Drivers lose patience when it comes to waiting for cyclists

After all these years of riding I’ve become fairly hardened to bad driving. If you didn’t, you simply wouldn’t go out, but this week has been particularly poor, even by today’s deplorably low standards.

If you ride alone you’re likely to suffer from what I’m now calling ‘the ripple effect’. It goes like this: speeding driver encounters a bunch of cyclists, doesn’t slow down at all, swerves around the group crossing the white line, nearly clipping the poor rider pottering along in the opposite direction.

When I’ve managed to confront these lunatic drivers their logic is “it’s better to miss the larger group and only risk hitting the single rider”! Slow down, don’t overtake until it’s safe, even stop, these would be better options. You’ll be lucky — it doesn’t even enter their warped mindset.

That was my riding experience at the weekend, but then I witness more madness while driving to work today. I’m two cars back behind a rider managing 35mph in a 30mph zone. The motorist in front is pretty twitchy behind the rider despite the high speed.

There’s stationary traffic just ahead but there’s no stopping this nutter. He pulls around the cyclist but has to cut in too quickly causing the rider to slam on his brakes and the driver’s going so fast he only just manages to stop before crashing into the stationary traffic.

The cyclist just rides on shaking his head.

Rober Garbutt is editor of Cycling Weekly

  • Ian

    I witnessed exactly the same idiotic driving yesterday near Rosliston in Staffordshire. And to cap it off the driver, who had a woman and child in the car with him, sounded his horn and waved his fist at the cyclists!! Why are these idiots allowed on the road?

  • Gary Kempster-Smith

    I have lost count of the amount of times I have been overtaken only for the vehicle to realise that they need the next left and have cut me up or been nearly sideswiped whilst passing a junction because the motorist is too impatient to wait.

    All I do now is shake my head and carry on, I confronted one person a few years ago and got the response “I didn’t see you” I was wearing high vis with very bright lights. He looked aghast when I said I didn’t think his excuse would have been accepted by my wife and child if he had hit and killed me.

  • Ian Geddes

    last time in tenerife, spain has brought out new road rule that motorists have to leave min 1,5m distance when overtaking and are not allowed to overtake if this distance is not there should bring it in here if it allowed in one eu country then should be allowed in all

  • Mojo

    It’s a problem I get daily as I commute from West Wickham Kent to the city. The best we can do as responsible cyclists is set a standard and try educate car drivers without making them mad. I had one last night in Dulwich who drove passed with about an inch between his mirror and my bars. His special awareness is obviously limited but so many drivers are the same. If you speak to them they get irate and if you don’t they do it again and again probably without realising. I have a camera for peace of mind but as an experienced commuter my suggestion is: ride with caution, think ahead and prepare to avoid mad drivers where you can, don’t get mad with them and above all RIDE SAFELY. I also see far too many cyclists daily who run red lights, wear headphones and have no helmet. My only comfort is that they are likely to be the statistics and not me….I hope.

  • Brian Turpin

    Afraid this an all too common experience which should strengthen our resolve to get segregated space for cycling on busy urban routes. Whilst experienced and defensively tuned riders may be able to cope with these conditions, new cyclists will be exposed to massive risks and would surely rapidly leave their wheels at home.