There are inconsiderate drivers abound, but when they reinforce each others behaviour its time to take a stand. It begins with a close pass of the typical variety.
Without any constraints or traffic limiting this driver, they choose to use their horn and pass in the same lane. Cycling regularly you soon get to know the local cars and this particular vehicle with number plates ZAM 369 is likely the car of a dealer as it ends up parked at the local Volvo dealership.
Where they pulled in, wound up their windows and sat in their car motionless. A nearby person dressed in a uniform from the site with clear company branding suggested that:
“you shouldn’t ride in the middle of the lane”
An interesting perspective from someone who didn’t see the incident or knew where it was, clear after the merge on Lorimer St where there are no bicycle lanes and the kerbside lane is full of obstacles and just 3.3m wide. The Australian guides specifically say that lanes under 3.7m are unsuitable to share, and cycling to the left of the lane will only encourage dangerous passes. Even Vicroads support this:
And although not required by law Vicroads say a 1m (3 feet) distance is required for a safe pass of a bicycle, so the lane at 3.3m subtracting the 1.84m of the car and 1m of clearance leaves just 460mm (18 inches) of width for a cyclist and while a set of handlebars may be this narrow my shoulders are much wider hence the choice to use the entire lane for safety.
While they’re not heavily leaning on their safety characteristics in Australia Volvo often ties its self with the road safety in its advertising and public engagement in other markets. But it seems their Australian dealership at Port Melbourne is breaking away from this with an anti cycling culture that sees no problem in harassing the public who dare to use the roads.
This is the most recent of several incidents involving drivers coming to/from their site and their Australian head office have promised a response to the matter.
The response was limited to a largely canned reply:
Thank you for your time on the phone.
We will certainly take on your feedback regarding Volvo being a luxury brand onboard and we appreciate the time you have taken to bring this to our attention.
Your feedback has been passed on to the relevant department.
So its on with business as usual for the motorised oppression.
2 weeks on management from Melbourne City Volvo have communicated that the driver of the car is not an employee of theirs, but no further information. The site has many businesses operating under the same company with google capturing the same vehicle parked under the common branding at the gate.
After making a face to face meeting with the Melbourne City Volvo management it was clear they had not received the complete description above. They were disappointed in the entire series of events and were clear they would like a more harmonious relationship with other road users, even taking the initiative to involve the other business entities on site and push for a wider approach. A very positive outcome and contrasting starkly to the handling by Volvo Australia.