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!”