Monday 9 January 2012

Admission of Guilt

There are a number of drivers who, through there reaction following an incident, make it quite clear that they were guilty.
Let me explain.

I'm cycling along a nice straight dual carriageway road at a reasonable speed. Cars are overtaking in the outside lane with no difficulty. Then, out of the blue a car drives right up to my rear wheel and overtakes far too close. A 'typical' close pass. There was of course no need for it, as there was nothing stopping the driver taking the outside lane.

Cyclists will know exactly what I am about to say......I catch up with them at the lights 50m down the road.

I pull in front of them at the lights and look around and make a gesture that they should give a bit more room Nothing rude. They put their hand to their ear suggesting they don't understand, when it is quite clear that they do, and then comes the admission of guilt.....

They signal 'you should be further over to the left', i.e. 'You're too far out.'

This driver wants me over to the left. It might be a good idea....

How is this admitting guilt? Not only does it prove the fact that they saw me, it also proves that they were fully aware of my position on the road and that they were unhappy about it. 'It was too far out'.
I was too far out for what? 

The answer is that I was too far out for them to overtake safely without them moving into the outside lane. So they understand that I require space in an overtake.Why then do they proceed to overtake within the lane? Why, having pointed out that I was impeding their progress within the lane that they wish to remain within, do they proceed to pass whilst remaining within the lane that they have indicated that they know they should not be within (a long sentence I know!)?

There are two possible conclusions:

1) F*ck it.
2) I'll teach you.

F*ck it: I can't be bothered pulling out. I'll have to expend 0.1 calories turning my wheel a fraction to give you the space that is required. I know what I am doing anyway. You'll be fine.

I'll teach you: You have absolutely no right cycling that far out in the lane. Why the hell would you do that?! I bet you are doing that to make a point. Right, I'll pass close to you just to make a point back. Just close enough to give you a wee fright. I know what I am doing.

So you know what you are doing do you?

Guilty as charged.


  1. Perhaps we should wear shirts with "Highway Code Rule 163" printed on the back. Just that line and not the whole text mind, otherwise myopic drivers might run into you trying to read it.

    As a reminder it includes:
    You should
    "not get too close to the vehicle you intend to overtake"

    and ends with:
    "give motorcyclists, cyclists and horse riders at least as much room as you would when overtaking a car"

  2. I'd add a third detail " I'm not actually competent to drive, as I have not yet worked out how to change lanes and overtake, so I'll either sit hard on your tail bothering you or not quite pull out to overtake you and get past in the lane width if I can.

    I do like the Rule 163 idea - maybe a tabard.