Impatient drivers

The other day I was knocked off my bike deliberately by an impatient driver.

I was cycling along a stretch of road where there were no parked cars. I was probably doing around 20mph, which is a fairly typical speed for a city cyclist on a flat road. Ahead, there was a line of parked cars on the left hand side. I checked over my shoulder, saw that there was a decent gap, gave a brief arm signal, and moved away from the kerb to pass the cars with a foot or two’s clearance.

With the oncoming traffic in the other direction, there was no room for me to be overtaken. However, “the idiot” (marked on the diagram in red) attempted to overtake me anyway. He came extremely close to either hitting me, or crushing me against the parked cars. I managed to twist my shoulders and squeeze myself between the wingmirror of his car and that of the parked car without touching any vehicle.

Dangerous overtaking

His window was open, so I shouted “OI, TOO CLOSE!”. I thought no more of it, and waited for him to continue the very tight overtaking manoeuvre, assuming that we would both continue with our journeys. But the second he got past me, he abruptly moved in front of me, and jammed his brakes on. I know it was deliberate because we made eye contact in his rear view mirror, and his middle finger was up.

With the back of his car stationary, less than 2-3 feet in front of me, I slammed straight into it. I think I touched my brakes but there was no chance of stopping. I rolled over the boot. I don’t remember what else happened, other than that I think I avoided banging my head by bracing myself against the rear window with my arms.

He watched me hit his car and fall onto the road, and then drove off hard. I was lying in the road, several paces from my bike. The driver behind me waited patiently but nobody offered any help.

As it happens, I wasn’t seriously injured and I was able to get up and push my bike home. I have many bruises: on my arms, legs and ribs, and I’m still sore two days on. But it could so easily have been much more serious.

As for my bike, the rear wheel is buckled and the rear derailleur is bent, so changing gears doesn’t really work properly. The brake cables are stretched, so I must have hit the brakes really hard. It’s going to cost a bit to have that mended. That’s going to have to come out of my pocket, since I have no idea who the guy was. He’s clearly an unpleasant character if he’s willing to risk damage to his own car just to bring down a cyclist who pointed out his mistake.

It really gets to me how there’s nothing I could have done then, and that he got away with it without any trouble or any expense. Meanwhile I’m injured and pushing my broken bike home.

There’s also nothing I can do now. I’ve reported it to the police but they don’t care that a person I can’t name gave me some bruises. I’d never know if I saw him again so there’s no hope of identifying him or his car.

All I can do is hope he doesn’t continue behaving in this ridiculous manner until he injures or kills another cyclist (or pedestrian or driver).

One Comment

  1. Stu
    July 12, 2010
    Reply

    Or if he does do it again, there’s a witness and he gets done for hit+run.

    Preposterous driving, I hope you and the bike get well soon.

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