Sunday 22 July 2012

Close encounters

Another week, another close encounter with an idiot that really shouldn't be behind the wheel of a motor vehicle of any sort. When they dish out brains and common sense to people, there are always some that somehow failed to make it to the distribution point in time for their dose.

A very common collision between cyclists and cars is when a car overtakes a cyclist, and then immediately turns left in front of them (or right, if you are a yank). It's caused by motorists being in a hurry, and underestimating how fast a cyclist is moving.

And it happened to me this week. It happens often enough to me that I'm always on the look out for it - whenever I hear a car coming up behind me as I approach an intersection, I evaluate whether they are going to have a go at overtaking me and then turning across my bows. As soon as I hear some hesitation from the engine behind me, I know the driver wants to turn. It then comes down to whether they will wait an extra second or two for me, or whether they will try and gun it and get around me before I make it to the corner.

In about 95% of cases, the driver will wait - they realise that at the speed I am travelling at, they've not going to get past safely. But there's always 5% who don't have the judgement to do the mental calculations regarding closing speeds and relative velocities, or they can and they just don't give a bugger about the bloke on a bike.

I got the idiot with no judgement during the week. I could hear them coming up behind, they hesitated, held back, and then after a few seconds of waiting (as the intersection got closer and closer), they gunned it and went around me. I had to stand on the brakes to avoid going into the rear quarter panel. At times like that, I have to do my own mental calculation - if I chase the idiot, will I catch them? Will that traffic light down that side road stay red long enough for me to come up beside them, pound on their window and give them a mouthful? Is the traffic heavy enough to slow them right down, or even bring them to a standstill? Is it worth it? I've got about 1 second to make that judgement call.

In this case, I let them go. They were driving a BMW - people that drive those things are generally too stupid  to understand what they did wrong. They're even worse that tradies in Ford utes.


Anonymous said...

Take it easy on Beemer owners - I am one and I enjoy your blog. I also own a Great Wall ute, A Harley Davidson FatBob, A Suzuki LT250F Quad and a Ford 6700 tractor. All great to drive except for all the other bloody idiots on the road, Thats why I dont ride the push bike anymore.


H from Como

Jeff said...

You wrote, ".... Thats why I dont ride the push bike anymore."

I reply, "Exactly."