YD06 RXH

Approximately 10:40 AM on Tuesday 14th February 2012, Spotland Road at the junction with St. Mary’s Gate, Rochdale.

On the approach to the lights (on red at the time), I was riding in the primary position in order to enter the right turn lane at the junction with St. Mary’s Gate. A man who appeared to be in his late thirties or early forties driving a black Vauxhall Corsa, registration YD06 RXH approached from behind and deliberately drove the car as close to the right-hand side of me as possible, attempting to force me into the left-turn lane. Being by far the most vulnerable party, I moved to the left in order to avoid being injured by this deliberate and aggressive action.

We both came to a stop at the lights, which were still red. Being in a vulnerable position, I asked, “What’s going on here then?” in a relatively calm and polite manner as the driver lowered the passenger side window. He leaned over his passenger, a woman of a similar age and proceeded to tell me that I should be over to the left, pointing to the left-turn lane, indicating that the dangerous behaviour he had just exhibited was undoubtedly deliberate. I responded by telling him that I was entirely within my rights to use the entire lane, especially as I was manoeuvring to make a right-turn. Oddly, he then called me a tosser and asked where my helmet was. Not having enough time during the traffic light cycle to make the points that the effectiveness of cycle helmets in collisions involving motorised vehicles is questionable at best, and that even if they were, there is a moral issue to be considered as to why I should wear a helmet in order to protect myself from his deliberate, dangerous and aggressive use of his motor vehicle as a deadly weapon, I instead asked him, “Where’s your helmet?” He seemed somewhat confused by this response, and our conversation was cut short somewhat by the traffic light finally cycling round to green, although he did call me a tosser again for some reason.

Coincidentally, he happened to be heading in the same direction as I was, and I saw him again after he had parked up somewhere around School Lane, near St. Chad’s Church. He saw me as I was walking my bike up Church Lane, about to resume riding (I have learned from experience that this steep, cobbled hills is not worth riding up). Again, he called me a tosser and I shouted to him as I rode away that he should re-evaluate his driving skills before he causes the death of someone’s child through his aggressive behaviour.

As a cyclist, I see first hand some examples of pretty terrible driving. What sets these sorts of experiences apart is that it wasn’t negligent, stupid or even selfish driving which put me in danger; it was an act of malice, an act of someone who had the need to intimidate someone who was more vulnerable in order to feel powerful. The driver of YD06 RXH clearly felt a perverse pleasure from the sensation of power he got through intimidating someone in a much more vulnerable position through the use of a deadly weapon, in this case a motor vehicle.

Having been through the process of reporting blatantly malicious, aggressive behaviour from motorists to the Police in the past, I know that without any video evidence or other witnesses it is likely to be a huge waste of time. It’s a shame that this type of sadistic behaviour is common enough that many cyclists are increasingly feeling the need to equip themselves with surveillance measures just to get from A-to-B on a bike.

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11 thoughts on “YD06 RXH

  1. Sad but all too true :-(

    I took a very dominant primary position approaching a pinch point the other day (a pedestrian island). There is only room for one vehicle to pass through safely. I was doing about 17 mph in a 30 zone. I heard the lone car coming up fast behind me but held my ground. I am fed up of being squeezed into the gutter. All that was needed was for the driver to slow for a few seconds before safely overtaking. Instead, he (for I doubt it was a she) chose to overtake on the wrong side of the island doing at least 40 mph, forcing an oncoming bus to brake hard.

    I’ve not reported it or even bothered blogging about it. What’s the point? There was no ensuing accident so why would the police be interested? Even when you have video evidence you are informed you are being “antimotorist” by some police officers!

    Glad you are OK. I just had to vent to someone who feels the same way.

    • Sometimes it seems a bit like a sick joke that the government guidance for cyclists suggests we adopt the primary position in certain situations, but the same government doesn’t tell this to drivers during their training and is quite inconsistent when it comes to telling its Police officers about it too.

      On my ride to the station today a motorist nearly collided with an incoming car when overtaking me, the other driver had to brake hard. Thing is, she only got to the next set of lights about five seconds before me. However, unlike yesterday, it was not malicious, just good old fashioned stupidity.

  2. Can’t decide if this story is concerned with the continuous battle between cyclists and motorists, or just someone going out of his way to be a complete twonk!

    I have a lot of respect for cyclists being an one myself and when driving I pass at convenient times when its safe for everyone and always try to give cyclists space. Its not difficult!

    A friend of mine was once riding down the inside of a queue of cars (probably not advised to be honest) and a driver deliberately pulled towards to curb to stop him. so dangerous and unnecessary but unfortunately because of the nature of SOME PEOPLE, who happen to be driving cars, cyclists have to put up with this sort of behavior.

    Just don’t understand some people’s beef with cyclists!

    Best of luck with cycling in the future, and I love “where’s your helmet”! :)

    • I’ve had similar experiences to your friend, although thankfully when I have filtered like that I do it barely faster than walking pace for precisely that reason (plus the risk of a passenger getting out). As depressingly common as this sort of this is, I still don’t think of it as a cyclist vs motorist thing, more as a normal people vs wankers thing.

      • Exactly yeah, think thats the point I was trying to make, its not drivers that should be blamed its idiots driving cars. Thanks for the tip on that, i’ll bear it in mind for the future!

  3. It happens all the time and everywhere. To me it happens on average once every two weeks, only counting verbal and/or physical agression. I’m not counting driving agression like overtaking in too narrow streets or when you’re already signalling to turn, cutting after overtaking or when turning, not giving right of way, using the cycling infrastructure to drive/turn/park on, not signalling, … all of these happen with a frequency of once every 500 meter (or yard).
    Car drivers often don’t know traffic legislation as good as cyclists and in their eyes it is always the cyclist at fault. A lot of cyclists are, that bugs me as well, but I’ve never heard a cyclist killing a car driver in an accident.

    • It is a shame that there is a persistent culture of self righteousness amongst a section of the motoring community which manifests itself in these kinds of dangerous, selfish actions. I think part of it is that the bar is set too low for who gets to drive a car, the design of our roads facilitating dangerous and fast driving in most places and the motor lobby doing a great job of making motorists feel hard done by, when inreality they are indulged and pampered at the taxpayers expense

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  5. A courier driver forced me off the road at the end of last year, he got out of the van arriving at his destination, as I picked myself up, (after colliding with a kerb) he just shouted to me ‘don’t start’. I never said a word, just laughed to myself as I cycled off as yet again I get to live another day, but I love your comment about it not being cyclists vs motorists it’s normal people vs you know what! Haha so true.

    • It is sad how almost everyone I know who cycles regularly has at least one story like this. As I said, it’s basically just good vs bad people, regardless of transport mode, although I do feel that larger, faster vehicles do have a certain amplifying effect on the negative aspects of these types of negative personality traits.

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