Thursday 5 September 2013

So much for being nice...

Coming down with a cold right now, which means that with the weather being stinking hot I'm feeling especially naff.

So I bugged out of work early and rode home at a pretty sedate pace through the heat of what seems to be something of an Indian summer.

I thought I'd ride home a simpler route with fewer twists and turns - meant a bit more time in traffic, but as it was mid-afternoon it seemed unlikely that it could be that bad. I was wrong.

It all started to go wrong along East Road - a delivery van was parked in the cycle lane just past the fire station, so I didn't enter that lane. It would have been foolish to do so - but of course the car driver behind me had other ideas as he passed within inches, jerking his finger at me, pointing at the kerb. How precisely I ought to have navigated the van - should I have flown over it perhaps? - is a mystery to me.

At the roundabout a little further on I didn't 'amber gamble', I flat out ran the red light. And I'm glad I did - I don't believe the car behind me could have stopped had I done so, he'd either have had to pass me far too close or more likely just gone straight through me. So yes, I'm one of those evil red-light jumping cyclists - I defy you to condemn me when doing so would otherwise have left me hospitalised or dead.

Then at the bottom of Arbury Road, I chose to slow down to let a van pass me - he'd been patient, and there were dozens of cars heading the other way, it was either let him pass before the parked cars started or keep him where he was until up past the Manor School (or whatever they've re-named it now - 'Not in Arbury Academy, honest Guvnor' or something). Pretty standard practice - but I couldn't see the car literally a foot off his bumper, and he had no way of seeing me. And damned near took me out passing. 

I can only conclude that there is no percentage in a cyclist being nice - all I've achieved through my early ride home was (1) one driver intimidating me because I physically couldn't get in to a cycle lane, (2) another driver who would have killed me had I obeyed the law, and (3) yet another driver endanger me because he was driving like a cock and I'd been polite to someone else. Why, in a road environment so incredibly hostile, would I choose to be 'nice', to 'show respect' when doing so increases the risk I face?

I've learned my lesson - if motorists want respect, I'll oblige - but not until every last one of them stops taking insane risks with my safety.

1 comment:

  1. I've had similar experiences: cycling in a 'nice' way by 'giving space' to cars just results in them taking yet more by passing me too closely as if I wasn't there. Now I just try and make it impossible for them to overtake until I feel it is safe.
    The other issue I find is that pulling over is polite to me, but from the reactions of drivers it seems they fhink that is 'normal' and 'how it ought to be'. I feel like I'm reenforcing their perception that as a car driver they have more right to the road than I do.