My final bit on Saturday’s ride. I think I only counted four incidents of road rage directed at us. It’s quite a common occurrence as drivers seem to think they know the Highway Code and we are regularly shouted at, bibbed at and verbally abused because we are riding two abreast. The Highway Code states that riders should:
- not ride more than two abreast
- ride in single file on narrow or busy roads
- look well ahead for obstructions in the road, such as drains, pot-holes and parked vehicles so that you do not have to swerve suddenly to avoid them. Leave plenty of room when passing parked vehicles and watch out for doors being opened into your path
- take extra care near road humps, narrowings and other traffic calming features.
Now I know I am slightly biased, but riding two abreast seems to be acceptable except on narrow or busy roads. So, if it is a narrow non-busy country lane, where the odd car needs to pass, surely two abreast is OK? However, the car drivers seem to become hugely frustrated that they have to slow down to pass us and that their journey may be a few seconds longer than it would otherwise have been if we were not on the road. Because the reality of it is that they literally are delayed for a few seconds. However, their frustrations and anger don’t seem to be commensurate with this delay.So the other option is for us to ride single-file. The downside of this is that many cars will pass us as though we weren’t there. Often even with oncoming cars on the same side of the road as us will still pass leaving no room for error and in many cases won’t even slow down. I wonder how they would feel if they were put on a cycle, made to cycle on the very edge of the road, where the grit and rubbish settle and where there are many drains and potholes and then be passed by a car with no more than a 12 inch gap at 60mph. Trust me it isn’t pleasant. Now I know we cyclists aren’t squeaky clean and there are good and bad but the upshot is, that in return for a bit of patience and some consideration, incidents could be avoided and the motorists’ cars won’t get damaged and cyclists won’t be killed. Plus, the motorists will arrive at their destination a mere few seconds later but might actually have enjoyed the journey and be chilled out. The one that really made me shake my head on Saturday was a learner motorcyclist who hooted his horn at us and looked in his rear view mirror and shook his head at us like we were complete morons. So how much room on the road does he need? Clearly I feel passionate about this but I will call a halt to my commentary on the matter for the moment.