Monday 30 September 2013

One annoyed cyclist!

Today one of my friends was telling me about his commute to work on his Dahon.

There is a part of his route where several traffic islands are dotted along the road. They are there to primarily slow traffic. When coming up to one he usually adopts the assertive riding position as only one car, motorbike etc.., is able to pass. He was cycling along at a leisurely pace when all of the sudden he heard from behind a car accelerating and then attempt to dart in front of him. There was no way two of them could make it through!

Anticipating this he braked and let the car through and stayed where he was. This obviously wasn't enough for this particular driver as he opened the window, hurling abuse. My friend merely shook his head and said nothing. Shaking his head was the wrong thing to do as the driver got out of his car and made his way towards my friend, swearing his head off. He was quite a small chap and I inform you of this as being about my my height - a good bit over 6 feet tall - my friend is not.

He asked what my friends problem was so he told him. My friend said along the lines that he was sure his intention this morning wasn't to nearly run someone over, but by his actions possibly as he was stupid, he nearly did. The driver didn't like this and asked my friend to, "...come on then!" My friend asked him what he meant by this. This threw him and he didn't really know what to say other than repeat himself.

In case you are wondering, this all took place very quickly but on a Monday morning in rush hour the patience of many a London commuter is often strained. My friend tried to push his bike off so that he could leave the scene but was blocked by his new found friend.

This little plebeian-type creature, despite inconveniencing himself, my friend and all the poor commuters behind still came out with, "...come on then!"My friend then did something that brought things to a swift conclusion. He partially folded his bike, put it on the traffic island and said back, "...okay...come on then" and walked closer. With that the driver got in his car, shouting about what he would and wouldn't do speeding off.

It wasn't the best way to deal with this situation however I wonder what I would have done? I certainly wouldn't have gone toe to toe with someone or got into a slanging match. My poor friend was shaken and not himself for a few hours. If anything he was brooding about it for the entire day.

I really do wonder how some drivers are allowed on the road? I do of course include some cyclists in this. Some car drivers really do seem to exist in a cocoon and have no concept of other road users. When they have done something wrong, instead of acknowledging it by perhaps saying sorry or just doing nothing they instead go on the attack. People like this particular driver shouldn't be on the road. It is only a pity there isn't a way of weeding them out and ensuring they aren't driving anything with wheels!


  1. Like many who ride daily, I've had occasional experience with road rage from motorists while bicycling. After each incident, I have struggled to come to some conclusion, to find something I should have done differently to resolve the situation. I haven't found many good options so far. The hardest lesson I've learned is accepting loss of control in such situations.

    When offered violence by a complete stranger, I think the next safest option, if you can't immediately ride away, is to get the mobile phone out and to call the emergency police number, or at least make a show of doing so. In a crowd, yell for help without taunting your rager. In this case, your goal is to make it clear to the rager that you feel threatened and that you're summoning help. Now, it might be possible to engage with this person by changing the subject, and so defuse the incident, but you might end winding them up even tighter, and for that reason I'd leave engagement to the professionals. Assess the situation carefully. Fundamentally, their road rage isn't about you until you make it so.

    As you have no idea what the person coming at you is capable of, nor whether they are armed, nor their state of mind (or state of medication), you could be asking for more trouble than first appears by trying to take them on, even verbally. Even if you prevail over your attacker, you could be setting yourself up for legal action or for further retribution. The defeated can always walk back into their car and calmly run you down, bike and all, today, tomorrow or whenever s/he next sees you in traffic. Stranger things have happened.

    Sorry if this sounds so gloomy, I wish I had pixie dust to sprinkle over every road menace I've encountered, but it's just peanut shells in my pocket. Sigh.

    Brompton owner since 2012 and I love it.


  2. Nice post, Mr. O!
    The aggravation that I encounter, in my neck of the woods, comes primarily from bad planning and lack of education. I like to believe that is entirely possible to have both automobiles and cycles on the road, if proper planning and education was provided to the populous. Education should also include proper mobile phone etiquette, IMHO. I do admit that there are going to be some with the don't-give-a-damn attitude. For them, I say a prayer.

    Paz :)

  3. shame on the plebeian-type creature


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