I was cycling back from the station the other day, on my Brompton. This is my usual commute, so I’m rather familiar with it. There’s a place where there’s a road on the right which cars often turn right out of to join the main road, and a bit after that there’s a busy junction with lights where I need to be in the right hand lane of two – I’m quite used to getting into that lane, it is a matter of keeping an eye on what is going on behind me and making my signal and manoeuvre good and early.
Anyway, I noticed a car turn right out of the side road some distance ahead of me, and I remember thinking “I think she’s on her phone…” so I made my move into the right hand lane as usual and came alongside the car that had turned – well the driver wasn’t speaking on her phone, but she was doing something to it. Now at this point we were all waiting at red lights anyway, so I wasn’t going to start hassling her (I’m too shy to hassle people unless they’ve really annoyed or scared me, anyway) so I just stopped where I was (which was only marginally further back from where I would have stopped anyway) and just watched her. (I think if she’d tried to drive off with the phone in her hand I might have tried to suggest that she didn’t.) And after a bit she looked up and noticed me watching her, and she put the phone away quickly. I think the fact that I was a person quite like her helped – two nice middle-class-looking women, just going from A to B. I wasn’t some “lycra lout”, not someone “other”, just a woman in a pink hat and a leather jacket who happened to be riding a bike.