Sunday 31 May 2009

The Must Overtake Syndrome

We've all experienced this one on UK motorways and doubtless it happens all over the world. You're a few hundred metres away from the slip road to leave the motorway when some lunatic overtakes everyone at high speed, only to swerve back from right to left across three lanes of traffic and shoot up the slip road. You always ask yourself this question: Why didn't you just stay in the slow lane for a few seconds more?. The answer is that some drivers are impatient and suffer from MOS or 'Must Overtake Syndrome' which, medically speaking, is an irrational and dangerous desire to get in front of everyone at all costs.

I witnessed it in action yesterday whilst quietly waiting to cross the road near Temple Meads station. A motorcyclist, coming up the far left lane (A4) at speed, swerved wildly across the other lanes to overtake everything before swerving back at the last minute into the A4. In short, there was absolutely no need for him to do this, as it was 10am on a saturday morning and there were no cars in front of him in his original lane!. The picture shows his route in yellow dots - pointless overtaking isn't it?. I'm the red dot, waiting at the crossing. The green dots are the correct route he should have taken. Of particular concern to me, is the red arrow which shows his path swerving back across the lanes. This is the route I normally cycle back home and I shudder to think of being whacked sideways by an aggressive biker hitting me from the right hand side.

Alas, this behaviour is classic MOS, coupled with male bravado and machines with far too much acceleration. Oh yes, before I forget, stupidity as well.


WestfieldWanderer said...

There's a lot of it about:
Here's one I had earlier.
Basically, homo sapiens in general is simply not sufficiently evolved enough to handle heavy machinery safely.

Quercus said...

Alpha male behaviour.

There is a simple, but possibly controversial, way to reduce this - which would also substantially reduce injuries due to poor driving - increase the age at which you may drive anything motorised to 25.

I appreciate there are issues with alternative means of transport, but it would remove the statistically most dangerous drivers from our roads.

WestfieldWanderer said...

Quercus wrote: There is a simple, but possibly controversial, way to reduce this - ..."I saw that line and the words "...cut their goolies off" came into my head.
But that probably wouldn't work either, as, unless it's my imagination, there seems to be an increasing number of "alpha females" about. Seriously scary they are, too.
I don't think age has a lot to do with road behaviour. There's a lot of middle-aged, middle-management types in company cars who behave like delinquent ten year olds on the road, and who proudly boast their penalty point laden driving licences in the manner of campaign medals.
Tougher training followed up by even tougher enforcement is my favoured but equally controversial alternative action. There'd be the usual bleats of "loss of human rights" and "repression of freedom" from the alpha neanderthal petro-junkies, so also as unlikely to happen as raising the driving age. Sadly.

Quercus said...

WestfieldWanderer, I agree.

I'm a great believer in Human Rights. The problems come when 'privileges' are perceived as rights. A driving licence allows you to exercise the privilege of driving a car. Just as parking on a highway is a privilege not a right. Which is probably why so many people park theirs on the pavement :)

I agree about Alpha females and middle-management, too.

Pointer2null said...

"Alas, this behaviour is classic MOS, coupled with male bravado and machines with far too much acceleration. Oh yes, before I forget, stupidity as well."

I ride a bike (one with far too much acceleration) and I agree that the maneuver you saw is 100% unacceptable and idiotic.

However, you have to remember that not every motorcyclist rides like this. In fact most of us are good riders who ride safely, the same goes for cyclists - I've seen plenty who think red lights and the highway code doesn't apply to them. We need to be careful not to tar all with the same brush.

WestfieldWanderer said...

Pointer2null: As a one time motorcyclist, current owner of two motor vehicles and more bicycles than I really need, you can be assured that this writer is in no position to point the finger at any particular road user group - except in a slightly satirical and vaguely cynical manner, of course, in the true spirit of the "Bristol Traffic" blog.

mnpinkfloyd said...

What stunned me about this particular incident is that the desire to overtake, and I estimate that this guy was doing about 40mph in a 30mph zone, was utterly pointless and risky as he needed to swerve back across three traffic lanes to his original route.I think he did it for the thrill, the adrenaline rush etc. I do realise that the majority of bikers ride safely and I do not wish to tar all with the same brush. Still, plonkers like this must get up your nose as they cause accidents and earn you a bad name. Excatly like cyclists who jump red lights.

SteveL said...

Given that this is generally how everyone exits french autoroutes, maybe the biker was just from France.

I don't ride a bike myself, as I lack the competence. I have enough scars from bicycles to prove this.