There have been so many stories of cyclists abused, injured and killed recently that it may appear to the casual observer that cyclists and drivers are at war. Australia is far from the friendliest place in the world to cycle; however there is a lot of love out there. Maybe Canberra is a bit special with so many recreational, commuting and racing cyclists that the attitude of drivers is more friendly.
In fact, my most recent encounters have been overwhelmingly courteous, such as the Linfox driver who gave me extra space or the Cappello contractors who patiently waited behind me on East Tallegandra Lane before overtaking safely.
I have just bought Cycliq Fly12 and Fly6[v] cameras to replace my old Fly6. Hopefully, I’ll continue to see examples of coexistence; now from two angles.
So anyway… last year I was hit by an egg while riding. This was so bizarre. Who throws an egg? Who carries eggs in a car and then throws them at a cyclist?
As you’ll recall I was waiting for the next step of the process whereby…
…because of his full admission I have elected to have ‘restorative justice’, as I think that it will make a greater impression than a Court or a caution. This is an arbitrated process where we will meet in a controlled atmosphere and I can ask for ‘restoration’. It must be reasonable. For example if a window was broken, restoration might be payment for the window. Or it might be a spot of gardening.
I have the Restorative Justice Unit of the Justice and Community Safety Directorate to thank for convening the meeting. The Senior Convener didn’t avoid tough questions; the first of which was, ‘ why did you have eggs in the car?’ I realised that this was not going to be an easy way out for the kid.
It also meant that I didn’t have to get angry to show how angry I was… along with several other emotions. We were all calm and quiet and respectful. We listened to each other calmly and with respect.
As for restoration, all that I asked was for him to write me a letter. He did; expressing his regret at his impulsive act, made without thinking about the repercussions. He said that he told his friends that it was a dangerous offence that could have serious consequences and that they should never think that it is a funny thing to do. He also said that he had disappointed his own family. He apologised to my wife and I.
He might make a good policeman one day. I imagine that this experience of justice will help him.
The lesson here is that kids sometimes do stupid things to try to impress girls, actions have consequences, a metre matters, and it is often better to trust in the inherent goodness of people.