Cycling is the new black.

But for some people, cycling is the new black circa 1850’s America.  Something that they are disgusted by as they drive their big, modified, white Subaru. Cyclists mean they can’t drive at 60mph in a 30mph zone with their douchey trance music offending the ears of anyone within a half mile radius, but rather, they have to slow down to nearly within the speed limit which is just such a freaking inconvenience.

In case it wasn’t becoming quite obvious that I have had a bit of an incident recently, I’ll just confirm that during an otherwise pleasant countryside cycle with Ian on Sunday, a fat bag of dicks that only just came into my sight once I had set off from a T-junction (with plenty of time for me to move the 3 meters forwards in order to be out of his lane), decided that he was so affronted by my being on the road that he deliberately sped up, and thought it appropriate to shout out of his window that I was a “fucking idiot” as he sped past me in the opposite direction.

I know I was not in the wrong: I looked both ways before I set off, and when the driver zoomed into view he was going far too fast.  But that doesn’t mean that his thoughtless comment hasn’t annoyed me for the last few days.  I somehow doubt he would be so vocal if he wasn’t in a big metal box that I could never catch up with, especially with Ian there too.  I guess part of it annoys me because no matter how careful and considerate  the majority of cyclists and drivers are, there will always be the few (of both) that think they own the road and have a serious grudge against anyone else using it that they don’t feel is worthy of sharing their space.  As long as they stay in the minority, we’re good.

Taking a break to check out a stone circle in the woods.

Taking a break to check out a stone circle in the woods.

Ian + rocks

Ian + rocks

Falls of Feugh, near Banchory

Falls of Feugh, near Banchory

The Falls of Feugh are pretty popular this time of year as you can stand on the bridge and watch salmon attempt to get upstream.  Ian and I saw a few make a good attempt, but fail to get up the falls successfully.  After a near miss, we decided to head off, which is when I met Mr. White Subaru.

Have any of you had bad experiences cycling?  Or are you a driver that has had a bad encounter with a cyclist?  Why do you think some drivers hate cyclists, and some cyclists hate drivers?

 

19 thoughts on “Cycling is the new black.

  1. I was once cycling in London when someone nearly knocked me off my bike by opening his car door without looking first. I ended up having abuse shouted at me by a white van man (who was nothing to do with the whole incident) – who told me that cyclists had no right to be on the road!!
    If you want to see a really worrying thing, check out the twitter feed of @cyclehatred – he retweets all the crazy anti-cyclists tweets. It’s actually quite scary how much some people on there hate cyclists

    • Wow – I had a good look at that feed, and it’s pretty scary stuff! A lot of the people who seem to ‘hate’ cyclists seem to be fairly young (and the young, in my experience, are the ones who still have to learn to think before they speak!), but then again, that could have a lot to do with the average age of Twitter users.
      When I lived in London I cycled a grand total of once. The crazy traffic was scary, but what really put me off was the group of teenagers who tried to put a stick between my spokes as I was flying downhill. I did a lot of walking in London….

  2. Ew that is annoying. I think the population of douches just suck in general. For example – driver to driver – I was at a red light yesterday and there was a lane next to me as well, we got a green light, I hit the gas, the car next to me hit it oh 5 seconds later, just enough time for the car behind them to honk. Really guy?? In general road aggression from runners, cyclist, and drivers just boggle my mind. I also HATEEEE buses. They don’t give a D in this area who they run off the road. I actually got hit with a ticket for swerving to avoid being hit by a bus. Real cool.

    • Did you get out of the ticket when you explained why you were swerving?
      I am also not a major fan of buses, but I’m guessing they have some major blind spots. I’m guessing one of those blind spots is not right in front of the driver through a MASSIVE windscreen though, which is why I was less than thrilled when a bus tried to overtake me (we were both turning left – oh, and in the UK you drive on the left side). Long story short, the road was up against a metal fence, and my only choice was to brake violently to avoid being crushed because the driver couldn’t wait 5 damn seconds to turn. The really infuriating thing? It stopped at a bus stop RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER? I just can’t.

  3. Ugh…both. As a driver, I am constantly frustrated with cyclists who don’t obey the traffic laws and dart out in front of cars, etc. As a runner I’m frustrated with cyclists on the running trails and as a cyclist, I’m frustrated with drivers who obviously know nothing about how cars and bikes are supposed to live in harmony!

    • Do you just have designated running trails? All the trails here are a free for all: walkers, runners, cyclists, horses, dog walkers – anything. But it really doesn’t take all that much effort to be aware of your surroundings and considerate of others using the same space as you.

      • Some of the running trails are designated for running/walking only, but then they combine in some areas to be for everyone…but I agree, using common sense and being considerate would make it easy to all share the path with no issues!

  4. On Sunday someone pulled out of their street right into my path and then gesticulated at me as if I shouldn’t have been there, grr, grr, grr!! One of my work colleagues was knocked off her bike last week in similar circumstance.

