“Riding in dark clothes at this time of the morning is just asking for it!” – These were the exact words spoken by a work college as she leaned out the window of her car to berate me, the cyclist on her road.
Attired as pictured above, I was riding to work via a quiet, long, straight stretch of country road at 6:30am on a bright, sunny spring morning. I was running two rear red lights, one on my seat post and another on my large light grey messenger bag. I was keeping an ear out for cars and holding a steady line on the left hand side of the left hand lane. Not expecting any problems I was surprised when the first car I’d seen that morning drove up behind me with the horn sounding. The car slowed and the window came down.. “You’re asking for it!” the driver called. I recognised her as she launched into the spiel I mentioned first up. She ended the brief encounter with a “I didn’t see you!” then pressed down the accelerator and drove off.
I was steaming. Classic victim blaming and followed by the old SMIDSY play. When I arrived at work she was there waiting for me. I copped a second round of “You’re asking for it riding a bike at that time of the morning in dark clothes”. I pointed out that it was her responsibility as a licensed motorist to be alert for other road users no matter what their attire. I asked if she’d seen the young girl walking to the bus stop in her dark blue school uniform? Yes? Surprising, no red tail lights there. Nope, she wasn’t budging, I was a cyclist and with my ‘poor life choices’ I was inviting disaster. I doubt her ire would have been raised if I’d been riding my black stallion or chestnut mare to work. Just another motorist with velo-hate.