On two impatient drivers

Wonderful Boyfriend and I were cycling along. There was a car behind us, and I got the sense from the revving engine that the driver wasn’t too impressed at having cyclists in front of them. We turned right at a junction – I signalled, my boyfriend didn’t. Then we came up to another junction. I thought we were going left, so I signalled left. Unfortunately my wonderful boyfriend was actually going straight on. The driver, came blasting past me, started to turn left and nearly knocked my boyfriend off his bike – a classic “left hook”. Fortunatly my he jammed on his brakes and she missed him.

Now if the driver had hit my boyfriend it would have been entirely her fault and “I thought he was going left” would not have been good enough. But defensive cycling techniques try to make up for the short comings of others, and learning from your mistakes is important. In the end, I think if I had not signalled, the driver might not have tried to overtake.

So here are my lessons learned:
1) if you have an impatient driver behind you, don’t signal
2) if you are following someone else, only signal when they signal

My second impatient driver didn’t leave me feeling I’d done anything wrong…

I was on the big bike, coming back towards Balerno about 6:30pm I guess. I was on the bit of the A70 where it goes through some woods, just before you get to the 30 limit and the climb through the narrow, twisty section. The wooded bit has quite a few stretches with double white lines, so visibility isn’t all that good. I was aware of a car coming up behind me, and also that there was a car coming towards me. The car behind me managed to nip round me before the approaching car got there – however there was another car behind the first, and when the driver of that car went to overtake they realised they didn’t have time before the oncoming car got there. I heard a “bump, bump, bump” sound as they braked hard which I’m told is the ABS kicking in. (In retrospect, that is a bit scary because it means that the ABS thought the car was skidding – so I’m told, anyway)

I take a fairly assertive secondary position along that road, in order to be a distinct obstacle and therefore get drivers to think about how they are going to pass me (as opposed to just whizzing past leaving me very little space). It also gives me some space to move into should I feel I need it. I find it interesting, in retrospect, that I didn’t head for the verge, thinking I was about to be mown down from behind. I’m also partly glad that I did not, because I half expect that if I had the driver would have then thought I was “getting out of the way” so they could squeeze past me.

The driver sorted themselves out and passed me, and we all went on our way. Another 30 second delay for some poor motorist.


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