You’re better off by bike? – not thanks to drivers.

I have never gone to a cycling lesson but I have friends who teach about the safety of it. And I keep reading some golden rules at conversations especially during critical mass London.

So now, cycling at least one and a half metres away from the kerb has become almost a default. Especially next to cycling lanes that do not measure more than half a metre. Strange but so tragically usual – cycle lanes which should be design to make cycling safer actually make it ridiculously dangerous. So I take pleasure in riding my bike well outside them – putting my own safety first. And the highway code.

I have already described how some roads have been made narrower to make space for absolutely useless bike lanes. It was on one of these ones where I was cycling – safely – in the middle of the road, about one and a half metres away from the kerb on my left, and another one and a half metres away from the kerb on my right.

Then a London-Transport licensed cab overtook me.
I tend to hold my breath when I realise I am an inch away from losing control of my bike – and with it, potentially, my life. Rage. Disbelief. Self-control. Forgiveness. They don’t know what they are doing. They do not know they are handling a deadly weapon.

I caught up with the cab a couple of traffic lights afterwards. He saw me coming. I know because he was lowering his right hand side window as I lowered myself to his height to speak to him.

“You need to give me enough space.”
“You take up too much space!”
“Your car takes a lot more space than my bike!”
“Just bugger off”, he shouted as he closed his window again. He may have said more and stronger swearwords.

I was left shaken.

But worse was a few days later. The same happened, only this time it was a private, white luxury sports car. I am bad at brands. It was speedy, but then it was easy to catch up with this driver who was seemingly in a huge hurry to arrive before me to … the next traffic light. Again:

“You need to give me more space”
“I don’t need to do nothing, you f. c.!”
“You need to give me more space and not endanger my life!”
“You need to go suck your mother!”

Cyc lists are at risk of being killed unless we remove from the roads people who show such a lack of respect for us.

Until I see drivers properly prosecuted for not respecting the Highway Code or generally endangering (some times even taking) our lives, I will look at those posters that try to convince us that “You’re better off by bike“, with contempt.