Monday, July 16, 2007

Four-Wheeled Idiots

I have only been riding my bike for a month or so, but I am already aware that, as a biker, I "share" the road with a whole range of imbecilic "drivers".

Twice, I have had someone pull out in front of me without once looking to see if anyone was coming. Mind you, the drivers were very busy on their hand-held mobile phones at the time, which probably is a good enough excuse. But what about the woman busy in an animated conversation with her friend, who changed lanes without realising that I was alongside her at the time! Maybe I am being unfair, as she did have one hand on the wheel, while using the other to describe what she was talking about, and of course, she had to look at her friend/partner to ensure she got the point.

No, it is the "faffyness" of drivers that gets to me! Do drivers not realise that crawling at 2 mph is very difficult for a motorcyclist. The other day, I was in a queue, when the cars in front started to crawl forward - not very far or very fast, so I decided to wait until the queue started to move properly before attempting to move off. Eventually, there was a gap of about six to ten feet in front of me and it was at this point that the wazzock behind me beeped his horn! Now I was both enraged by his idiocy while admiring his bravery. Beeping a large hairy (well in my case - hairless) biker is likely to lead to a short ride to the nearest hospital. In this particular instance, I took pity on his mental illness and just gave him the finger. Sensibly, he left it at that.

Another guy was indicating right - and turned left; someone else turning right, but not moving over to the middle of the road (of course, I am describing driving in Britain where we drive on the proper side of the road) and of course, the nightmare that is the "school run"!

But I am left with the impression of how bad drivers are - something I hadn't really noticed before, and I am aware at how well my driving in general has improved since taking up the bike. I have greater road sense and awareness now and my road positioning and signalling is a lot more clear (the number of drivers that don't indicate on round-abouts are legion). I now also understand the desire of bikers to get to the front of the queue - it helps to keep them away from the idiots. In the UK, there is a big debate about congestion charges, and of course the majority of drivers are up in arms about it, but lets face it, cars cause congestion - bikes don't.


sandegaye said...

I know exactly what you mean. There has been a study that says the human brain is not geared up to see only one headlight in the rearview mirror. We're seeking 2, & don't acknowledge a single. Hence, the flashing single light, which switches the brain to actually see the biker. That may be something you want to check into.
In my last year of nursing school, I was in charge of a 16 bed ward of quadriplegics.. 15 of which were bikers. Probably none of which were at fault in their accidents.
My family members in OKlahoma belong to a large bike riding club, & they love their trips.. so I can appreciate the fun in it. Just please be careful & be defensive for the lunatics who chose to multi-task while driving (And that should be entirely illegal!)

Mark said...

Thank you Sande, and I take your comments very seriously. Moreover, there are some pretty stupid bike riders out there as well.

One advantage I have is that I've a long experience of the road and driving in general, and I'm not on the bike to go as fast as I can. I do try and ride as defensively as possible - leaving as much space as I can and most of the time, I feel OK, it's just the odd occassion like today when someone started to overtake me and them realised there was no room to come back in - so just started to drift in anyway, presumably expecting me to just disappear.

sandegaye said...

OK, do they make St Christopher medals for bikers?

Jen said...

Yes - you have to be much more defensive on a bike than in a car. That's just the way it is. At least you're wearing a helmet!