Sunshine and bad drivers

Bit of a odd day today. There was a big golden thing in the sky early on, so I had to go and potter around the garden clad only in sweet white ankle length cotton nightie at 6am smelling the marvellously scented yellow azalea and doing some weeding like a properly mad woman. Not the front garden….come on now…not quite that mad yet.

Then I needed an early walk. Let’s face it, the best walks are when the sky is blue, the sun is rising and the world is all fresh at the beginning of a new day – and there wasn’t another soul around down by the river, just me, a couple of squabbling jays in a tree and a lone fox loping along on the opposite bank.

Although a dire April is continuing into a largely cold, rainy and cloudy May, it’s doing wonders for the flora. Everything is so intensely green and the entire gamut of spring flowers seem to be out at once – bluebells still fresh and tall, forget-me-nots, ox-eye daisies, stitchwort, poppies and even borage.

So there was supposed to be time for a v decent ride to inspect what was left of the floods around Tewkesbury but I ruined my own plan by slamming the corner of a cupboard door into my temple. Happily only minor brain damage and some blood to mop up butthe incident delayed me by an hour or so before I could get my pristine Trek dirty again (damn that cycle trail…) after giving it a thorough clean only yesterday.

The sun was still out for my Two Rivers ride and it was incredibly pleasant and sociable if you count waves and “Hi”s to other riders – most of whom were roadies on v nice bikes. Spotted nine other cyclists – a record for a Sunday so far this year and included three women!! Yay!

Two cars swept by me way too close but no repetition of the weird motorist behaviour when I was riding home from work yesterday…

So on a bike, you’re supposed to look behind you, check the cars behind, signal your intent to turn right by sticking out your right arm and move to the right lane in order to wait at a light or make the turn, right?

So that’s what I did. The first time, I glanced around, let the nearest car come past me, then signalled intent and started to move, when a car just squeezed around me so close that I thought it was going to brush my extended hand. And then what happened to this guy who was in sooo much of a rush? He pulled in to the left hand lane at a RED LIGHT. My right turn light was green so I gave him a hard stare as I pedalled on past and swept around the corner.

The second time, coming up to a big fast dual carriageway roundabout off an A road, I needed to go right. Glanced back, nothing close, indicated right, then a woman driver who I swear must have accelerated came past me on my right as I was moving over, to get into the middle lane. Honestly. What was it about me that presented such a challenge?

First time this kind of thing has happened – and to happen twice in one day was weird. It’s as though my extended right arm was some kind of subliminal invitation: “Come on. See if you can get past me without knocking me off if you think you’re hard enough.”

Were they irritated with me asserting myself and claiming my rightful position on the road? Did they resent giving way to a vehicle (me and my bike) which was ahead of them and therefore had Right of Way to turn right?

What would they prefer I do, I wonder? Wait for some driver, out of the kindness of his/her heart, to give way for me? And what if no-one did? Am I supposed to glide to a halt, get off and walk my bike across to the right-hand lane?

Stuff that for a laugh. I’m thinking of investing in a headcam…

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About janh1

Part-time hedonist.
This entry was posted in Countryside, Current Affairs, Cycling, Just flowers and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Sunshine and bad drivers

  1. Darrel Kirby says:

    I have days, whether on motorbike, in the car or on foot, where I swear I’m invisible – everyone seems to pull out in front of me, cut me up or barge me from the pavement (and I’m 6’2″, so “sorry met I didn’t see ya” (SMIDSY) doesn’t even work when I’m a pedestrian). It is a weird phenomenon. Add to that the strange hatred that many car drivers have for cyclists and it can only get worse!
    A friend of mine used to cycle along Bristol Road in Gloucester regularly to get to his parents’ house and was forever getting cut up and nearly forced off the road. On one occasion he had to pick up a lump hammer from them and found he got much more respect when cycling along with it in his right hand…

    • janh1 says:

      D’you think an inflatable lump hammer would work? I might have a job to balance with a real one 😀
      I can imagine Bristol Road being an ordeal, it’s got the most stupid thin cycle lanes placed randomly – and they are often covered by parked cars.
      I should stop being paranoid cyclist, then? Actually driving standards are pretty low – and so many drivers jump red lights. As a cyclist, I never do. I am Good Girl. 🙂 Also, it invalidates your insurance…

      • Darrel Kirby says:

        Not sure an inflatable lump hammer would have sufficient gravitas. Strange how it is always the worst car drivers who complain most about other people they have to share the roads with.

      • janh1 says:

        Ok. Maybe lightweight extending rotating knives fitted to the offside bar-end? Necessity is the mother of invention, after all.

        Yes, those drivers lack both patience and sense. A fatal combination.

      • IsobelandCat says:

        Oh you just reminded me of the car that completely ignored me at the roundabout on Friday morning. I was totally invisible despite bright green jacket and hi-viz waistcoat.
        Maybe a sticker saying something like “my other bike is a tank with a built in rocket launcher”?
        There is also small car syndrome, which is quite similar to being on a bike.

  2. IsobelandCat says:

    Not just me in the invisibility cloak then?
    A white van turned left across my path on Friday, inches from me. I. Have had two scissor incidents with cars coming out of turnings on the left and cars crossing from the right.
    Amazing. Fortunately it is the minority of drivers. For the first time, I have had drivers acknowledge when I have waited and given way to them. USUAL wondered if they were disassociating themselves from Mr A L. Did you know A L also runs Redwing coaches?

  3. janh1 says:

    Yow, Isobel, those incidents sound scary. What can you do but put such things behind you and carry on, though? I point-blank refuse to be scared off the road and as you point out, it is the minority of drivers. Mr A. L. has back-pedalled lately hasn’t he, realising he’s going to lose a lot of business through his scandalously dangerous sexist anti-cycling propaganda!

    • IsobelandCat says:

      Also glad to know I am not the only one who inflicts head injuries on her self through contact with innocent bits of the home. Not that I am glad you hurt yourself of course. I had a sixth sense about the van and had already braked. The scissor stuff scares me whether I am driving or cycling. You can buy driving licences in parts of London. It shows.

      • janh1 says:

        Infamy! Infamy! The cupboard door has it infamy! That door is by no means innocent.
        Really, you can buy driving licences? Blimey. Wouldn’t it be nice if the police were remotely interested?

  4. Hope that head is feeling better now! Glad you had a lovely sociable time, shame about those two drivers. When you think for a moments of the implications of driving like that it makes the blood run cold. Hope there are no repeats!

  5. janh1 says:

    Hi Kate and thanks! It is fine as long as I don’t touch it. 😉
    It’s inexplicable to me that those drivers felt the urgency to sneak by me when effectively, I was indicating and moving right! I must have been doing 18mph which is hardly dawdling (pumped my tyres up today and blimey, I could tell!) but they just weren’t inclined to allow me to detain them for a second or two at a time when they were slowing down for lights in one case and big busy roundabout in the other case… Sheesh.

  6. Pseu says:

    It’s a worry generally, to me, not on a bike that often, that aggressive driving has become the norm. The ‘give way to those coming from the right’ rule is largely ignored at round abouts if they think they can get away with it… that is if they are bigger than me and have noticed I’m just a nurse – that is not that important, until a point in their lives thy may need someone like me….

  7. janh1 says:

    Yes I’ve noticed that too. It’s often pointless aggression. The kind of uber-frustrated driving that gets someone maybe three cars further up in the queue. Pathetic, really. It’s the blatant jumping of red lights that i find jaw-droppingly dangerous.

  8. Anonymous says:

    if i follow the timeline correctly, you went from nightie in garden, to early morning walkies to bike ride. i hope at least you put on a helmet for the bike ride

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