A proper rant – Road conditions, using your head and how about a little empathy



Safe Cycling Poster A2 100copies V2

<Deep breath>

<Another deep breath>

If you’ve read anything that I’ve written before, you’ll know that I’m a glass is half full sort of cycle advocate. The type that thinks bikes are brilliant and that we could save the world if people realised just how brilliant they are, road more, organised events, challenged themselves up hills a little bit and then all sit down in the pub afterwards for a nice chat over a pint of thoroughly dark porter and a pack of scampi flavour fries.

Well that hasn’t changed.

However……Every now and again my normally placid demeanour is blown to smitherens when a total numpty/idiot/moron (delete as applicable) hassles me on the road during dangerous conditions. This is exacerbated when the driver really, really should know better and the thought that the next time he/she does something stupid, it could end in significantly more than tears. So, rather than explain the situation twice, the passage below is a rant that I’ve aimed squarely at this particular driver, even though he denied me the opportunity to deliver it. I rode after him, in an attempt to educate with some tips on road conditions, but he was having none of it. Anyway…….this needs to leave my system, so off it goes….

Dumfries place 3 (1 of 1)

“Mr, I ain’t going to ride into the front of one of these if I can possible avoid it.”

So we have a 90 degree bend, a road with roadworks, in effect, triple parked delivery vans and two buses trying to negotiate the lot. You give me an almighty shrill, blast of the horn and gesticulate with frantic waving of the arms, that you want me to go wider. In fact, what you’re asking, NAY, telling me to do, is go wide enough to let you pass, to leave my position on our side of the road, the correct side of the road, the safe side of the road, and go directly into the path of the oncoming bus that is already straying into our lane, because its MASSIVE and can’t take tight bends without taking them EXTREMELY WIDE.

I’m guessing – what with those eyes in the front of your head ‘n all – that you can see how tight these road conditions are. And I’m guessing – with that brain that must be hidden somewhere – that you’ve noticed that the rain is spraying across your windscreen like a South Atlantic squall. So I’m going to guess again, that that brain – which we’ve assumed is present, though disengaged – is capable of working out on some deep and buried level that my lot is rather more precarious than your lot. I’m also going to guess – as you’ve forced me to do a lot of guessing here in the absence of sensible actions and reasonable explanations – that unless you are confirmed psychopath – and let’s face it, you don’t find many confirmed psychopaths driving a Ford Focus whilst wearing a cardigan and keeping the window closed to avoid a discussion – you must be capable of rational thought and possible even (horror! Shame!) empathy. Remember that one? The emotion that allows you to consider other people?

Well the next time you hassle a cyclist who is obeying the road rules and far more aware of the conditions than you seem capable of, consider this; In a direct scuffle with a 15 tonne lump of steel and plastic and glass, full of commuters and mums and dads and children and prams and bags, that I will come off second best, weighing a mere 12 and a half stone soaking wet. And when you’re done considering that, have a further chew on this; Your nano second delay was not yours alone and given that you stopped at the next set of lights for 2.5 minutes – where you steadfastly refused to speak to me – if I had put myself in front of the number 95 ****ing bus, your car would be sprayed in a colour altogether different than pale blue.

Phew. That’s better. I can now back to telling you that cycling is simply brilliant, wonderfully healthy and that despite this little episode, I still arrived in work far quicker than if I’d been rattling along in my Citroen. Keep on riding.

Top image via 100 copies and on sale here 

6 replies »

  1. Grr! It reminds me of a similar altercation I had recently. I was at a junction, turning right. A car was coming in the opposite direction so I stopped. A split second later there was a squealing of brakes behind me, followed immediately by angry shouts from the driver who obviously hadn’t expected me to stop. What was she expecting me to do? Run the risk of being hit by the oncoming car? And besides, if she had to slam her brakes on that hard, she was clearly either too close to me or hadn’t been paying attention – or both.

    • Exasperating – and little to no empathy (again). I think its that element that really sends me into a tizz. I can accept mistakes – we all make those – but to absolutely not give a stuff about anyone else other than yourself, is completely unacceptable.

      • Well now…A = Glad you’re in one piece. B= I think driving, sorry, arrogant, selfish driving, is as much a sign of social decline as any other. This rush rush me me me culture permeates through everything. Most of the time fate, luck and experience navigate us around these things but unfortunately the humanness of a human being is changing. If they had killed you what would they have got, next to nothing yet their actions were as strong as murder.

        The other day as I walked along the pavement I could see ahead of me two professional looking gents standing in the middle of the pavement talking. Beyond them was an older lady struggling towards them with shopping bags. The human knows and is aware of those approaching through instinct, as well as sight, the two guys didn’t move, I had stopped to give way to the lady who was navigating around the two guys. The point i make is, I don’t think either of these guys were bad guys but the social manners and etiquette has gone and this was from an age group that had been brought up with it..Hell knows where the youngers will take us. I have even seen it in myself while sitting on the train and putting myself into the oblivious mode lest someone bother me…what’s that about…

        Teach : Manners, courtesy, good will and most of all RESPECT and we will all share space so much better…Well that’s two of us that have got things off our chest. lol Now where’s me pint..

      • Very well said! Venting one’s spleen is very carthartic – you can’t solve all of life’s problems, but a good storm force 10 moan provides temporary relief 🙂

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