For some added realism, click here to listen to a recording of the junction at 8.50am this morning.
The car exits the magic roundabout*, 50m to the left of the junction. It’s moving quickly, pressed into action by the volume of traffic that orbits the roundabout like an asteroid belt. The car accelerates, plugging the short gap between high velocity objects. Looking ahead, the driver spots traffic approaching on the other side of the road. That’s painful, he muses, assessing the brief window of opportunity to take a hasty right turn onto Sanquhar Steet. The foot goes down, the car swings right, scything the corner of the junction. Shock spreads across the drivers face. The car swerves hard to the left, just missing the cyclist patiently waiting to turn right and standing precisely where he should be – at the ‘T’. In broad daylight, the cyclist is prominent and obvious.
Obvious? The speed obsessed driver was oblivious.
This happened to me about 3 weeks ago. The car careered around the turn and skidded to avoid me. I didn’t even have time to react, standing bemusedly, watching the car thump into the curb whilst the driver jumped at the impact. He apologised. I nodded acceptance. Then my legs almost buckled beneath me as I realised that I’d narrowly avoided being tossed in the air like a beaten bullfighter.
Now incidents like this can, and do happen. That I can accept. Fair enough. Put it down to misfortune. About a week later, another car did exactly the same at precisely the same spot. Still bad luck? Then last night another car did the same thing again, this time the mortified driver in the car behind shook his head and waved a sad acknowledgement to me – ‘Now THAT, was a close call’.
Once, maybe. Twice, co-incidence. Three times? A pattern. And drivers wonder why cyclists creep forward at junctions, ignore lights or hop on the pavement. Maybe, just maybe, because there’s so little protection on the roads. Now here’s an idea. In the work place there’s a health and safety book that records incidents for the purposes of pattern recognition and future accident prevention. Perhaps there should be a regional register that allows any road user (pedestrian, cyclist, motorist) to formally record concerns. With modern technology and mobile comms, it really shouldn’t be too tricky.
Do you have any thoughts on this? Does a database exist already? Feel free to comment below. Incidentally, the sound thing is an experiment. Sound is much more personal than video.
*The roundabout at the head of East Tyndall St is dubbed ‘The magic roundabout’ due to some controversial and expensive artwork. Endearing? Naff? Endearingly naff? You decide (below).