It’s highly annoying when recounting a tale of woe, pouring your heart out and shaking your fist, only to hear an unsympathetic someone crow: “That’s nothing, mate … blah, blah, blah … my neck’s bigger than yours.”
So when I hear Australians complaining about how other Australians drive, I tend just to nod my head rather than thicken my neck. I tend not to mention the past 10 years sharing asphalt with the Italians, for whom the speed of light is considered conservative, in the wet, in reverse, in their driveways.
That’s not to suggest I haven’t seen daredevil tactics in Oz. Despite the recent “good news” about 2011 registering the lowest number of road deaths since 1946, we still have our share of hoons, road rage and drink-driving are still a problem, and if I had a dollar for every P-plater I saw texting while driving… It’s as though they think you can steer with a smartphone. Perhaps one day you’ll be able to, if Darwinism extends to gadgets.
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How can you tell the difference between a newly-elected government and a party that’s been in power for nearly a decade?
A newly-elected government is happy to admit that things could be done better.
A classic case in point this week was the new Liberal Government in NSW switching off 38 speed cameras deemed to have no real safety benefit.
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The fastest crash I had was in Italy, in 2002. I was testing tyres for Pirelli. We were trying different types and, naturally, sometimes they’re good. Other times, they’re not quite what you need.
It happened on a very fast left-hand corner – I was probably doing around 250 or 260km/h, and the rear tyre started to slide. Then it bit the road again and the bike suddenly snapped up straight again.
It’s what we call a high-side. I got thrown off the bike and into the air.
The best thing about it was – this might sound funny, but it’s true – I landed on my head and got knocked out.
The next thing I knew I woke up in a hospital room.
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