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After a dark, wet, eventful commute home this evening, involving three very near misses, I found myself thinking, for the first time in nearly two decades of riding, "is it worth it?". I've cycled to work for as long as I can remember, in all weathers, all year.  It's just part of my routine and I enjoy it, for the most part; certainly preferable to the train or car.  Until now.

There have always been inatentive drivers, drivers in a hurry, drivers on their mobiles, but I've never found it that hard to spot them and position accordingly in order to avoid the risk of contact.  But lately, it seems there's genuine intent on the part of some drivers to put me in danger, or a wilful "I don't give a fuck" attitude that is, frankly, scary.

I'm wondering whether to put the bike away until the days get longer.  And I'm angry with myself for thinking it.  Anyone else having similar thoughts?  Anyone else actually stuck the bike in the garage until spring rolls around?

38 comments

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alansmurphy [2249 posts] 9 months ago
4 likes

Water bottle full of paint stripper could do it.

 

I managed to douse a woman's handbag and iPad in SIS earlier in the year as she aimed her roofless twat mobile towards me!

 

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hawkinspeter [3944 posts] 9 months ago
6 likes
alansmurphy wrote:

Water bottle full of paint stripper could do it.

 

I managed to douse a woman's handbag and iPad in SIS earlier in the year as she aimed her roofless twat mobile towards me!

 

As tempting as that would be, it implies premeditation and though the chances of getting stopped on a bike are pretty slim, I wouldn't want to be considered amongst the acid-throwers of this world.

As a less dangerous alternative, I've sometimes imagined carrying eggs (make a mess of their paintwork if they don't clean it off straight away) or maybe some kind of paintball pellet although they tend to be water soluble.

(In answer to Davel's comment, I do think that Avon & Somerset are much better at video footage than they were even a year ago).

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Legs_Eleven_Wor... [707 posts] 9 months ago
3 likes
davel wrote:
Legs_Eleven_Worcester wrote:
Awavey wrote:

yeah I have had similar thoughts for sure, especially following some appalling close passes Ive had lately,though most are still in the daylight fwiw, one car last week only missed knocking me off because their wing mirror was already folded back, but part of me feels like Im letting people like that win if they bully me off the road

I recommend 'Freakonomics'.  Everything is incentive.  We do things (or refrain from doing things) for pleasure (or pain).  As long as there is no incentive not to act dangerously around cyclists - and a clear incentive in doing so, because the more they do it, the more they frighten cyclists and the fewer cyclists are likely to venture abroad - then car drivers will continue to act dangerously around cyclists. 

The only question is: are you prepared to give them an incentive not to act that way around you?

Can we follow this through - genuinely - because you often espouse the angry response sort of stuff. I relate to it because I can be an angry twat too - particularly when my heart rate is up and I've just been skimmed by a berk in a couple of tons of metal.

I agree broadly with your incentives model (economics), but it applies to populations, just like it says in Freakonomics. I might be doing srchar a disservice here, but he hasn't struck me as a population.

Genuine question, because if there is some sort of consensus on here, we might be onto something useful*. How, without getting arrested, is srchar supposed to incentivise enough drivers on his commute in order to make any sort of difference?

 

* Personally, I think the single biggest change in incentives would be a liability law, you know, like all our more civilised European neighbours have. I have evidence-based (I think) rants about it on various channels and to various people in various levels of politics whenever I get the chance. But if we all started doing something that became noticed - would that have an effect?

I genuinely don't think I espouse an 'angry' response.  I just refuse to be a punchbag for some cunt who thinks that he's got more right than I have, to use the road.  

I don't start arguments, and my response to almost being wiped out, is generally a glare.  Maybe that's too much?  Possibly.   Certainly in the psychopath-infested road environment that is London, looking the wrong way at someone can often get you stabbed to death.  

The trick - well, one of the tricks, is never to start a fight that you can't finish.  And remember 'reasonable force' is all that you're allowed to use.  

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Legs_Eleven_Wor... [707 posts] 9 months ago
1 like
HawkinsPeter wrote:
alansmurphy wrote:

Water bottle full of paint stripper could do it.

 

I managed to douse a woman's handbag and iPad in SIS earlier in the year as she aimed her roofless twat mobile towards me!

 

As tempting as that would be, it implies premeditation and though the chances of getting stopped on a bike are pretty slim, I wouldn't want to be considered amongst the acid-throwers of this world.

As a less dangerous alternative, I've sometimes imagined carrying eggs (make a mess of their paintwork if they don't clean it off straight away) or maybe some kind of paintball pellet although they tend to be water soluble.

(In answer to Davel's comment, I do think that Avon & Somerset are much better at video footage than they were even a year ago).

What are those shards of ceramic that someone mentioned a while back, made from smashed up spark plugs?  Ninja stars or something?  

*googles* 

Ah.  

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ninja_rocks

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srchar [1540 posts] 9 months ago
1 like

I despair. Last night, on the way home, while minding my own business riding along Green Lanes, near the Overground station, one of a group of drinkers launched a full beer bottle at me. I saw it coming so was able to swerve around it; it landed on the floor and hit the rim and tyre of my front wheel.

Cunts everywhere.

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ktache [1997 posts] 9 months ago
2 likes

It's Christmas, brings more drunks out.  There will be lots of drivers over the limit in the mornings too.

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Jack Osbourne snr [780 posts] 9 months ago
2 likes

I was riding home on Sunday afternoon when all hell broke loose over my right shoulder with someone in a car clearly losing it at someone and trying to break their horn in rage.

Turns out it was me that both driver and wife were berating, apparently (as I found out when I later asked them to explain their actions) because I was in the middle of the road and therefore wasn't riding safely.

So...I've just passed a line of parked cars, have held my line in the left of two lanes and am now in position to check if it's safe to move into the right hand lane as I'm turning right in about 150 yards.

Before I even look over my shoulder nevermind signal or manoeuvre, the BMW with Mr & Mrs peabrain starts honking aggressively with the two of them making wild gestures as they pass.

They then rapidly accelerate past me (bear in mind Im still in the left hand lane) flash an indicator for a fraction of a second and take the right turn I am taking. They then turn left without indicating, again taking the route I am.

They didn't seem to understand the question when I asked them if they realised that cyclists were, as legitimate road users, allowed to use all of the road.

What gets me the most about this is that at no point was I even in their way. WTF?

 

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John Smith [270 posts] 9 months ago
0 likes
ktache wrote:

It's Christmas, brings more drunks out.  There will be lots of drivers over the limit in the mornings too.

 

Yep. For many years I have swapped my bike (currently powered by mars bars and craft beer, previously by 650cc's of single cylinder thumping glory) for the car for the week before christmas, until a week after New Year. Back in the days of riding a motorbike I saw far too many people who had clearly been to an afternoon christmas do/had a few after work/were still not fit the morning after driving erratically.  Given the low levels of traffic due to holidays and closed schools it was just not worth the risk of being so vulnerable around those idiots. It's a sad state that people even now think it is acceptable, although at this time of year a few weeks brake from the cold and wet is not a bad thing.

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