I live in Crafers West, and commute daily to work in the city by going down Old Belair Rd.
Once I get onto Old Belair Rd from James Rd, I ride down reasonably fast: 50 - 60 km/h in good, dry conditions, but a bit less when it is rainy. So I am thinking that no motorist should feel inconvenienced by me, since I am only slightly slower than a car.
And still, some w....er this morning felt the need to overtake me at a curvy part of the road where there is clearly a double line to prohibit overtaking, and certainly no clear view due to curves. The person then nearly collided with another car that was coming up the hill, and left me feeling rather shaky, as any collision would have taken me out as well.
I reported the car (number plate WEI-711) to the SA Police Traffic Watch, but guess that there won't be much coming out of that. And in all fairness, what can the cops do about it anyway??
It's the second time that I have been overtaken in a risky manoever on that road. Has anyone had the same experience?
Who in DTEI/local council do I need to talk to to improve the situation? Maybe some additional warning signs could help?
The bottom of Old Belair Rd just before the round-about also has a hairy feel to it. I got hit in the round-about once, when a car entered the round-about without seeing me. And I have heard of one other person getting hit near that point.
Funnily enough, the more taffic there is on that road, the safer it feels, because motorists feel that overtaking wouldn't be of any use anyway. If the raod is relatively empty though, they are happy to race down there with no regards to cyclists.
Unfortunately, the only real alternative to get to the city with a roadie is the Old Freeway, but then I end up having to cross the freeway at peak hour traffic in the morning, plus a short distance on Glen Osmond Rd. It doesn't feel a lot safer, and takes longer.
I ride down James Road and Old Belair road after coming through the park each morning usually around 6.20-6.30am and I always sit in the "middle" of the lane.
This tends to hold back the w....rs, but there will always be the exceptions as I was overtaken one morning when I was already sitting on 65kph, the tool went right onto the other side of the road.
I take the old freeway home in the afternoon as it's a much less hassle ride and I nicer workout.
I took your advice today and kept to the middle of the lane more than I normally do.
I think that's worth a go, will stick to that for the time being.
Its obviously not a totally w..k.r proof strategy, but it makes them think before overtaking as it's obviously more difficult if they were to choose going out and past.
Riders invite problems when they ride too slowly or ride too close to the left, it's raw meat to the beast behind the wheel.
After they follow you for a bit, they will realise your not that slow either ;-)
Always keep an eye out for the peanut coming up the old belair road too, I have had one coming up on my side of the road one morning, that got my attention, so always keep the speed under control to help you make a direction change if you need to!
Dry road I sit on 55kph wet closer to 45kph.
I'm a plains dweller, but a friend from Glenalta has warned me that she's witnessed a couple of collisions (accident doesn't feel like the right word) in quieter times of the week, caused by speeding cars who cut the corners- both heading up and down OB road. Bad news for any cyclist nearby. So I agree that you're often safer in heavy traffic.
I use Glen Osmond inbound about once a week, and feel pretty safe when there is solid flow of cars heading into town. Once I have merged with the cars after the freeway, I take the left lane and can hold my spot in the flow comfortably- it's rarely faster than 45-50kph. Just allow braking room, or an escape route down the left, if traffic suddenly slows.
Police have told me that they do follow up verbal reports like yours. Apparently they usually ring the registered owner and ask if they were on the road at that time. Certainly all they have is heresay so there's never going to be charges laid, but they have a conversation about what may have happened and this is usually warning enough for the driver who wasn't expecting to hear from the Police about an incident they may have hardly even noticed.
And lastly- given your apt description of the offender, you'll enjoy http://www.101wankers.com/ written by a London woman who wittily names and shames the idiots she meets while she's riding her bike.
I have a few mates in SAPOL, who also ride. They love to hear about this kind of incident, as it is amazing the number of times that people with the w..ker gene are not only involved in terrifying cyclists, but also drive unregistered cars, without a license, with unpaid fines, and are often growing or manufacturing cash crops at home. A few words from one of us can give them the opprotunity to start a very "productive" conversation.
They do also record statisitcs on this, so even if nothing happens from it, it is recorded. If all of a sudden there is a spike in reported dangerous driving then maybe there will be more attention paid.
The other alternative is the Caroline Path through Lynton, which would only seem to involve crossing over near the BP (sorry not familiar with road names) into Gloucester Ave. Sounds a helluva lot safer than OBR. Don't know where you work - gradient is also a little on the extreme side.
Whilst I like to sit in the middle of that road when descending, I would not like to do it A) in the wet and B) during peak hour.
I have also driven down it after dark after visiting a friend, and been tailgated whilst travelling at 60kph then tooted and abused at the bottom because I was obviously not going fast enough - I am not as familiar with the road and was doing the speed limit in any event. So it is not only cyclists that cop it.
Julia, I can relate to your comment.
I at times drove Greenhill Road when the SE Freeway was being upgraded. I am a confident driver, but some of the tailgating and overtaking when one could not check for oncoming traffic really shook me up. I spoke to DTEI about the default speed limit of 100 km/h that was current at the time, because in places even 80 km/h was too fast in a car. The reply was unsatisfactory, but I understand that the sign-posted speed limit has since been decreased.
Sorry to the privacy advocates amongst the community.
Perhaps a network of CCTV cameras along this (and any other traditionally hazardous) stretch of road would change motorists' behaviour...
There are cameras that monitor vehicle congestion, cameras that monitor night time violence hot spots, cameras that send us a fine if we go through an orange light too fast, cameras that watching us walk past ATMs, cameras in almost every store... why not use the surveillance technology that seems to be everywhere else in our world along stretches of road that are feared by cyclists? Perhaps then hear-say evidence could be backed up by video footage and make for a more compelling case.