Friday, October 5, 2012

Magpie swooping season

If you wanted yet another reason to hate Collingwood, magpie-swooping season may be just what you're looking for.

If you've ventured outdoors in recent months, you may well have experienced the indignity of being dive-bombed by an overly-agressive bird with delusions of grandeur. That's because it's nesting season and by walking or cycling past their tree, you're a threat.

Some facts (that I stole form this Australian Geographic article):
  • 9-12% of all magpies swoop aggressively.
  • Nearly all attacks take place during nesting, between August and November.
  • 99% of swoops on humans are by male magpies.
  • 52% of swooping magpies target pedestrians and ignore cyclists. They’ll also let most people walk by untroubled, swooping on just 35 per cent of them.
  • 8% of aggressive birds target only cyclists, showing no interest in pedestrians but going for 65 per cent of passing bike riders.
  • 29% of aggressive magpies target both cyclists and pedestrians.
  • Sometimes swooping magpies target specific individuals – repeatedly attacking one person in a family and leaving the rest alone. They have long-term memories so can continue attacking an individual years later.
So, are there any ways to avoid being attacked? Well, some people seem to think so. Like this person;

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Police to "target" safe cycling

"Police will this month put their wheels in motion and target bike safety as part of the 29th annual Safe Cycle Month." - VicPolice website

So, this month, safe cycling will be "targeted".

Let's break that down a bit;

Target: verb (used with object)
  • to use, set up, or designate as a target or goal. 
  • to direct toward a target: The new warheads can be targeted with great precision. 
  • to make a target of (an object, person, city, etc.) for attack or bombardment.
I guess they're going for the first reading, however, I can't help but think they could have chosen a better word, like one that isn't a synonym for dropping bombs. Perhaps something like "promote" or "champion" or "advocate".

Especially when on the very page they are targetting promoting their campaign they have this at the bottom;

Now it's as though if you're a "target", you've either recently robbed an ATM or you're a cyclist.

What's more,
"Cyclists who are observed displaying safe cycling behaviour during Safe Cycle Month will be given an information card by police. This card contains road rules and safety tips, and cyclists will have the chance to win a number of prizes."
Ah, shouldn't cyclists displaying unsafe cycling behaviour be the ones to receive this information? I guess they'll just get a fine.

So, what tips are offered by the five-O on being a safe cyclist? Well, there's this;
“Bike owners need to check that their bike is in roadworthy condition and that their helmets are well fitted.”
So don't go getting one of those $5 helmets from 7-Eleven because I can assure you they will not fit.
"Wearing bright clothing and planning journeys in advance along safe routes will also reduce the risk of injury on the road."
Under no circumstances should you make an unplanned journey. I once made this mistake and I can tell you it was not pretty. I didn't have any food supplies or wet-weather equipment. I only had a vague idea of what direction to head in and the sun was beating down. If it weren't for the existence of street signs and thirty years of local knowledge, I don't know if I ever would have made it. I guess god does exist.

Oh, and the fact that I was riding to a rave was also helpful as I was wearing a becoming fluoro ensemble that warned all and sundry that I was there.

So, if you plan on riding around this month, watch out because “Police will be watching, acting and enforcing the road rules for the safety of all.”

I think @Treadlie Magazine summed the whole thing up pretty well with this tweet;