Earlier this week, former Australian Test cricketer Shane Warne created a bit of controversy when he took to the Twittersphere after an incident involving a cyclist in Melbourne.
Here's a couple of pics of S. Warne in the era SWBMLH (Shane Warne Before Meeting Liz Hurley)
Photos from au.sports.yahoo.com and brent-goodman.blogspot.com
And in the SWAMLH era. (From heraldsun.com.au)
According to Warne's tweets and subsequent story in the media, the cyclist had held onto his car for a free ride and then when traffic was stopped at an intersection, the cyclist made his way past Warne's stopped car and then thumped the car with his fist as he went by. He (Warne) was so incensed by this behaviour that he filed a police report and then took to Twitter.
The media jumped (as did Warne's Twitter followers) to the defence of this "larrikin" of a sporting hero. Everything from, "You have no right to be on the roads" to "We'll see how some of these cyclists might like to have someone throw a shoulder charge at them". There was also a resurgence in calls for mandatory bicycle registration as a means of reeling in the "out of control" cyclists on the streets of the nation. (As if that has done a lot to reign in the motorists who are wont to flout the laws)
Then the cyclist decided it was time for his side of the story to be brought into the light. He said it was important that people had both sides of the story- so he contacted cycling blogger Wade Wallace at CyclingTips (this link will take you to the article).
The Reader's Digest version is that the cyclist had weaved past Warne's car which was stopped in the middle of an intersection- against a red light. (I thought it was poor form to enter a blocked intersection but then again, what do I know- I've never played cricket- maybe the road rules are different if you're a former test cricketer). The cyclist made his way past the car when Warne yelled at him- the cyclist responded in kind, Warne had a further exchange and then moved his car forward into the cyclist's bike causing damage to the bike which rendered it unrideable and forcing the rider to carry his bike out of traffic. He subsequently carried his bike to the nearest police station and filed a report.
It is interesting to note that independent witnesses have come forth to corroborate his (the cyclist's) version of events and as far as I am aware, none have come forward to support Shane Warne. The cyclist has indicated that really all he wants is to have is bike repaired but in light of the media coverage and furore, thought it best to at least give the public an opportunity to hear both sides.
But we all know Shane was acting in humanity's best interests and as a revered sporting figure (dare I say hero? I suppose to some he is) was trying to smooth the rough and stormy waters that so often extend across the gulf between motorists and cyclists. I'm not saying that all cyclists are without blame- I see my share of pinheads on two wheels almost everytime I go for a ride- running red lights, failing to indicate turns, riding more than two abreast....all the usual stuff. But I also see motorists doing the same things (other than more than two abreast)- more often than cyclists- and in vehicles which can sometimes be in excess of 20 tonnes.
So where were you Warnie on my ride yesterday morning when the bloke in the sedan failed to give way at a T intersection until he was actually in the lane of oncoming traffic? I had to come to a complete stop to avoid being another statistic....
Where were you Warnie on my ride yesterday morning when a large commercial vehicle with a 30 foot sea container on the back ran a red light at approximately 70 km/hr when we had a green light? I could see he wasn't even considering touching the brakes from about 200 metres from the intersection.
Where were you Warnie on my ride yesterday morning when yet another bloke with his personalised plates (JORDYN) failed to give way at another T intersection forcing me, again, to come to a complete stop?
So Shane, if you're out there, can you send out a few tweets to some of your idolising, vehicle-piloting, adoring fans to keep an eye out for me and my friends? We're pretty fragile you know....unlike a Mercedes sedan.....
Cheers- ride safe