When someone overtakes with nowhere to go

chthonic

Über Member
I've had a few days to calm down from this one and reflect on my own actions as well as the nutcase who tried to attack me.

Cycling home I go down an industrial street in Islington - it's got numerous big depots all along it including an ambulance station, Mann and Overton's main showroom, a recording studio, a car hire place, a PA hire place, you name it. This means continuous van/lorry/coach movements and a lot of taxis parking up temporarily awaiting repair. Plus there's my kids' school - my main reason for going down there regularly. It's a 20mph limit.

Anyway, it's usually fine as long as you don't hug the gutter - everyone manoeuvres at low speed and I know a lot of the drivers to at least wave at.

Friday lunchtime I was going home early and was following several cars. We'd just left a light controlled junction so were gently accelerating up to around 18/20mph. I was out in primary and arguably a little too close to the car in front, but was pacing it nicely. Tailwind :smile:

Suddenly, there's a white courier van on my right, driver gesticulating wildly. He's tried to overtake but of course has nowhere to go. I told him to back off.
He then proceeded to chase me down the road, revving away, swerving alongside me then dropping back repeatedly, then tried to push me sideways so quickly that I had to slap the side of the van to get him to back off enough to allow me room to brake and drop behind him.

Of course this causes him to brake and swerve to the road, screaming out the window to Come Here! Not wanting to get into a fight, I kept going. He chased me again, overtook properly this time and then cut in again with me on his inside. Shouting about my "being in the middle of the road" I tried to explain as calmly as I could through the adenaline that there was no room for him to overtake at that point, there was nowhere for him to go.

This was when he got out of the van and ran round to try and kick me. I accelerated as hard as I could and he made contact with my rear pannier - it was that close. He then sped off.

Now, forget prosecuting him, cutting his goolies off, etc, etc (I've talked to his company, am writing to his boss etc as the taxi following us chased the guy down and got his plates), the nagging worry is that I COULD have avoided all this by braking and dropping behind the guy right at the start. As in, if I'd allowed him to cut me up, we'd just have proceeded. He'd have had his bad driving rewarded, but I'd have been arguably safer. Sure I'd have not known that, but at the time I didn't consider it.

Challenged to a fight for road space, I rose to it and then had to deal with the consequences. Something to think about.
 

BentMikey

Rider of Seolferwulf
Location
South London
Wow, much sympathy for you!! Some taxi drivers are nice, eh!!
 
OP
chthonic

chthonic

Über Member
Wow, much sympathy for you!! Some taxi drivers are nice, eh!!
I'm guessing , but he wasn't actually a taxi driver - he was driving a brand new cab from the Mann & Overton depot and had a mate in the back. Desperate not to leave his name so either he wasn't licenced to drive it, or he'd "borrowed" it for lunch.

[edit] a lot of people witnessed it and came to see if I was OK - all slightly gobsmacked by the bloke's driving. They wanted to know what I'd done to cause it :smile: The traffic warden I spoke to showed me where all the cameras were (the council's traffic warden depot is on that road) and pointed out the Transport Police depot opposite if I needed more footage as it is festooned with cameras.
 

Jezston

Über Member
Location
London
Did you report him to the police? You HAVE to report him to the police for that kind of behaviour. You should also tell his employer that you have reported him to the police.
 

martint235

Dog on a bike
Location
Welling
I would always take the road space required. You can't really start thinking that if you'd let this idiot do what he wanted, there would have been no confrontation. Once you start down that road, it won't be long before you're cycling in the gutter all the time.

It's a shame we have to deal with these nutters on a regular basis though.
 
OP
chthonic

chthonic

Über Member
Did you report him to the police? You HAVE to report him to the police for that kind of behaviour. You should also tell his employer that you have reported him to the police.
I haven't yet reported anything. I'm still re-writing the letter to his employer. My key witness wouldn't give a name, I don't yet have his name, so nothing will come of this. Nothing came of a car driving into me and driving off, underneath a CCTV camera for which I had the plate and 3 witnesses who could describe the driver in detail. Forgive my cynicism, but his employer is going to be a better route to sorting him out.
 
That's terrible! :angry: That driver deserves everything that is coming to him! Glad your ok.

