I have to say that I’ve been absolutely gobsmacked in the last 24 hours. Let me explain.
Yesterday I had a series of near misses, all within about 5 minutes of each other, on Williamstown Road. Its a fairly busy road on the fringe of Melbourne’s CBD. The first near miss I consider to be a mutual “faux pas” between myself and a black Audi driver emerging from a laneway. We were both:
a) surprised by each other’s co-incidental use of the laneway entrance/exit, and
b) fortunate enough to the travelling slowly to avoid an embarrassing bingle. No harm done.
The next incident had me fuming. I slowly ride onto a pedestrian crossing that bridges Williamstown Road. I’ve seen drivers with tunnel vision routinely speed through the crossing ignoring pedestrians. It’s a wide crossing which may explain why some drivers may not see a pedestrian on the curbs, on either side of the road. I’m about a third of the way across, when a white van zips right through. I’m annoyed and wave my hands at the offender.
What happened next is the bit that really threw me. I pull up at the lights next to the van, I give the driver an evil stare and he completely ignores me. He’s away somewhere in his own head. Little wonder he didn’t see me, he’s in ‘auto-pilot’ mode. A motorcyclist, one lane over, had seen what occurred and shakes his head at me disapproving. I’m pretty sure he said something like – ‘You’re a f$%#king idiot, you were on your bike”. I replied “Doesn’t matter I’m on the crossing and have right of way”. They both speed off, presumably, to important matters.
The van driver is the typically selfish professional road user and I should know better having seen that kind of behaviour, repeatedly, in the vicinity of this crossing. On the other hand, the motorcyclist irritated me. One would have thought that the motorised two wheel variety of commuter would have empathy with the non-motorised kind. After all how that that possibly be right??
So this morning I did a quick search of the web and found this:
Which didn’t really answer the question ie Did I have right of way on a pedestrian crossing whilst mounted on a bike? As with ‘public-friendly’ interpretations of the law, its about what’s not explicitly stated that’s important. Which lead me to read:
And specifically Rule 248 on page 307 of the 2009 Road Safety Rules, and the following:
248 – No riding across a road on a crossing
(1) The rider of a bicycle must not ride across a road, or part of a road, on a children’s crossing or pedestrian crossing.
Penalty: 3 penalty units.
Which means the motorcyclist was right….WTF and I mean WTAF?? Gobsmacked. I’m sure that the bloody van driver didn’t know this 🙂