On March 28th I wrote this blog in order to have it ready for posting today. At the time I was an avid dot watcher, totally taken in by the strength of the Indian Pacific Wheel Racers. A race that caught the attention of so many. Cyclist or not, computer screens across the globe were alight with flashing dots watching these amazing people ride from Freemantle, WA to Sydney, NSW. I was in total awe not only of their physical capabilities but their individual resilience and mental toughness.
At approximately 6.30am, Friday March, 31, the race changed. It was no longer about how far the dots had moved but about how one dot had stopped moving. A race that had captivated so many had changed, it was now about the loss of Mike Hall, second place rider in the #IPWR. A man, that before the race I did not know of. Like so many others I felt I had come to know a little part of him, I admired his spirit, his grit and most of all his smile that didn’t seem to waiver no matter the terrain. When I read the news that a fatality had occurred, I sat stunned, tears streaming down my cheeks, my children asked me what was wrong, I had no words.
I recently read a piece from Craig Fry, it touched a nerve, I too ride with my children and while I’m not in the same riding category as Craig I have the same fears he wrote about – allowing my children to move from the path to the road is a mammoth ask. Not only am I looking and listening out for my own safety, I now have 3 other little people I need to keep safe.
Mike Hall’s tragic accident leaves us all with questions, how? Why? What? Some we may never know the answers too, what we do know though is that we need to raise positive awareness of cyclists on our roads. We’re all someone’s mother, father, daughter, son, sister, brother, cousin, friend, lover, wife, husband…to someone we are their everything. How do we change the current attitude of all road users?
AWARENESS is a start….we all need to be aware of who is behind, in front and beside us on the road, regardless of the vehicle type, we are all road users and need to be aware of each other. What if just by playing road trip games you can increase the awareness of cyclists on the road?
This is where ‘frequency illusion’ or ‘Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon’, comes into play. What is this? Well have you every played punch buggy? You know, see a VW Beetle and punch the passenger beside you while calling ‘PUNCH BUGGY’. Have you noticed how this game heightens your awareness of these cars on the road? That is exactly what frequency illusion is. It’s the ‘phenomenon’ in which people who learn or notice something, start seeing it everywhere. It doesn’t mean that all of a sudden there are more VW Beetles on the road, it just means that you now have a heightened awareness for these cars. So why not use this phenomenon to heighten awareness of cyclists on the road!
Road trip games can be an easy way to pass the time while on a long or short trip, something to keep the passengers entertained so the driver can concentrate on driving. Why not mix up some common road trip games or introduce some new ones this Easter. Try out these ideas. You just wait and see how frequency illusion kicks in after playing these.
- Counting cyclists, simple yet affective. It really is that simple, you can simply count how many cyclists you see on road trips or mix it up a little. 2 points for a bicycle, 1 point for a motorcycle and a bonus 10 points for a tandem bicycle…yes we do see these. You can set a point goal, or just try and achieve maximum points until you reach your destination. First to see calls it, as you can guess this one can get a little heated, be ready for a good debate over who saw what first.
- Traffic cricket – We choose red for our wicket (it is my favourite colour after all). Passenger one will start the count (we count any road user, cyclist; motorcycle; car; truck etc), passenger one will continue to count road users until they encounter RED (a red car, red truck, rider wearing or riding a red bike etc). Passenger two then starts their count until they encounter RED. The game continues for as long as you like. The passenger with the highest count during their innings wins!
- Spotto – An old favourite. See a yellow car and call ‘SPOTTO’, well why not get creative. We’ve come up with many more names like: Fairy Floss – pink; Booger – Green; Crusty Demon – Motorcycle and Wheelie – cyclist. Kids are very creative; if you’re ever stuck for ideas ask a little one for help.
- Cyclist silence – Everyone in the car must remain silent until someone spots a cyclist. Not going to lie, this is one of my favourites.
- Cyclist story – Remember the shopping game…I went to the shops and bought a……. Well same idea different base.
- Step 1 – see a cyclist and give him/her a name.
- Step 2 – passenger 1: This is Sam, Sam went for a ride and saw a purple people eater
- Step 3 – passenger 2: Sam went for a ride and saw a purple people eater and a Brisbane Bronco
- Step 4 – passenger 3: Sam went for a ride and saw a purple people eater, a Brisbane Bronco and a truck carting seals etc etc
- Carry on until a) you see another cyclist or b) someone can’t remember something in story. A new game then kicks off.
Remember these are passenger games! Be mindful of your driver and avoid distractions.
There are so many avenues to available to bring about positive changes for all road uses. Organisations such as Space for cycling Brisbane and local BUG’s (Bicycle User Groups) proactively seek change. Get involved help make positive changes in your community to make the road safe for all users. Speak to your local member and let them know of concerns in your community.
Let us know what you do to promote safe cycling in your community.