Today i rode to uni with slightly more caution than usual. I had heard that there would be some sort of ENORMOUS CYCLING CRACK DOWN by the fuzz, ensuring that cyclists, as the most vulnerable road users, were obeying the road rules. Outside the Arts Centre i was pulled over by three cops (why so many? i wasn't packing a weapon). They questioned why i didn't have a bell. I replied that it was silly becuase i had my voice. In the event of a taxi trying to run me down, I'm generally not tinkling away, I'm screaming away at the top of my lungs to make sure they know where i am.
The police offer replied with a question: "What if you have a cold?"
I wasn't even sure what she meant so i remained silent. She then explained that if i had a cold i wouldn't be able to yell. I felt like pointing out that if i was so ill i was unable to speak, i probably wouldn't be on my bike. But i didn't, out of what little respect for authority i had.
Next, the cop says she wasn't going to charge me, and pulled out an ENORMOUS chrome bell and gave it to me. She said she expected me to have it next time i passed. I assured her i would (it's chrome!) and rode off.
What is the point? My voice is so much more efficient than a bell. What's more, several cyclists without bells passed by as i was getting done, and the cops didn't bat an eyelid. One suspects that, rather than looking out for cyclists, they were looking out for YOUTH ON BIKES. In their eyes there is a distinct difference. The elderly man (who by the way ran the red a kilometre back) is most likley an experienced cyclist and doesn't need addressing. I, on the other hand, was riding with casual cloths and pretty fast (but perfectly safely) and so i am perceived as a threat. As i was given this warning by the cops, i was also given a Bike Victoria flyer from some volounteers from BV. It was this patronising statement about the importance of following road rules for the sake of all bike riders. I have never ran a red. I always wear a helmet. I follow these rules, not becuase some self important lobby goup tells me too, but becuase i feel it is the safe thing to do. By the same token, i think bells are fucking dumb.
But as i always say, when in doubt or frustrated, watch Morbid Angel videos and see that they were just as retarded in the last 80's as now.
I should probably point out...i fucking love Morbid Angel.