video camera, but didn’t this morning because I’m tuning a new bike for a friend.  Had I recorded your actions this morning, you’d be talking to the police instead of reading this pleasant letter.  If indeed we had collided, both our days would have been wrecked.

 

If you are going to drive a motor vehicle, it is your responsibility to familiarise yourself with the road laws.  There is a very clear sign that provides exceptions for cyclists from the one-way provisions of Moor Street, between Fitzroy Street and Brunswick Street.  In any case, threatening anyone with a car, law-abiding or not, is an extremely cowardly and dangerous thing to do.

 

There are lots of people in my situation who cycle; we mean no harm; on the contrary, most of us reckon everyone should have a crack at riding a bike.  It can be lots of fun even in the bleakest traffic or weather.

 

Feel free to stop and apologise next time our paths cross (and as sure as eggs they will) – we’re almost neighbours in the scheme of things – we might even be friends under different circumstances.

 

Please take care of others as you would yourself.

 

Kind regards,

 

 

Mark

 

 

 

PS I appreciate that getting a letter attached to your car from an unknown person is a bit creepy.  I’d like to put my name and contact details to this letter, but I just don’t know if you really are a reasonable person or not.  My family depend on me to keep safe and well – you may really want to harm me for all I know.

 

PPS If I’ve made a terrible mistake and just put this note on the wrong car, please accept my sincerest apologies – I didn’t get the rego and have no video today.

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A problem here is - you're being the diametric opposite to the person who drove their vehicle.

Although respect, balance and sense of perspective always makes for a better type of person, and by that I don't mean being further up the evolutionary ladder or class consciousness bollox.
Firstly, the letter is probably only going to make you feel better, not matter an iota to the owner, and secondly be careful, placing a letter or a note on a car is against the law and you could find yourself fined, or like two people I know, in trouble with the police.

1) a colleage of my wife who left a note on a car that kept parking in his apartment's allocated parking space -- summonsed by the police for vandalism - seems the car mysteriously got broken windscreen wipers and scratches which the owner claimed had not been present prior to note appearing on the car. End result was no action by the police, but several hours of time wasted, no idea whether the owner in question had his parking habits altered.

2) friend who saw a motorist knock a motorbike over while parking, then drive over it and take off. Lifted the bike back up, wrote note, left it on m'bike, got hauled up by police and accused of knocking the bike over because the rego. he wrote down didn't match a currently registered car. End result was no action by the police, but several hours of time wasted.
Thanks for the replies.

If they're a reasonable person, the matter ends here and they change their behaviour (for at least that little section of the road).

If they're unreasonable, we both get dragged into a saga.

I am trying to be reasonable despite being angry that this crap happens.
I think you've handled it really well, in the circumstances. Invariably most people bottle it up or take it out on the nearest & dearest/work colleagues/cat/dog/budgie/passersby in the street or just being a complete shit.
Adrian_Tritschler wrote...
Firstly, the letter is probably only going to make you feel better...

...and that's about all it really needs to do if they are an unreasonable person, you can't reason with the unreasonable, but if writing the letter helps you feel better, in the face of their unreasonableness, that's a plus.
On a related note, what video equipment do you use on your bike? I've been thinking of getting a Muvi mini video camera which i can mount on my helmet.
CAMSHOT Action Helmet from Torpedo7 for $69.99, 8GB memory from Officeworks for $35. Very basic, but gives a great image from helmet or bars - 90 minutes plus of recording, recharges from USB - very happy with it.

This one is available at the moment, but i'm not much of an expert on what's good or not.
The Oregon Scientific is the best of the bunch at the moment but they're all good up to a point.

From a legal POV, you are required to make it obvious that you are recording your ride if you plan to use it as evidence. Wording on your HiViz like "video camera is recording" should be enough. This is Federal law (part of the telecommunications act) so it's universal across all of Australia.
I'm not planning to use my recording as evidence. I expect that every ride will be mostly enjoyable and uneventful...but if it's not, and I have a record of what happened, then I will use it appropriately.
The difficulty is, if you don't have some sort of warning, it's legally eavesdropping, even if you don't use it for evidence, but do use it to compile your case. Where you take an image of a person without their permission it can also be "assault with a camera." If you don't wear the warning, don't "mention the war" :-) You "remembered" every detail, camera? What camera? ;-)
Are you sure you are required to make it obvious you are recording? As far as I know any number of buses have cameras monitoring traffic ahead and there's no sign telling the world this. (I was told this footage was "reviewed" following an attempt by the bus driver to flatten me). Taking photographs and filming in public is legal most public places in Australia, I've videoed some of my commutes for my own entertainment and would present this to mr police if something untoward had happened.

I've got an Oregon ATC2000; footage is ok but you'd be hard pressed to make a positive ID on a car numberplate, and the sound quality is woeful - any verbal abuse is just lost in the mumbled wind noise.
I'm with you on the legal issues Adrian, I don't think any kind of singage is required. If someone confronts you on the issue you can argue that the camera strapped to your head is warning enough!

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