Rotten apples

I ventured out on my bike over the weekend for the first time in ages. Nothing too strenuous – a short climb on the road to the canal and an eventual 16km loop back home.

There is a well-established hierarchy on the road: truck drivers hate cars, car drivers hate cyclists and cyclists hate pedestrians. It works the other way along the chain too. Where does this stem from? Sheer embittered experience.

Within 50 meters of leaving the flat, two pedestrians started to cross the road – against the suggestion from the signal – and walked right in front of me. I gave them a good shout and they thankfully managed to jump back before I ploughed into them. Further along my way on up to the canal a woman behind the wheel of a BMW blithely ignored the protocol of giving way to your right at a roundabout and pulled straight out. Thankfully my brakes were up to the task asked of them.

It has been quite a while since I last rode along the Union canal towpath and in the meantime some helpful soul has erected signs asking cyclists to slow down to a near walking pace. These signs have now been officially replaced by British Waterways. Apparently I’m one of the few cyclists who sound their bell when approaching pedestrians. Of course, this makes absolutely no bloody difference if those walking in front of me are listening to their iPods at full volume1.

Everyone, for the love of Pete, please, please bloody well pay attention to those around you and obey the rules – no matter what your mode of transportation.

1 I’m thinking of strapping one of these to my top tube to replace my bell.