Road rage – never justified even if you are a cyclist

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.

About questadventure

Old git cyclist, road and mountain bike rider and racer, windsurfer, skier, snowboarder, husband, father, bike shop owner, fitness fanatic, cook, linguist.
This entry was posted in Bad drivers, Commuting, Lights, Road rage, Road Traffic Accidents and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Road rage – never justified even if you are a cyclist

  1. Dizzy says:

    I had an incident on Saturday, cycling to Shoreham to meet up for a club ride, when I say club ride, I am talking about my sons club VCJubilee, my son is 8yro.
    On the road my son rides in front of me, I ride slightly wider, a few inches to his right. Passing parked cars we pull out to avoid door zones, I always check if it is clear & signal my intentions, heading towards pinch points, traffic calming islands, I ride wider, blocking the road until I judge it is safe for a car behind to pass. I will alawys raise a hand in thanks if possible to the cars when they pass.
    On Sat, after negotiating the length of Brighton Road in this manner without a problem, we had a driver, try to squeeze through at one of the small islands. He managed to pull alongside me, but coudn’t get past my son. Obvioulsy annoyed that he could not pass at this point he braked sharply & blared his horn at us.
    I called him an idiot! A few 100yrds later we arrived at our detsination, & there was the BMW, parked in the road, blocking the entrance to carpark.
    I approached, banged on his window & asked why he tried to put his car through a gap that was obvioulsy too small?
    I may not have been as polite as I normaly am, but his response amused me.. I am not allowed to cycle with a child on the road, it is illegal & as a mother I should be putting my childs safety first??
    OK, at this point I gathered from his accent he wasn’t from the country & tried to point out that it isn’t illegal here, but he would have none of it! I was at fault, he was an experienced driver, he knows the rules.
    I told him what i thought of his driving & that I had it all on film & would be reporting him.
    TBH if he had of apologized I may have left it, but his attitude that I was breaking the law, that I was at fault, that I would have been to blame, if he had of hit my son made me furious.
    With an attitude like that he is a timebomb, he will eventualy knock someone off.
    The whole incident was captured on my headcam & he has been reported to Operation Crackdown.

    • Hi Mandy
      You could probably run an sensible argument to say that cyclist are superior beings to motorists or rather should I say that a cyclist brain cells are working overtime when on the road whereas a motorists brain cells are all but dead. In such a situation it would be unfair to take advantage of the driver’s incapacity to think and act like a sensible human being and it would be worse to drop to their level and act like an imbecile too. However, I am not perfect and I often ride, fully primed with the pin removed, about to explode at the least provocation. Drivers should realise that when they threaten your life, or worse your child’s life, your reaction will not be measured and calm and could even be violent.

      Claim your space.

      JP

  2. Cheers JP
    I have had many a narrow miss, normaly I just smile, wave ,even call out “Have a nice day” I have never sen red like I did on Saturday before. I was still shaking 15mins after the confrontation at the car park. Listening back to the video, I know what my brain thought I was saying, but it didn’t quite come out of my mouth that way LOL!
    Here’s a YouTube link to the incident

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s