Thursday 8 May 2008

Road rage

There must have been something in the air today. A pack of riders got flattened early in the morning, making all the major papers. I felt sick reading about it, but the comments at the Daily Telegraph were just the pits. I can't even be bothered to link to them - it was a case of meatheads on display both on the road and in the comments section.

Reading the comments was a timely reminder though. Whilst most drivers are quite sane, there is a small minority who are just off the planet fuck knuckles. Motorbike riders will tell you the same thing. I'm sure even bus drivers will have lots to say about utter morons in cars who can introduce moments of utter misery into the daily drive.

One needs a jolt every now and then, a reminder that alertness and situational awareness are the only things that keep me out of the back of the ambulance.

I got a rude jolt of that this morning. I was at an intersection where I had to go straight ahead to get off the road and onto a bike path. I do that every morning, and I always sit well out in the lane to let the cars behind me know that I am going ahead through a slot cut in the road barrier, rather than turning left as they do. I've done that about 300 times now, and until today, 299 of those crossings have been done cleanly due to the patience and consideration and awareness of the drivers behind me.

But there's always a dickhead out there somewhere. This boke came fanging up behind me (in a 50 zone), went over the double white line and then tried to turn left in front of me from the wrong side of the road. Plus that involved going through a Stop sign without even slowing down.

He figured out at the last moment that he couldn't do that, since I was in the way. Thankfully, he stopped, but he then got on the horn and started yelling and carrying on.

Things like this don't happen very often, so I'm usually in a bit of a state of shock for 15 seconds or so, and that was enough for me to give him the finger, tell him to fucking wake up, and continue on my way.

Then the rage took over, and I decided to chase him. That lasted about half a kilometre - I worked out that there were no red lights or possible traffic jams on that stretch of road that would hold him up, and give me a chance to catch him.

Which is a good thing, because I would have opened his door, given him a straight-armed palm jab to the face, then grabbed his car keys and thrown them into the Bay. I was fucking livid. Just thinking about it now, and writing about it, is enough to wind me up again.

The upside of chasing him is that it burnt off all my anger and rage, so by the time I gave up the pursuit and turned around, I was cool as a cucumber. Cycling sure is a good form of stress relief. Sure, it causes some awful stress from time to time, but what's worse? The constant drip-drip-drip from the stress of driving to work every day, or the occasional heart flutter from a near miss with an I'm-in-such-a-hurry wanker?

It's a good thing that I'm armed with nothing more serious than a short arsed bike pump and a spare pair of socks.

No comments: