Give In To Your Anger?
So after yesterday’s post about how happy people on bikes [in the Netherlands] are, here’s the flip side.
Sometimes - often, it seems - something happens when you’re out cycling that just presses all the wrong buttons. These things can range to the irritating and inconsiderate, to the downright scary and dangerous. If you ride on the roads, you’ve almost certainly experienced these sorts of things:
- Drivers will pull right over to the kerbside to prevent you filtering past a queue at the lights
- Drivers overtake closer than is really polite
- Drivers treat the first second of a red light as if it’s green . . . and then complain like hell if a cyclist does the same thing
- Drivers & passengers think its funny to shout / honk you as they go past
- Drivers overtake where there really isn’t room, coming way past ‘impolite’ and into ‘dangerous’
- Drivers don’t look before pulling out / opening a door in your path
- Drivers deliberately cut you up
- Drivers on the phone . . . and if you try to point out the error of their ways, they paint you as the nimby interfering w**ker in the scene.
Just in case it seems like I’m saying that there’s a war raging out on those streets, let me make myself clear on this. The Dutch transport survey ranked ‘Joy’ as the overwhelming, number one emotion associated with cycling, and that is my overwhelming experience too - the problems I’ve listed above occur when a tiny minority of motorists drive like utter gimps. But the thousands of safe and even courteous interactions between driver and rider are rubbed out by one stupid, clumsy, dangerous move.
It seems that these things come in waves - yesterday when I was out, it felt that every car passed within inches of my handlebars, only to have to stop for the traffic queue a hundred yards further down the road. I put it down to Christmas stoopidity - I was in the middle of town, and I’m sure that those drivers were rushing in a panic to the shops, too preoccupied with their desire to bag a Wii Fit to bother thinking about their driving too much. On the same day though, Carlton Reid had one of those scary confrontations with someone who thought his journey was more important than 5 seconds of his safety.
Should we get angry with this sort of thing? Is it helpful, or if we give in to our anger, with each passing moment do we become more the servants of the people who just aren’t respecting us in the first place. Does it lead us to dehumanise them, and end up just making us more like them?
Or should we ride on by, turn the other pedal, and adopt a genuine holier than thou attitude?
And my final question - in the event of a near miss caused by a driver’s crass stupidity, what’s the right thing to do? Shout, swear, take photos (always wear a helmet camera for just such a situation?), ride like the wind to catch them to give them a piece of your mind, memorise their number (license) plate & report them to the police, or what?
- Type: Cycle
- Date: 12/18/2008
- Time: 13:58:07
- Total Time: 2:20:00.00
- Calories: 1460
- Distance: 32 miles
- Average Speed: 13.71 mph