Yesterday as I cycled to work in the sunshine up through Tooting. I was overtaken by a car in between pinch points when a woman in the passenger seat screamed at me:
“You should be wearing a f***ing helmet!”
What? I was soon alongside her again and asked why she thought a piece of plastic on my head would offer any protection against a tonne of metal, to which she replied, in between expletives, brain injury when I hit the ground after making reckless maneuvers.
It was at this point I concluded she was not having a good day, quite deranged, very angry, possibly a poor driver (or complete non-driver as in passenger seat) and frankly not worth bothering about. But as ever when you are exposed on a bike and being yelled at by someone in a car you deal with this adrenaline your body naturally produces as you contemplate their anger and what they could possibly do to you with their car!
She then told me to “Suck my Granny”, which along with confirming the above, made me laugh out loud, and continue on my way leaving them to sit on the congested A24.
At lunch time I read this post after seeing the following tweet.
— Mostly Harmless (@nosliWtrautS) June 8, 2015
One bit that jumped out at me was:
Even well into the Fifties and early Sixties we cycled more as a nation than the Dutch do today. Somewhere along the line the bicycle changed from a cheap, convenient, utilitarian mode of transport into a symbol of hatred.
That struck a chord with what had happened earlier. Is it actual hatred toward cyclists?
If two people were walking on the pavement and one was doing something silly and putting themselves in danger, would the other ever curse and shout like the woman earlier? I doubt it, that’s a quick way to get stabbed for one thing.
If two car drivers (or motorists in any sort of vehicle) were to have a conflict and one thought the other was acting dangerously would they scream and curse at one another? well in this case damn right they probably would.
What about a car and a pedestrian? Yep, car driver shouts at pedestrian that was not looking where they were going.
Could it be simplified to being a “food-chain” of protection, and the more protected you are the more irritated and angry you let yourself become to others further down.
And where does that leave people on bikes? well unlike pedestrians who have segregated footpaths, guess what? they constantly mix with the traffic, either getting in it’s way, or whizzing past filtering through congestion, and without even trying, winding up people in their cars.
Then some wear lycra, Pfft.. I’ve purposely talked about people on bikes and people in cars here. We’re all people, and sometimes I drive, cycle, walk and motorcycle all in the same day.