“Oi! Shit’id!” came an aggressive shout from the car that had been trying to barge me and honk me off the quiet one-way downtown street for the last 50 metres, “If you’ve got a lid, wear one. If you ain’t, get one!”

Welcome to New Zealand, Englishman.

“Please be careful – you were driving very dangerously back there,” I say sincerely, aware only of the perversity of this uncouth type lecturing me on safety when moments ago he’d been endangering me.

Fat guy pulls his car over and steps out, fingers an ID card hanging from his neck and tells me he’s Detective Something-or-Other. (I wish I had a better head for names.)

“If I see you riding your bike again,” he barked, “I’ll arrest you!! Do you understand me??”

The deep red spider veins on his nose (to me a sign of hypertension or alcoholism) and his remarkably angry, loutish manner told me he wasn’t the type to try to engage in reasoned discussion.

“Now get off that damned thing and walk!!”

That was yesterday. First time out on my bike in a month and this is what I get. I’ve never been called ‘oi’ before. Or felt quite so intimidated.

Still a little shaken.


4 thoughts on “Oi!

  1. Terrifying and awful, the policeman should be ashamed of himself. I’d be tempted to right to the county officer as this man obviously makes a habit of bullying and terrifying people and not receiving any comeuppance for it.

    Be safe down there and hope you are able to enjoy some of the trip!

  2. @Traci. I’ve heard about the US. I have an aunt who lives just outside Houston, and I’m tempted (in a perverse kind of way) to go and see with my own eyes how things are for people on bikes over there.

    @Mark. Thank you for the comments. Wrote a short letter to the local police complaining of this guy’s behaviour and reminding them they were alone and failed in their enforcing a helmet law. No word of a reply; maybe they didn’t realise I wanted one. I have a feeling they didn’t take my comments seriously, as I still see helmet crackdowns on kids in the street.

    @Paul. The helmet is kinda beside the point. Even if this guy still believes the helmet-pushing nonsense the government trots out (prevents 85% of all injuries!), it’s still a minor ‘crime’ in anyone’s book (especially given that it’s not one in almost every other part of the world). The guy was just bang out of order in the way he dealt with me as a vulnerable road user and as a human being.

    On reflection, the only way I can rationalise his attitude is that he has developed a dislike of people on bicycles slowing him down, and this has blossomed into a royal chip on his shoulder.

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