I actually enjoy many aspects of getting older. One is that I dont get so upset anymore.
There is a cyclists saying; there are only two types of cyclists, those who have crashed and those who will crash. As I have spent between 2,500 – 15,000km/year on a road bike for the past+30years and have had more crashes than I can remember.
Over the years I have broken my arm, ribs and face – not to mention the numerous hip and elbow trophies I have received over the years. I have experienced a nurse waking me up on the operation table by brushing my face clean from asphalt with a steel brush.
I have flown over a car, throw myself on the street under a car to avoid a direct hit, flown into a car after breaking the window and neck-rest and landed in the back seat with my face (by this time helmets where fortunately invented and probably saved my life). I have slided over the hood of a car in Florida, like in a commercial, without a scratch and had the driver come out to offer me a check as compensation for cutting me off – driving into his golf course.
Due to my waste experience in accidents Im now quite good at avoid them. I use bike paths whenever possible (if they are at all possible to ride on which often is not the case this time of year), I never ride in big packs that take up the whole road. I ride as close to the curb as possible.
But still – I frequently get di** heads that pass by with a 5-10cm distance between their BMW and my bike at 90km/hr. I hardly react anymore. As long as they dont slow me down or hit me I typically just give them the usual birdy and if I catch up with them at an intersection further on ask them if they noticed that they failed to knock me of the road. Often they then claim that they did not see me…. Most of my rides are out on the countryside with very little traffic so I guess they are napping at the wheel.
Every now and then I get one of those Senior Citizens that thinks his responsibility (its always a he) in the world to enforce the law (the law that he believes in) in a way he see fitting (often by using his car as a tool for law enforcement).
Yesterday it happened again. I was riding out on the countryside on Ekerö, along Stemhamravägen. The section I was riding is restricted to 30km/hr as it passes by a school. With very little traffic and no vehicles oncoming this Jaguar passes me, breaking the speed limit as I was going 30, only to immediately slow down and turn to the right in front of me – only there is no road – the idiot is just cutting me off so I have to stop or ride into the side of the car. I stop and he drives off again. But the guy is obviously not that bright. There is a long stretch of 30 coming up so I bike up beside his window and ask what the hell he is doing. He informs me that cyclists should use the bike path (the one that is covered in gravel as they are re-building it….). He tries to speed off again.
I follow him into a parking lot in Stenhamra. When the old fart finally steps out of the car I feel so sorry for him, what a shitty life this old man must have. Running around and trying to push people of their bikes in the middle of the day.
I ask him what he thinks gives him the right to use his car as a weapon to hurt people who he thinks are not allowed on the road. He responds that he didnt and that he didnt see me. I ask him how he could miss me – dressed in bright yellow – driving in the middle of the day, passing a school at 30km/hr.
He walks away saying – ”go bike on the 30km/hr road and make sure not to fall down”.
I tell him that there is a high likelihood that one of us will end up in hospital if a similar scenario where to present itself again.
Once I got home I call the police and reported the guy. Its unlikely that anything will happen but hopefully they will at least contact him and he might think twice before trying to run someone of the road again. I am so used to being disrespected in traffic that I am always ready – but there are many that are just starting to ride bikes.
So what can we do to get a better harmony in the traffic between cyclists and cars, I dont think its violence (even if it is tempting to give a guy like this ”a good uppercut to the crouch”).
Here are the things that I try to do in my day to day ”trying to avoud another bike crash”:
– Dont race and try to set Strava KOM in the city and on cyclepaths that are busy with kids, crossings, runners etc. It just pisses people off and its like asking for hate and accidents.
– Obey traffic rules (at least when there are people around).
– Show gratitude when someone stops for you at a crossing – spread some love 😉
– Ride like every car will most likely try to run you down/off the road at any second – be ready to jump into what ever is on the side of the road.
– Never assume that the driver of the car that is standing still at a stop sign (while you are coming down the main road) sees you, even if you are staring the person right into the eyes it is very possible that those eyes have no real connectivity to the brain or that the brain has no capacity to process the image of a cyclist. Many drivers assumes that cyclists only travel at a speed of 12km/hr not 35-40km/hr and they think they have plenty of time to drive straight out in front of you and creating a perfect launchpad for you.
– In packs – ride single file if there is traffic.
The driver of the Jaguar is more of a fundamentaist I guess…
If you witnessed the incident or know someone that did please drop me a line with your contact details so the police can get in contact.
Stay safe and ride carefully!
PS. Share this article with as many as you can and wish!!