Problems on the road between cyclists and drivers is nothing new, this cartoon was drawn in 1948 by Johnny Helms but I’m guessing that most incidents were dealt with in a much more chilled out way back then then they are now.
We have all had our run-ins with what I would describe as ‘total fucking idiots’ driving cars like they were made out of sponge and not a material that could put the Incredible Hulk in hospital but by the day it seems to be getting more and more crazy out there. Increasingly, cyclists are getting attacked by nutjobs even without an accident happening first.
Although not a cycling incident I am up in court on Thursday charged with assault and criminal damage for a minor scuffle with a driver back in June. I’m not going to say much more until the case is closed but in a nutshell I protected a group of children from an aggressive driver and protecting myself from him has resulted with me ending up in court for basically nothing at all.
Based on this entire episode I present to you my top 5 tips for cyclists when dealing with psycho drivers.
1. Don’t exercise your right to life
If you are concerned with how somebody is driving and feel that your personal safety is jeopardised just let them run you down. Don’t take the lane, don’t signal for them to slow down, and don’t make yourself seen. Just close your eyes and hope that you make it out of the situation alive.
2. Ride on the pavement, the road is no place for you
Roads are for cars and you riding your pesky bicycle on one or crossing on foot from one side to the other is completely unacceptable. You are going to hold people up because you’re just so damned slow, have you no respect for drivers? Seriously, these people are trying to get places and having to use both the brake and accelerator pedals is such an inconvenience.
3. If you are hit by a car then you better apologise
Four years ago a car pulled out in front of me and I hit it at 30mph smashing one of the windows. Flat on my back with a broken collarbone and a 6 inch gash through my thigh I had to argue with the driver who was shouting at me for damaging his car. Had he not got right back in his car and driven off leaving me for dead then I would have apologised for his disregard for my life, his bad driving and breaking his precious car; I probably should have been on the pavement anyway.
4. Don’t fight back
In the event of an incident descending from an argument to a real life man on man street fight then you should just take what’s coming to you. Whatever you do don’t try and defend yourself or fight back because you are dealing with a crazy person and a crazy person that is feeling fresh at that. You’ll probably be out of breath from riding and shaking due to the shock of what you are suddenly now a part of, I’d suggest just dropping to the ground before the dickhead reaches you, rolling up into a ball and waiting for the kicking to stop.
5. Don’t expect anyone to help you
OK, that may be a little extreme but the vast majority of people around you will just stand there afraid of the dangerous wild animal that just got out of the car growling. There are countless videos on YouTube of cyclists being hit by cars, followed by arguments and violence and nearly every one of them shows that nobody will come to your rescue, they’ll wait until it is over and then continue look at you blankly.
Of course if ‘the system’ works and I am found not guilty, which I most definitely should be, then I may re-visit this post and change my 5 tips but based on this personal experience I’m telling you that it’s better to simply accept that cars rule the road with an iron fist and nothing else should get in the way.
What tips would you add to the list? Comment below…