Thursday 3 June 2010

Cliché Touché

Concerned reader "A" has written in to us:

"The driver of the black SUV WP07CCE travelling along Barton Hill Road decided to overtake on the blind corner where it meets Barrow Road while I was cycling to join the Railway Path. This was despite the fact that I had taken the lane to round the corner to discourage such a dangerous manoeuvre. It being a blind corner he couldn't see the cars coming around the corner towards us from Barrow Road and swerved back in towards the curb to avoid them, very narrowly missing crushing me. All this so that he could pull up and wait at the red light around the corner.

As his window was open while he queued at the red light I took the opportunity to very calmly and nicely ask him to please not do that again to anyone as he could very easily kill or injure someone. That is all I wished to say and I started to cycle away.

His response was to shout that I "shouldn't be in the middle of the road" and should "keep to the edge". When I explained that I had moved to the centre of the lane to discourage anyone from overtaking on a dangerous blind corner his reply was that I had to keep to the side unless I was going to "pay tax to use the roads" and that was within his rights to pass so close as he pays to use the road. When I replied that I also own and pay duty on a car (as I think that is what he was suggesting) his reaction was to shout "you're not in it today though are you you f***ing pr**k!" and then put his foot down and ran the red light to get away."

Well A, it's not often that we like to admit to agreeing with anything a cyclist says here at Bristol Traffic, but in this case we feel you have a slightly valid point.

While we don't think it right to criticise the motorists driving skills (as he's really just doing his bit to fight the war on motorists) we do feel that his reasoning needs some working on. As motorists we are finding it increasingly difficult to rely on the old dependable catch phrases of "you don't pay road tax" and "you should be at the side of the road" as unfortunately we have to admit that we do now know that roads are now paid for out of general taxation and council and government endorsed Bikeability lessons do encourage cyclists to take lanes to discourage dangerous manoeuvres from drivers around them. In fact we're actually even slightly disappointed that one of our own fellow drivers is still attempting to employ such over used clichés.

We can however suggest that the best option in this scenario would have been to adopt the new methods of simply pointing out that by choosing to cycle on such car packed roads the cyclist is obviously a freak, probably smells and point out the direction of Glastonbury for him so he can join all the other hippies.

It's probably also best to avoid repeat situations on this particular corner too as there is always the danger that if it happens regularly then the authorities might do something silly like adjust the road layouts or speed limits to calm traffic to protect cyclists. A bit unlikely though. Our research does show though that this isn't the first time that something like this has happened on this corner, although the following footage seems to have been filmed while travelling in the opposite direction around the corner and the car Y117GNY manages to get at least slightly in front of the cyclist and isn't confronted by unexpected traffic coming the other way as he overtakes on the blind corner rather than taking the whole corner directly alongside him and performing the emergency "squash the cyclist to the curb" manoeuvre to avoid unexpected oncoming traffic as WP07CCE allegedly did.

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