Friday, 2 November 2007

London Cycling

I've been cycling to work for three years now and not an accident to speak of (touch wood). Two incidents recently made me realise how lucky I have been!

One of my pet hates are cars that overtake you only to brake heavily just in front of you and cut across your path. The other day I was cycling home along a main road when a pizza delivery bike tried to over take and turn left immediately in front on me. The moped driver misjudged the situation and had only drawn parallel with my as we drew level with the side road. Instead of braking he swerved into me and tried to force me to turn left as well. I carried straight on, forcing the pizza boy to do the same. He then stopped in front of me, hurled a volley of abuse in my direction, did a u-turn and shot off down the side road. Was it me in the wrong?

Each morning I have to navigate a cross roads controlled by traffic lights. This morning I waited patiently at the junction for the lights to go green for me. When they did, I entered the junction, only for some cyclist to fly through a red light to my left and head directly into my path. We were on a collision course. The other cyclist was listening to his ipod, wasn't looking in my direction and had given no indication that he had seen me. Fearing we would crash I rang the bell on my bicycle. Which you guessed it, lead to a volley of abuse! What did I do to deserve that? I wasn't the one who had been through a red light!

I did score a small moral victory. I saw the other cyclist a bit later on in my journey to work. He was lost and was motioning towards me to ask for directions. When he realised who I was, he sheepishly turned in the opposite direction and asked someone else.


  1. Exactly the same things happened to me in a single journey during the week. A taxi(!) did the overtake and swing left thing but luckily I realised in time and slammed on the brakes. Then an idiot cyclist entered a roundabout without looking and went straight into my path. He shot me a warning glance when it was me who was in the right place!!

  2. I've had the same thing at least a couple of times. I was cycling along in a bus lane, a woman overtook me in her car and then immediately turned left across the bus lane, forcing me to brake hard. What is the hurry? It turned out she was on her mobile phone and was stopping to take the call. The other similar scenario is drivers pulling out of a side road into your path - whereas they'll clearly give way to other cars, we cyclists seem to be invisible.

    And of course, other cyclists - I've never had a near miss with one yet, but I do feel sometimes I'm the only cyclist in London who obeys the rules of the road.

  3. The worse experience I ever had was cycling along and some idiot in his BMW opens his door as i'm going past him sent me flying up in the air. Commuting by bicycle in London is not all it's cracked up to be some times but it still beats travelling on the tube/bus by a mile! Buses are a complete joke and the number of things I have had shouted at me!