As a cyclist the ability to recall horror stories about bad motorists is as common as the name Wong, in a Chinese telephone directory.
Some months ago I was cycling in York, a city that is no stranger to cycles, with a positive and sympathetic cycle policy. It is somewhere that you should always feel comfortable to cycle, to be able to relax as you turn the pedals.
Whilst pedalling around the inner ring road, I was forced into the gutter by a motorist. The driver was a large female who had decided to swap lanes. Apparently in her world, this would enhance her progress and reduce her travel time by 0.51 seconds. Really!!!!
The manoeuvre was magnificently choreographed.
As well as turning the steering wheel with her knees, she was able to graze on an over sized sandwich, talk on her cell phone and preen herself in the mirror - all at the same time.
The additional and perhaps most important task, of looking at the road appeared to be beyond her comprehension or ability.
IF she had done so prior to the manoeuvre she would have seen me in a more favourable disposition.
A happily cycling chappie, brightly dressed and wearing a helmet.
Having delayed her observation until I had hit the pavement, she missed my metamorphic transition from ‘Mr calm and reasonable’ into ‘Mr Turrets’.
I was so animated that I might of EVEN frightened myself.
In the cycling world it is sometimes all too easy to become blinkered by the transgressions of other road users and to forget about ourselves.
Sometimes our halos drop too.
At work I often get into debates about cycling and cyclists with non cyclists.
One of my colleagues lives in the Yorkshire dales where he complains of being impeded by groups of cyclists riding in large groups two or three abreast along narrow and winding country roads.
I too have seen this practice, which can be dangerous as well as irresponsible.
If I were cycling along such a road and came across a group of pedestrians in the middle of the road, I too might have felt a bit disgruntled.
Arrogance in any road user, only causes further divide.
In England you don’t have to wear a helmet to cycle a bike on any road.
This cant be right!!!
Most parents would never let their children ride their bikes on the road without a helmet, so why undermine yourself by not wearing one.
Every weekend I see dozens of cyclist (usually my generation) riding with no helmet. Its so disappointing. Why should we expect motorists to take more care when we don't even look after ourselves.
When I ask helmet less riders why? The answers are varied.
'I want to feel liberated'
'I am an experienced cyclist and don’t need a helmet'
'I am not letting any civil servant tell me what I have to wear'.
As soon as the sentences start with I, then the accompanying arrogance usually causes any rationale argument to be lost.
There is also a lot of controversy over traffic lights, with cyclists often disobeying them and running red lights. It only adds fuel to the flames of motorists displeasure.
"And why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not perceive the plank in your own eye? "Or how can you say to your brother, 'Brother, let me remove the speck that is in your eye,' when you yourself do not see the plank that is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck that is in your brother's eye."