I had the sorry mispleasure this week to be within 50 metres of two fuckwits of the type that you just hope don't enter your life too often, or for too long.
The first was a raving twat on a bike that I saw on the way home tonight. He was weaving through the traffic in a very uncontrolled fashion, sans helmet, and then ran a red light right in front of me.... as he was talking on his mobile. I guess that explained the studied lack of control of the bike.
I really felt like yelling at him...something along the lines of, "You fucking idiot! You're giving us a bad name. Pull your fucking head in and grow a brain."
With luck, said brain is now leaking into a gutter somewhere. That type of numbskull really gripes me, because it helps to produce fuckwits of this type....
There I am, cruising down Lilyfield Rd on the way to work. It's about 6.45am, and it's a lovely morning. A much leaner, fitter and browner bloke zips past me, and I idly think about jamming down on the pedals and trying to get on his tail. Nah, it's too hot, so I'll just let him go.
He opens up a bit of a lead on me - maybe 15 metres, and the lights go orange just as he crosses the threshold of the intersection. I am close enough and going fast enough to get through on the orange if I really gun it, but I take the sane option and brake.
Thank goodness. Before the lights our way go red, a small hatchback blasts across the intersection from the left, barely missing the rear wheel of the bike in front. If I had chased him, it would have been curtains for me.
This is how red the light going the other way was. A few seconds later, a WRX coming from the left stops at the same light. The driver looks at me with a look of horror on her face - she has realised what almost happened, even if the fucking dickbrain in the other car didn't. We looked at each other for several seconds, then the light went green for her, and off she went.
In other words, the idiot had not just run through on a late orange - he had run a light that had been red for a good 30 seconds.
Afterwards, a few possibilities went through my mind. The first thought was that dickhead was half asleep and zoned out and just failed to see the lights at all.
Then I remembered the way the WRX had pulled up. And the look on her face.
Had they been racing?
I'll never know.
I do my utmost to stay upright on the road. I wear bright colours - colours so bright that I used to get teased mercilessly in my old workplace about their obscene brightness. I always wear a helmet. I have really bright lights back and front, and use them whenever it gets even a little bit dark. I am ultra careful about my riding position on the road. I never stick headphones in my ears. I keep my ears and eyes open. I avoid routes that I think are risky. I don't go blatting through red lights, stop signs, give way signs and all the rest. I wait my turn when sitting in traffic. in short, I am the old woman of cycling.
It's sobering that even the safest of strategies can come horribly unglued by just one nutjob behind the wheel.