Having discovered that my carefully planned route north, that goes out of its way to avoid the Pacific Highway (about an extra 50km total, climbing over the Great Dividing Range and a couple of 150km days), is not feasible any more due to drought conditions along the way, I’ve been forced to reevaluate my concerns about the Pacific Highway. It has a nasty reputation as one of the worst highways in the country, and some horrific accidents have taken place along it. I do wonder, however, what the actual statistics are.
Like all roads, it almost only ever hits the news when there’s been an accident, so the association builds in everyone’s mind – probably correlated to the overall volume of traffic over time – that the highway is unsafe in general. Thinking back, I know there’s been long periods when there’s been no mention of the highway at all on the news, so the risk of accident must be reasonably low overall. As in all situations (eg. the current unwarranted panic about “coward punches”), risk management and planning are more useful than just running around like a headless chook. I can either just work myself up over the possibility of a problem occurring until I decide to not go ahead with the trip, or I can calmly and rationally weigh the factors and work out how to make the trip happen safely.
Having watched videos of Dutch cyclists complain about riding in America and having to share the road with cars, I realise that exposure to Sydney drivers over the past 15 years or so has put me in a position where I’m not going out there inexperienced with traffic . It’s still all manageable, and I just need to not let unreasonable worry dampen my enthusiasm for the trip.