Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Panic at the zebra crossing

I am making my way home, cycling along in a little bubble of a daydream and feeling a little shaky because I have forgotten to throw back a late afternoon snack to keep me going. I try to change lanes in the peak hour traffic at a particularly tricksome roundabout when the car in front of me brakes suddenly and I skid to a halt just behind it, my tyre bumping their back bumper.

I can see the businessman in the front seat put on his handbrake as he hauls his massive bulk out of the drivers seat and waddles around to the back of the car, sun glinting off his bling-tastic cuff links. "Sorry!" I smile apologetically, a little surprised that he feels the need to come and inspect the back of his vehicle. There is a tiny scuff mark where my tyre touched his bumper, which he points to with a chubby finger, bellowing "What do you think you're doing?". He reaches down and wipes the smidge of dust off his bumper. There is now no trace of any contact on the bumper. "I could SUE you for this you know!" he spits in my face, turning purple in his rage. "Really?" is all I can think to respond. I look down at the invisible mark on his bumper. I stare at him. He stares back. "You cyclists think you OWN the road!!" We stare at each other some more. I say "sorry" again, because I really don't know where this is going and I am tired and need some food. The collars of his expensive looking purple shirt quiver.

He stares at me some more. I sit back on my bike seat. He finally decides to leave it, and walks back around to the drivers seat, stopping to give me one final hard stare (just in case I didn't get it with ALL THE STARING). He takes off in a fug of petulance and I cycle on home.

I've been seething quietly ever since.

You want to know who acts like they own the road, Mr. 40-carat cufflinks? DRIVERS, THAT'S WHO. Drivers who turn left in front of me. Drivers who get impatient if I delay their journey by all of two seconds who then scream past me with a whisker to spare. Drivers who nearly run me off the road twelve times a day. Drivers who pull out without checking for cyclists (the cause of all the accidents I and other friends have ever been involved in). Drivers who refuse to give way to me at roundabouts. Drivers whose short-sightedness and lack of care and general recklessness I am CONSTANTLY compensating for. And don't even get me started on white van men!

And yes, I reserve the right to feel slightly superior to fat car-driving types like yourself.

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