I’ve just coined a new word – ‘Nontercation’. It’s like ‘Altercation’ but without the violent overtones. It came into being at 17.55 GMT on Tuesday the 7th of May 2013 after a nontercation with a mortorist on Crown Way in Cardiff. Here’s how it went.
Riding back from Express imaging on City Road, I headed North along Maindy Road toward the famously non-cycle friendly North Road, one of Cardiff’s main traffic arteries. I hopped on the pavement, jogged with the bike past Maindy pool – you can take the cyclo-crosser out of cyclo-cross but you can’t…etc. etc. – reached the pedestrian crossing, checked the cycle box before the lights, noted it was currently occupied by a car (it happens), then positioned myself in front of the car. When those lights change, believe me, you want to be where those drivers can see you. The nontercation went something like this (my thoughts at the time are in brackets):
Driver: mmmfffff mmmfffff mfff blah mmfff the box.
Me: Sorry? (eh? I think I’m being told off and I can’t even get in the bloody box).
Driver: mmmfffff mmmfffff mfff blah mmfff the box!
Me: Are you policing the highway code tonight? (typical. This chap would rather me take a more vulnerable position and its out of my control).
The driver in between us raises her hands as if to say ‘what an idiot!’ he’s nuts!’
Driver: <shouting> YOU SHOULD TAKE HER NUMBER. SHE’S STOPPING YOU USING THE BOX.
Me: <to driver occupying the box> He’s actually quite right.
The lights change. I wave in acknowledgement as both cars give me plenty of room.
So……A nontercation. I was so surprised not to be on the receiving end of a telling off (like Yehuda, above), that I didn’t really get the chance to thank our vocal driver for being pretty considerate. Perhaps he was a cyclist himself. Perhaps the lady rolled unccesarily into the box when the road was clear – rather than being caught out by traffic movement – or did something earlier in the evening to frustrate him. Or just perhaps, perhaps, the fresh road signage around Cardiff, the increased number of cycle lanes and sheer volume of cyclists on the road are combining to positively influence behaviour. In the words of Dylan; ‘The times they are a-changin’ (perhaps).
I know I’ll be flooded with many examples of the opposite, but it was nice nonetheless. Cartoon courtesy of Bicycle Times. Main page picture via San Francisco street blog. Top image from an interesting article on The Times website.