    • What?! I hope your colleague was alright. I was so annoyed by Subaru that I completely forgot about running. I totally feel you on the wild gesticulations of drivers. I remember running in town early on a weekend morning, and at an intersection the light was red for a GINORMOUS 4X4 down a side street that takes me, at most, 5 strides to cross when I’m running. The light for the main road had turned amber, so I knew I had plenty of time to cross, but made eye contact with the driver of the 4X4, just to be sure, and then crossed. On my last stride, his light went green, and he revved the engine, blared his horn, and screeched around the corner. The silver lining? He turned right into a red light on the main road. A red light at a crossing I veeeeeeeeeerrrrrrrrryyyyyy casually crossed. Some people just need to chill out.

      • Lol, that made me chuckle!! My colleague was ok, checked over by the paramedics and packed off home with painkillers, she’s just stiff and bruised now. Basically someone just pulled out of a side-street straight into her. Some people just should not be on the roads!!

  5. Have I had any bad experiences cycling? Yes. There’s a T-junction by my parents’ house which is quite bad. I turn right out of the junction to get to their house, and traffic approaching from the left to turn (right) into the junction will cut the corner 99% of the time. Lost count of the number of times I nearly got wiped out by someone doing the “I always turn right like this, how dare you be in the way” thing there.
    As a driver I’ve not had any bad experiences with cyclists (had a few as a pedestrian though) – and I always do what I can to give cyclists plenty of room, don’t race past, etc etc. I guess that probably makes me the exception though – especially because I drive an Audi & thus everyone thinks I’m a massive dickhead!

    Why the hating? In my opinion (which everyone is entitled to!): Drivers hate cyclists because (especially in the area where we live) pretty much everyone seems to have a grossly over-inflated sense of their own importance, and the importance of being at their destination precisely 4 seconds before someone else, therefore anything that slows them down (cyclists, slower traffic, drivers observing speed limits (or even better, driving below the speed limit if the weather conditions dictate), speed cameras etc) is an abomination and shouldn’t be on the road/shouldn’t exist/should be killed/etc. The propensity for some cyclists to jump red lights & hop on & off pavements (in itself illegal) probably doesn’t help their case;
    Cyclists hate drivers because there are so many people out there who are in charge of a tonne/tonnes of metal, rubber & glass who have terrible spatial awareness, poor judgement, and are incapable of taking anything outside of their own “bubble” into consideration, and when you couple that with the physical vulnerability of a cyclist compared to a vehicle… That is always going to make for a fractious relationship – hatred driven by fear for their physical safety I reckon. To paraphrase Yoda: “Fear, fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to the Daily Mail…no, wait, the Dark Side…” 😉

    The @cyclehatred twitter feed makes my blood boil – so many total morons out there it’s scary.

    • Someone has already pointed me in the direction of @cyclehatred – terrifying that people might actually feel that way. I can understand getting irritated by a variety of different people doing a variety of different stupid things, but the venom in some of those comments is frightening. I used to be a lot more confrontational with people (I know, I’m so demure it’s hard to imagine), but I’ve come to realize that you just can’t trust that someone isn’t crazy enough to completely lose their shit if you push them.

      Having said that, when a pedestrian/cyclist/driver does something careless that directly affects me, I usually make it quite clear that I am not happy with them, via snarl, death stare, wild gesticulation, and once, by standing in the path of a massive car giving the driver the finger because HOW DIFFICULT IS IT TO USE YOUR INDICATOR TO LET ME KNOW THAT DESPITE TRAVELLING WAY TOO FAST, YOU FULLY INTEND TO SWERVE INTO THE LANE I HAPPEN TO BE CROSSING?!

      And I in no way think you’re in the minority. I don’t think most drivers have a problem with cyclists, but the handful that do seem to have a chip on their shoulder in general, I feel. Or maybe they’re mad at themselves for being a lazy git. Or perhaps they’re just uncomfortable with trying to pass cyclists because they’re scared of hitting them (I have a friend who is a terrible driver, and is therefore not a fan of cyclists because she starts to panic that she’ll be responsible for a murder).

  6. I only run. The other night as I was running with my club a car passed us and my friend said “that guy just swerved towards me!”. Why? I mean WTF? For some reason drivers think cyclists are pricks and deserve to be cut off and run down. But I thought drivers just thought runners were nuts and should be left alone.
    You gots to be careful out there.

  7. Someone once threw a beer at full force toward Aaron once when he was cycling which apparently was quite painful (though, I guess slightly convenient when he had to stop to recover).
    Albuquerque is a cyclist city, so I think maybe our drivers are a little more aware, but certain members of both are pretty douchy. But, while the occasional bike rider tries to run me over, I’ve had far more cars show little regard for my life. Glad you didn’t die regardless!

  8. The funny thing is the foul-mouthed driver (and the other aggressive drivers featuring in the comments) will be nice as pie if you meet them under different circumstances. I think it’s a male thing whereby the latent aggression is released with the feeling of power under the right foot. Other road-users become rivals, it’s not personal 🙂

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