Accumulation of rants with a life on a bike.
Ok, Ok the heading is a bit strong. With the better weather returning, I am sure there will be more confrontations with drivers as more cyclists come out and hit the roads. For us who have been cycling throughout the winter months, you will probably be more accustom and senses are more honed for dangers with sharing the road.
In this post, I will go over my interactions with drivers and other dangers that I have come across in my short time of riding a bike.
When I first ventured out onto the road I tried my best to stay tight to the kerb, probably like most newbie cyclists. After a while, you realise this is the wrong way to ride. The majority of car drivers would try and squeeze past you in the same lane. This gives you nowhere to go if you come across any potholes or drains in the road, making a crash more possible. So now you need to move out take control of the lane as stated in the highway code.
Once you have moved out to the Primary position this is where most of the contact with car w*nkers will evolve.
My encounters have involved being inches away from cars travelling 50+mph when the second lane of dual carriageway was empty for them to move over and giving me space to ride. In one case the nice blue Subaru Impreza squeezed past while another lane of dual carriageway was completely clear from other traffic at 7am. Not only did he nearly leave a blue strip of paint along my leg, he dropped down a gear to make his big bore exhaust backfire, scaring the early morning porridge out of me! Though he didn’t find the funny side when I caught up with him at the red light 200 metres away. Let’s just say he wasn’t the great conversationalist type that morning.
Then there is middle finger guy, sat in behind so close to my rear wheel he could see the depth of my tyre tread. Once he had enough space to overtake after been held up for all of 3 seconds, he then raced on by, flicking the finger! A polite wave back and on with the cycle. I even had this on an open country road, the driver was not in any way delayed or affected by me riding on the road. To this day, I wonder what I did wrong!
Roundabouts are fun. The more exits the more it’s like Russian roulette. Had one taxi driver come out 3/4 of the way onto the roundabout. Luckily it was late at night and the road was quiet, meaning I had room to swing round the front of the cab to avoid him. If I was one-second faster, I would have been surfing the bonnet and walking a crushed carbon bike home.
A typical comment would be “use the cycle lane”. Have you ridden more than 400 metres on a cycle lane? They are full of drains, to help with making the lanes puddle free creating safer roads to drive. By draining the surface water, all the debris from the lanes finds it’s way to the side of the road/cycle lane making it puncture heaven. With all the water heading to the side of the road, this helps with the deterioration of the road surface and creating more monster potholes for you to navigate. Then there is Mr Lazy, parking in the cycle lane because he can’t be bothered finding another place to park while he nips into the shop. These are just a few of the common problems. Have a look at Global Cycling Network (GCN). They have a good collection of the stupid cycle lane blockages or obstacles.
Then the drivers favourite comment “you don’t pay road tax”. Implying if you pay “Road Tax” it means they should have priority on the road. Yeah, good one mate! I am pretty certain that no one should be paying road tax, as it was abolished in 1937. Meaning we now pay “Vehicle Excise Duty“. As bikes don’t have engines and don’t spew out fumes, then there is no payment to be made! Just like the electric cars on the road today. Oh, we do pay towards the road. Through our council tax and general taxation just like everyone else.
These have just been a few of my encounters on the road. Don’t get me started on the advanced stop line (ASLs) being blocked at traffic lights. The not looking coming out at junctions. The grief from cars while taking part on group rides. Then the other beast, canal paths! I shall leave that one for another day.
Rant over with. Would love to hear any of your hates/stories with sharing the road.