I bought this dress just before Christmas last year at Leona Edmiston. It’s bright cerise and the fabric drapes beautifully. It has “cold shoulder” sleeves. The belt, which is made out of the same fabric, gives it a lovely shape. I wore it on Christmas lunch with my parents and brother who came to visit from overseas which made the occasion very special.
My friends M and S and countless strangers have asked me why I don’t wear a fluorescent vest/jacket/belt to make me more visible. In Sydney, I am very noticeable on the bicycle because most people expect to see a man in lycra on the road. There aren’t many women riding in bright dresses and heels. I have a very loud bell and an even louder voice. I keep up with the traffic with the electric-motor boost which tends to earn respect from drivers. Why would I want to wear a vest or jacket that doesn’t enhance my appearance?
But in all seriousness, I don’t wear fluoro as I think it gives the rider a false sense of security. It’s dangerous to assume that because you’re wearing fluoro, drivers WILL see you. That may or may not be true and is entirely out of your control.
My approach is to be proactive. I try to ride with an awareness of my surroundings. I ride at a safe speed. I indicate when I want to turn. I ride in a straight line with the traffic. I make eye contact with drivers around me (even while wearing sunglasses with a nod or a smile). I am aware of the cars on the road next to me and in front of me. I choose to pass a problem driver or hang back to look for an opportunity to pass safely. I use my eyes and ears, as we all do, to perform simultaneous tasks.
Consequently, I can hear the engine of the car driver who is following too closely behind me. When this has happened, I have made space to let the car pass. I always catch up with the driver at the next set of lights. I might say hello in a friendly way. I always ask if they didn’t see me. Sometimes, I get an apology. Mostly though, the conversation becomes heated because most people (men especially) don’t like being reminded that they were in the wrong. My parting shot when that happens in the city is, “Darling, go back to the suburbs!” A particularly aggressive delivery man received, “Ten years of bad sex for you!” In the suburbs, I have used, “You need to get a bicycle, Honey!” My husband has suggested blowing a kiss or flashing the driver. As I wear a dress every day, I’m encumbered. Getting the skirt above my head is difficult as I’m sitting on it.
Today’s ensemble: Leona Edmiston dress, Geox heels, Yakkay helmet, Cartier Santos watch, Linus Eleanor bag, eZee Sprint bicycle