I had an incident last night. Riding home, lights a blaze and keeping my eyes peeled, I was just cruising, I wasn’t in a rush. As I approached my turning I started to indicate and pull out. I usually pull out before every central refuge just to slow the cars down before they cut in. But here I was intent on pulling right across as I would be turning right. The Highway Code states clearly that the overtaking vehicle gives way. However, there seems to be a secret addition to this “except when overtaking cyclists”. To turn tight going down Warren Hill to the Offington Roundabout you have to pull over at the top of the Hill by Links Road. And yet when I indicate to turn right, that seems to be a signal for drivers to speed up (happens every day). Waving the Highway Code is no defense against an overtaking car.
Back to last nights incident. I looked at the car behind thinking that it must slow, even just a fraction because of the approaching refuge. The road constriction usually makes it a good place to cross. With both of us fast approaching the central refuge and with the car in the middle of the road clearly intent on maintaining its speed its only options would be to plough into the bollards and lamp post or choose the softer option of taking out the cyclist. I gave way. The car behind, obviously, aware of the situation slowed to let me cross.
So what did I do, go home and have a cuppa to calm my nerves? Not at all. In a split second I pulled back into the traffic and chased the car. After a couple of hundred metres the car indicated left, I was going to catch it! The problem with this is that the chase, the pounding heart and the threat to my well being does not put you in the best frame of mind for a quiet discussion on the plight of cyclists.
I was rude and abusive, bear in mind that as a cyclist you get very defensive and react to every threat. Drivers must remember that when I say threat I mean actually threatening life. Over reacting is natural but horrible and I get really upset afterward.
I got back and reported the incident to Operation Crackdown but felt terrible about losing my cool. It pees me off that cars see those central refuges not as traffic calming obstacles but as slalom posts.