Dents in vehicles…

Now that was a cold one this morning, massive frost at -5, but not as cold as I would have been last night if I hadn’t had my wits about me. I pedalled home via the canal and NCR5 as it’s peaceful, largely traffic free and the ambience is generally relaxing. That is until my part of the NCR5 ride finishes on the Bristol Road (South). For those of you that don’t know, the Bristol Road (South) is the main A38 that goes through Birmingham to Bromsgrove, actually it eventually goes all the way to Cornwall but I’m digressing.

The first incident happened on a piece of road that connects 2 parts of NCR5, it’s a quiet back street and on this particular day it had one lane dug up with temporary traffic lights. My lights were on green so I pedalled through, at that point a White Van Man drove through the red light his side and drove straight at me, I dodged behind the cones into the road works to avoid him and punched his van as he went past. Oh, he was on his mobile phone too. But what the heck. Now the thing is, I’m not certain if he saw me or just wasn’t bothered by a cyclist in the traffic lights as there was no other traffic around. I dented the side of his van though, a brand new Peugeot Partner. But I knew he was going to do what he did, I saw it coming a mile off!

This now brought me onto the Bristol Road (South), as I said earlier a very busy main road and dual carriageway. But, totally legal for bikes and I pedal it most days either to or from work at some point along its length. I was turning right at the Longbridge Roundabout just out side the now demolished MG Rover works, now this is a complicated junction. So I won’t bore you to death with it, but suffice it to say I was in the correct lane to go where I wanted to go, holding the prime position in the lane as I always do, when a number 49 bus overtook me, no problems there’s two lanes going my way so he can. But luckily I was thinking way ahead of the tw*t of a driver as I knew he would want to pull in at the stop just after the island, and he the tw*t of a driver, as I’d predicted, did just that. Cutting straight into my path and causing me to stop dead in the road. Or I would have been dead under his wheels. His bus ended up dented under his cab window too, bearing the mark of Clive.

All this may to some, seem pretty scary. Now I don’t want to lessen the sense of the story, but it’s my belief that the cyclist is at the end of the day responsible for himself. I know in law, every body has a duty of care to ensure they don’t put others at risk, but we do not live in that kind of world despite what the law says. I always cycle as though every body is out to kill me, in effect I do everyone’s thinking for them, trying (and mostly succeeding), to anticipate every possible outcome at every traffic scenario. Obviously there’s the unseen, unheard car that can bite you, but on the whole, pedalling in traffic is as dangerous or as safe as the persons wits on the saddle.

I’m never scared when I’m pedalling on the road. I’m not a victim and I can bloody well hold my own with any traffic scenario!

In the words of the late great Freddie Mercury “Just get on your bikes and ride!”

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9 responses to “Dents in vehicles…

  1. Hi Clive
    I can identify with your disciption of cycling to work every day. I don’t ride as far or in as busy a city as you, but there are some idiots out there. You look like a man not to be messed with from your photo. I know what you mean about not being scare when in traffic you get used to it, and as you say you have to think for others. I have done the same route to work for the last 28 years, and there is not much I haven’t seen. People on mobile phones is my pet hate.

  2. Not to be messed with!? Haha, tell that to wifey! Thanks for commenting Robin.

  3. Hi Clive

    The best advise I was ever given was by my driving instructor. He said if you treat everyone else as idiots you cant go far wrong this is even more relevant when cycling, plenty of people turning across your path etc.

  4. “The mark of Clive!” great turn of phrase. Stay safe.

  5. What an eventful ride home!

    I ride to work in a rural area and it seems to be the same scenario here too. I nearly got taken out on Monday by a car cutting a corner had I not taken to the kerb to avoid him (I have his number and will be addressing this as soon as I can find him!)

    I belive that unless you have travelled on two wheels (its no better on my motorbike) then its unlikely that you truly understand how vulnerable we are. That is not excuse for dangerous driving though. I might get a knuckle duster made up with TWAT on it for my commutes so that when a driver gets out of their vehicle at least they should be able to interprate my thoughts of thier incompetance behind the wheel……. I feel better now.

    Ride safe.

  6. In America, you’d want to be more careful with your marks. Sooner or later, you’d be shot. Glad to see the twats aren’t keeping you off the road – just don’t do something hazardous to prove your right to be there! 🙂

  7. Don’t worry Steve, it’s England, guns are an alien concept to most people, apart from me I hasten to add, I have a firearms licence and own a rifle, if anyone’s going to be shot it’ll be the the other buggers not me! 😉

  8. Dean,
    I hold just about every motorised vehicle licence going (apart from tracked vehicles) and the vehicle that taught me most road sense and awareness was my motorbike lessons and riding that to and from work for years. Funnily enough I always felt more vulnerable on a motorbike than a pushbike. The speed I suppose.

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