Cycling along the A444 Weddington Road, Nuneaton when a driver cut across my path to turn into the petrol station, forcing me to brake heavily to avoid a collision.
Speaking to the driver, he admitted he was distracted by another vehicle. He was very apologetic, hence why I’ve blurred his registration and face. Hopefully it will be a mistake that he won’t make a second time.
This highlights the importance of drivers (and indeed all road users) to not get distracted and be fully aware of what is going on around the vehicle. Never overtake a slower moving vehicle when intending to turn left (in the UK, right in other countries) and always check mirrors to check it is safe to move before signalling and making the manoeuvre.
It also highlights the need for proper cycling infrastructure. With a protected cycle lane here, the entrance to the petrol station could be narrower and at a sharper angle, forcing a slower and more considered turn by drivers.
It seems some days drivers can be the best in the world, other days they’re clueless morons. Today seemed to be the latter.
I decided to take a ride to the neighbouring town which involves a short stretch of 50mph dual-carriageway, which has two lanes for a significant portion. And it was in this portion that I suffered two close passes.
The worst of these was by the driver of a Royal Mail lorry who overtook at speed without making an attempt to cross over to the right-hand lane – presumably because there was a vehicle already there and the driver was incapable of adjusting his speed to accommodate that fact – he’d rather just squeeze past me. But hey, at least his left indicator worked which he flicked on as he completed the overtake – hardly worthwhile considering his vehicle barely crossed the lane divider.
The next pass was by a red van and whilst the smaller vehicle on the wide road was less intimidating, he still failed to make any effort to leave the required 1.5m gap between me and his vehicle by changing lanes. His mission was obviously to ensure he got to the red light as soon as possible, where I promptly caught up with him and congratulated his success with a polite ‘well done’ (he repaid my complement with the finger – charming chap!).
Drivers, remember to give those on bicycles as much space as you would do a car when overtaking. That means changing lanes. If you cannot safely change lanes and cannot leave the required 1.5m distance, do not overtake. Hang back and wait for an opportunity.
Despite having absolutely no need to commute to work, with it being Cycle To Work Day today, I took the bike out at just after 8am and went for a twenty minute ride in the spirit of the event.
Riding at this time of day – a work day (obviously), during rush-hour when schools are back after the summer break, and choosing busier roads – is a real eye-opener compared to my normal leisure rides. Drivers are rushed, impatient, inattentive or just plain bullish in their attitudes. I’ve experience this before, of course, but it seems much more so this time.