Before I get going on this rant I’m going to rant about something else! I drive lot of miles per year (circa 40k, and I’m not professing to be a perfect driver just experienced) and I see a lot of examples of bad drivers. I have also been victim to two bad drivers in the last week. Firstly an older gentleman (70s) driving a big car, who could barely get in and out of it, had glasses, and hearing aids, drove into the back of me on fountain roundabout in Christchurch last week. All down to the fact he didn’t/wasn’t able to check before changing lanes. Secondly a motorcyclist fell off his bike on the M3 near Winchester whilst filtering/squeezing between cars sending his bike skidding down the road after me, wedging itself under the rear floorpan. Another bad driver, riding a 180mph and 0-60 in 2.6 seconds bike with a half bald front tyre, was wearing only a wet weather teletubby suit. No leathers. Both of these drivers were hideously under prepared for driving on the road yet they are out there and supposedly legal. So if we know these people are on the roads, why would you put yourself in a position where you are relying on them to keep you safe?
This brings me to what I witnessed today. Now I don’t expect you all to know where I’m talking about but I will pop a map up. Today I saw a fully specced MAMIL riding around a slip road to enter the A338 and head southbound towards Bournemouth. Now this may not be illegal but i’ll set the scene. I first noticed this guy whilst we were waiting in traffic with Charlie and Eva. He was riding on the pavement at Blackwater junction trying to clip in and out of his pedals whilst wobbling along rolling towards the pedestrian crossing. I thought to myself that he looked tired and had better not roll out in front of the traffic, plus why the hell was he not in the road? He continued to wobble into the road then turned left onto the slip road. The lights changed and we caught him up halfway round the slip road, he was probably hitting 12 mph max, he was riding on the hatching on the inside so I overtook and headed onto the A338. I commented to Charlie that I couldn’t believe he was going to do it. This was a guy who wasn’t in his prime, travelling at less than a quarter of the speed of the other traffic, on a road with a poor surface, at one of the busiest points on a weekend.
Do not get me wrong, I’m obviously pro cycling. Pro cyclists having equal road share, pro getting exercise, pro cycling confidence, and pro road safety. I’m also pro showing cycling in a positive light. Now as far as road safety goes that also means not creating potential safety issues for other drivers just because you can, just because its legal. There were at least two or three other routes to get to where this guy wanted to go yet he chose the one that would cause the biggest disruption to others. It was selfish and dangerous. This was just like the motorcyclist who came off his bike and hit my car. It was legal to own a 180 mph bike, it was legal to wear a plastic teletubby suit, it was legal to filter between cars. It just wasn’t safe for him of the other road users around him. Wheres the common courtesy? wheres the common fucking sense? That plastic skid lid isn’t going to save you from a 70 mph car impact. This wasn’t showing cycling in a positive light.
I felt like pulling over and offering him a lift so that when I got him in the car I could give him a fucking good talking to.
This kind of cycling is also why I’ve completely avoided mass participation sportives this year. There’s far too many arrogant cyclists giving the rest of us a bad name.
I know we have to always work to the lowest common denominator with road users but i think there needs to be an introduction of continuous improvement education for driving on our roads. Compulsory theory tests for all drivers (including cycling testing) every ten years, a simple online test would suffice but it keeps people refreshed and aware, and medical tests at 60 years old, then again at 70 years, and then every 5 years. Tests to include eyesight, mobility (ability to check blind spot), reaction time, and steering and pedal operation strength. I believe constant education and testing would save lives, I understand that failing could damage some peoples independence but its a small price to pay over killing or injuring people.
I hope the guy I saw today got home OK (I cant say safely because he didn’t) and learned his lesson.
I feel a bit better now.