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Losing my nerve?

Posted: 8 Jan 2008, 9:20pm
by dbrunner
You may recall that just before Christmas I had a nasty tumble resulting in lots of stitches and 1 day off work (damn there goes my 15-year no days off record). Thanks to all for your messages of support.

Anyways, I'm pretty much healed and am back to my 28mile round trip commute... Nomansland to Eastleigh and back. Well yesterday a hot hatchback with three youfs in it came close enough to hit me with its wing mirror, fortunately I kept control and peddled like crazy and caught up as the passenger was putting the mirror back out... I then received a load of verbal from all three and was told I was a F*ing W*ker! Sheesh..

Today was potentially worse, a tanker was waiting to get past me for maybe 1-2 minutes. It eventually overtook giving reasonable clearence.. but then before it cleared me it cut in so that the tractor was running in the kerb. I instantly knew that the trailer would follow the front wheels, so I braked hard and watched in disbelief as the gap between the kerb and the tanker trailer diminished to zero!

I feel I have used all my good biking Karma surviving my spill and am getting decidedly nerveous about commuting.

What is it with these people? In the words of one of the characters from Hill Street Blues - Let's be careful out there....

Posted: 8 Jan 2008, 10:27pm
by appolo
Just one of those days I guess. This afternoon while on the way home,going down a narrow lane, I knew one car was behind me so pulled in' when I could and let them past. That was O.K, they flashed thier hazards' to say thanks, all happy.
About a hundred yards further on, a small white van comes up behind.This time,not so patient.
Round a sharp bend,come to a hill and having to stonk (riding the fixed' bike), the van comes steaming past (the road was a bit wider at this point), then deliberately tries to force me off into the hedge. Presumably all because I'd made the t--t wait a few paltry seconds.
And yes, I did shout something. His mistake,it was a company van,he really shouldn't have done that!

Posted: 9 Jan 2008, 8:30am
by reohn2
I/we occasionally get this sort of thing from time to time,it may happen two or three times then nothing for months.It seems to be a pure chance thing.
Don't get disheartened, these kind of instances just make me more determined not to be driven(literally)off the road.
In situations where I know theres a potential for being squeezed ie narrow roads ,lefthand bends,bollards,etc,I always take the primary position and stop vehicles from overtaking me until I think its safe for them to do so(I know this isn't always possible)I find a mirror helps too and if a vehicle comes too close to me it gets a slap (this makes a loud noise in the car but no damage and it generally makes the driver go away from me)this is reserved for those close encounters of the potentially A&E kind,I worry about the consequences of driver anger afterwards but it does stop a potential collision.

Posted: 9 Jan 2008, 8:46am
by Auchmill
I am horrified by some of the deliberate attempts to intimidate (or worse) cyclists mentioned on this forum. Do we have a campaign to bring these kinds of issues to the attention of MP's?

Just another point, dbrunner, you mention holding up the tanker for maybe 1 or 2 minutes. Seems quite a while, was there nowhere you could have pulled in to let him past?

Posted: 9 Jan 2008, 8:51am
by Bob S
The most fequent offenders in this area are farm tractors pulling high sided trailers. They do not seem to realise your speed is not that much slower than themselves, and often pull in to early. Yesterday if I had not braked I would have been under a few tons of onions. When they over take I am always on my guard.

Posted: 9 Jan 2008, 9:54am
by james01
reohn2 wrote:dbrunner
I find a mirror helps too .

For me, a good mirror is the first line of defence in "reading" a developing situation involving a following vehicle. Combine this with my cyclist's sixth sense, and I'm usually prepared for whatever the overtaking idiot's going to do.

