Longer suffering readers of this blog will have have noticed there isn’t much infrastructure in our local town for anyone who isn’t driving a car, but just occasionally the council makes a token gesture towards helping
unimportant people pedestrians and cyclists and last year they very kindly gave the peasants a build-out, a slightly wider section of pavement by a road crossing. It is very handy because it does slow traffic down a fraction and if you’re driving out of one of the side roads, you can see the 48 tonne trucks coming before they hit you. You can also imagine the excitement amongst pedestrians at having a section of pavement wide enough to push a pushchair on without having to use the road.
However, the build-out is at the end of a gradual right hand curve. So when I’m cycling up the hill, I can see the build out, but the car following me can’t.
This means I have a choice: stay by the side of the road until the last minute and hope one of the cars rushing to the next set of lights will then let me pull out, to or signal early and follow the same line as other vehicles. I tried the first approach and if the driver of the Mercedes that passed me is reading this, I’d like the end of my handlebars back. Thanks. You’ll probably find it wedged into the mobile phone you were using.
Cars do seem to notice us a bit more when we follow the line of traffic, possibly because they realise we won’t just get out of the way. Trouble is, every now and again Mercedes Man (or, for some odd reason, Fiat Woman) gets stroppy and starts leaning on their horn.
In the end I decided it would be better -especially when I was taking small boys to Kindergarten- to go through the traffic calmed old centre (speed limit 7km/h) and back downhill to drop the boys off. It means a steep hill and driving three sides of a square, but at least the commuters are going the other way.
Except for Porsche** Man who decided that this was the perfect short cut this morning and took exception to the presence of a bicycle (and pedestrians, schoolchildren, etc) on a road that clearly belonged to him and him alone.