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19th October 2007.
Oh Ballards!
And how a 3 M driver tried to crush me against one.

Let me tell you what happened. We’ll apportion blame later.

I’m cycling down the Hamstead Road towards Hamstead Village from Green Lane. All is hunky dory. I approach the island at Spouthose Lane, check behind me and move to the primary road position. I’m going straight on. As always, I have one final check over my shoulder as I enter the part of the road narrowed by a traffic bollard and find a car speeding towards me on my outside. It’s obvious that they’re going to overtake, however unsafe it is to do so, so I get out the way and head for the gutter. And I shout a good “OIII!”, just to let them know I’m there and quite pissed off. So don’t mess with me, I can “OI!” like a champion. GRRR!

The car goes straight on. Cool! I’ll catch them at the T Junction where they’re going to have to wait in a queue of traffic.

“How much further down the road did half running me down get you?”

“I didn’t half run you down”

“Only because I got out of your way as you drove into the bit of road I was on”

“Well you were in the middle of the road”.

“That’s right, I was in the centre of the lane, known as the primary riding position[1] because I was going straight on at the island[2], it was also an attempt to discourage idiot drivers from overtaking when it’s unsafe to do so because the road is narrowed and we’re on a junction”.

Blank stare.

I suggest that they read the highway code before they kill someone and cycle ahead of them. That’s right, if they’d stayed behind me for the 200 yards or so since the island they’d have lost no time at all on the journey. Hmmm.

I suppose there are two ways of looking at this.

We could suppose that I was in the wrong position on the road. We could suppose that I’m an idiot and shouldn’t have been in the centre of the lane. But how does that excuse driving too fast and dangerously at a cyclist? How does it excuse using a car as a weapon to bully other people on the road into submission in a vain attempt to gain a second or two on their journey time? If I was an idiot who didn’t know the rules of the road, the car should have given me more room than perhaps was necessary to protect me from my own stupidity, not less.

Or we could suppose that I occupied the primary riding position at that time as recommended by the government’s cycle training scheme and the highway code. We could suppose I was cycling in accordance with the rules of the road and the car was being driven in opposition to those rules If this is the case, the driver of the car should take some training. The driver shouldn’t be allowed to drive if they don’t understand the rules that help keep us all safe by removing unpredictability of our riding/driving actions.

Of course, I believe the second option to be the correct scenario in this case.

Either way, the car was driven in an unacceptable manner and that driver is a git!

Keep Pedalin’


[1] See Cyclecraft for an explanation of the Primary Riding Position
[2] I know that just about everybody will understand the reason why it's important for a cyclist to take the centre of a lane when going straight on an island or any other type of junction, but I shall explain here for the idiots who just don't get it, like the person mentioned above. If a cyclist is tucked into the left of the lane, the traffic around them isn't quite sure where the cyclist intends to go. Are they going left or straight on? They're not signalling but then sometimes a cyclist won't signal, it might be safer to keep both hands on the bars on a rough road surface or wet, slimy conditions. So, the cyclist going straight on who is tucked into the left often has an idiot driver overtake on the junction and then turn left across them. Yes it is dangerous. No, I don't know why people are that impatient either. But I do know that taking the Primary Riding Position almost eliminates the problem, cool huh?

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