Friday, April 27, 2012

Sorry, I didn't know running over cyclists is frowned upon.


Last night on the way home a motorist in a 'turn left' lane decided to forgo convention and drove straight ahead, the problem was that I was already occupying the space he pointed his four wheels at as I was using the 'go straight ahead' lane and was already half through the 'going ahead' part of my journey.

I called out friendly 'HOY!' as I slammed on my brakes and (not for the first time) congratulated myself for not giving in to building my lardy self a fixie.  Said motorist had his window open and jumped out of his skin when he saw my considerable bulk about to topple onto his courdroys.  He sped off, but due to the nature of town driving I overtook him three times before I reached home (about 500 yards down the road from the incident).  

As I was dismounting and breath counting outside my house I noticed the offender and his hatchback slowly pull up a few yards away.  Fearing some unpleasantness I forced a smile and walked over to the car.  I opened negotiations by genially apologising for making the driver jump with my involuntary Kossack style exclamation. and explained that without request he had tried to aid me in my weight loss efforts by spreading my wide load across the road.

What followed was a bit of apologising on his part, and then something remarkable happened - he asked me to explain where he had gone wrong.  He demurred on the subject of his level of bike-awareness and claimed to be making a real effort to be aware of cyclists since some of his friends have taken up cycling.

Ten minutes later we found that we probably have a few mutual friends and he had invited me to a 'bike ball' that some of his mates were organising.  We found out we both have 'apostle' names and he had explained why he had recently joined the Russian orthodox church.

I've long maintained that if another road user makes a genuine mistake then cheerfully making them aware of your presence is much more positive than questioning their parentage and pointing out their low-forehead.  If I had verbally annihilated this bloke who didn't think to check his mirrors (or the windscreen) for cyclists I doubt he would have come away from the experience with the heightened level of bike-awareness that he hopefully now has.

Oh, and it turned out he wasn't following me, he was visiting friends who live on the same street as me.