Posted: 9 Jan 2008, 10:58am
by glueman
Living in the hills it's easier to pull over to the kerb sometimes and wave a driver past. If a following truck has been patient and there's no gap I figure I'm out on a jolly and he may be earning his wages so get out the way.
Now and again even well intentioned lorries will start to overtake giving plenty of space, a car comes the other way at stupid speeds and the guy has to make a decision - go for a head-on or hope the rider hits his brakes on the inside. Who'd be a lorry driver?

road idiots

Posted: 9 Jan 2008, 4:52pm
by softpedal
This reminded me of this weekends ride.
Out with about 8 others, going up a steep hill in single file on a reasonable road but with a few bends.
Car behind was probably being a bit cautious and not overtaking us
allthough there was enough room to do so.

3 or 4 cars behind him this plonker comes out and overtakes several cars and 9 bikes all on the wrong side of the road. And going round r.h. bends.

Posted: 9 Jan 2008, 9:20pm
by gaz
Auchmill wrote:Just another point, dbrunner, you mention holding up the tanker for maybe 1 or 2 minutes. Seems quite a while, was there nowhere you could have pulled in to let him past?

Like Auchmill I tend to take the survivalist approach. Drivers can become impatient and then make an ill considered attempt to overtake, especially if there's a growing queue of traffic behind them - which usually follows trusting the judgement of the first driver to have been well informed!

However there is certainly no obligation to do so. I was not there, I do not know what pace dbrunner was riding at, how wide or twisty the road was, the prevailing weather or whether any place to pull in existed.

There are times I've pulled in and probably didn't need to, there are times (fewer) I probably could have pulled in but didn't. The latter occassions do not excuse anyone from overtaking dangerously.

Pulling in

Posted: 9 Jan 2008, 9:47pm
by DavidT
A couple of years ago I remember being on a very straight road in very rural Lincolnshire. I could hear this tractor gradually gaining on me. Although he was a fair distance back, it was like a lingering death as he was doing his 18mph to my 14mph. As this began to play on my nerves, I gave up and pulled over and watched and waited as he approached. Of course the inevitable happened....he pulled into the field gate next to where I had stopped.

How I laughed.

Posted: 9 Jan 2008, 9:54pm
by dbrunner
I just looked on my Garmin training log at the tanker incident. The road is the A36 from Salisbury to Southampton - conditions: early morning, light just appearing with me in full reflective kit with two rear lights. For that stretch of road the tanker was behind me for 45 seconds and I had to brake from 20mph to 12mph to avoid being squidged. Just love the data-logging feature of the Edge 305.

Road has mixed solid and broken white lines due to hidden dips and there is a pavement available, cycle lane starts a little way after the incident occured, but I prefer to use the road even then (may have to re-think that).

Could I have pulled in? Well yes, I could have but I could see there was an overtaking opportunity coming up. Maybe the driver just misjudged my speed... who knows?

Posted: 16 Jan 2008, 11:32am
by James1822
I try not to pull in because I don't see why I should slow down so that a car can go faster, and most roads are not so long that they are held up for long.

This issue of the lorry which pulls in and leaves the rear wheels to squeeze you into the kerb or hedge is a significant one. It's happen a few times to me, once on a narrow road after crossing a level crossing on a sharp S bend. And the lorry's destination was only 1-2 miles ahead.

I was out the other day when the roads were all flooded and there were large muddy patches at the sides. I was riding on a quiet country road and it was just me and one oncoming car. I was taking the primary position merely because of the muddy patches when I noticed the idiot in his audi doing a kind of hand gesture to try and get me to move into the mud on the side of the road. Although I'm far too experienced to take any notice, it annoys me that these idiots think they can intimidate cyclists, and claim the road as the exclusive territory of the car.

Posted: 17 Jan 2008, 6:36pm
by Mrs Tortoise
The first time I got over Hardy's Monument hill in Dorset, I crawled over it at about 3 or 4 miles an hour. I had an old camper van behind me, and he couldn't overtake as there was a car trying to come down on a very narrow stretch. He stalled about three times, but I was determined to keep going having failed on the hill twice before. Apparently, he was swearing at me but I didn't stop.