Tuesday 6 May 2014

Short note on a terrifying ride

Just got home to do some work in peace and quiet, but before I start I'll relate what just happened on the way home.

Riding up towards a roundabout (Queens Road/Northampton Street), looked, signalled, picked right hand lane, and approached to turn right. A car continued really very fast behind me, swerved in to the left lane, came along side, and the driver yelled at me to 'move over'. I didn't have anywhere to go as she pulled right towards me, making contact sufficient almost to take me off the bike. Had another car come on to the roundabout coming the other way, I'd probably have faced a combined 40mph head on collision or, worse, have been jammed between the two vehicles. 

I caught her up twice (you always catch up - they're never going to gain anything by their driving, ever, the roads are always too congested for that) and demanded that she stop - she'd hit me, checking over both myself and my bike before she drove off to ensure no damage is reasonable. She didn't - on the second occasion she sat in her car, gave me the 'watching you' stare (both fingers pointing at her eyes, then at me). I challenged her to phone the police, but frankly by now I was terrified of an old lady empowered to act in a violent way by being in her car.

I don't take a helmet camera with me every day. Are we at the point where road assault is so common that we need to film every last moment on our roads? As I didn't have my camera, I've got nothing to take to the police.

Now, she was probably terrified of me - she was an older lady, and having swerved her car in to me and seen me still there in her mirror, I can understand why at that point she's got no interest in stopping and exchanging details. I guess once the cyclist is no longer directly in your sights he's no longer such an easy target. I was both terrified and furious - as you might imagine. But without video evidence I wanted her to stop to make sure no damage was done, and I'd yell at her about that again.

I've often said that Cambridge is both the best and worst place to ride. Here's a good example of the latter. 


  1. This is very upsetting and every cyclist will have experienced this sort of thing. We also get aggravation when walking, but the whole scenario of catching up with the offender tends not to happen. Also motorists can also get this, sometimes with deliberate shunting etc. Not that I am minimising this.

    A few thoughts:

    1. You're absolutely right to be angry and I think definite (non-violent) remonstration - arguing for the Police to be called - is well in order. This is both to assist you with doing something useful with you anger - it is important not to bottle it up to the detriment of your health - as well as to deter the criminal in future.
    2. Feel free to share your feelings with a support network if you want (such as on here) if it helps you.
    3. Do NOT let it deter you from riding. Lots of these incidents will occur before you actually have one resulting in serious injury.
    4. Maybe worthwhile taking her number and letting the Police know - again calmly and dispassionately. It may make some difference.
    5. You don't have to have a head cam - but maybe since it's Cambridge there could be another cyclist in the vicinity? Either way, don't blame yourself!
    6. Don't blame yourself!

    Robert Davis

    1. Cheers Robert,

      I think best plan is to just take a deep breath and calm down when you get home. I've tried reporting road-rage to Cambridge Police before and, frankly, without helmet camera footage they're disinterested to the point of resentment.

      I'm no shrinking violet - I'll stand up for myself, but what bothered me about this one was the cold, hard, hate from this woman. I don't think that the general carelessness we see on our roads is getting worse - but I'm a little worried by how much hate there is.

  2. Robert Davis writes:

    Yes, hatred does exist. Make it THEIR problem - its an indication of how screwed up they are. let them stew in their juice. You should eb able to feel superior to such individuals. And if you can get some ID, photos, a witness or number plate, it could be helpful . And also the deep breath...