You make a very good point at the end and something I do often ponder. At one extreme, you could hold your road space at all times and never give anything away. That is obviously a road to disaster. At the other extreme, you could be timid at all times cowering away at the merest hint of conflict (in relation to road space). If you are like that, then you really shouldn't be on the road, as fear will dominate.

So I think there is a 'happy' medium. You should assert your position, your right to be there. That is the safest way to cycle. Absolutely. But what we should all strive to do is to not take it one stage further, where we assert ourselves to make a point. We've all done it, as quite a few have suggested in my other recent thread. I've done it to. Someone cuts you up. They get stopped at lights and just to teach them you filter in front of them. Yes it makes a point, but it does open the door to further conflict. (they are behind you now as well, which isn't best!).

I try not to do that, although I'm not perfect. I will however, still talk to drivers, and will continue to try and do it amicably. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

In your situation, I would have done exactly the same as you. Remember, in that situation your focus is drawn to the van next to you, and that means it can be more difficult to know what is going on elsewhere around you. I think the safest option is to hold your ground and let the driver deal with the consequences of their mistake/poor driving.

The silver lining to the cloud is that you have highlighted this idiot for what he is. Had he got away with it with you, he would have done it again to someone else, possibly less competent. So if he looses his job etc, you have done everyone a favour.


All IMO of course.:smile:
 
Just to add. If you did pull back, what was to stop him pulling in too soon and knocking you off? Holding your space, was the right move.
 
OP
chthonic

chthonic

Über Member
I would always take the road space required. You can't really start thinking that if you'd let this idiot do what he wanted, there would have been no confrontation. Once you start down that road, it won't be long before you're cycling in the gutter all the time.
No - I think I mean take the road space, but be prepared to submit to bullying for it if you can safely get out of the way. I stood my ground, not wanting to be shoved sideways into the parked cars, but never considered slowing down to move backwards relative to him.

His bullying triggered a stubborn streak in me that fuelled his behaviour. Plus I can't resist slapping a too-near vehicle. It never ends well, but it's so satisfying ;)
 

jonny jeez

Legendary Member
Now, forget prosecuting him, cutting his goolies off, etc, etc (I've talked to his company, am writing to his boss etc as the taxi following us chased the guy down and got his plates), the nagging worry is that I COULD have avoided all this by braking and dropping behind the guy right at the start. As in, if I'd allowed him to cut me up, we'd just have proceeded. He'd have had his bad driving rewarded, but I'd have been arguably safer. Sure I'd have not known that, but at the time I didn't consider it.

Challenged to a fight for road space, I rose to it and then had to deal with the consequences. Something to think about.
Ch, he sounds like a reall idiot to me, sorry you had to encounter him. Hopefully it will be many more miles untill you meet someone of his ilk again (I promise you they are quite rare)

Your point at the end of your post is what i find most interesting and I have to agree with Mags, that there must be a "happy medium". Its just that finding it is even harder when you are under attack. At moments like this you will often default to your basic instinct, which is probably either, flight, fight or ignore.

The problem is, people like him will never learn a lesson if you flight or ignore so your best hope is that his company (or the police) take up the "fight" for you. It just makes me convinced that maybe the best way to solve a situation like this... is to lamp the little git.
 

benb

Evidence based cyclist
Location
Epsom
But what we should all strive to do is to not take it one stage further, where we assert ourselves to make a point. We've all done it, as quite a few have suggested in my other recent thread. I've done it to.
You've made a career out of doing it!! :laugh:;)
 

gaz

Cycle Camera TV
Location
South Croydon
Some good points made on this thread.
I think you need to look at each situation as it is and then decide what to do. Hold your road position as normal but if someone is truely being an ass, it's best to have them in front, be them in the wrong or not. Then i slow down and pull over to let them in front. That way i can keep out of their way and get on with my ride happily. I'm not one to go looking for confrontation or incidences (despite what people might think)
 
Im not surprised...If you meet some idiotic homicidal maniac like that best to avoid.....Easier said than done I know.Agree with what gaz says...Best to have them in front so you can see what they are up to....Not behind you.
 

HJ

Cycling in Scotland
Location
Auld Reekie
Did you report him to the police? You HAVE to report him to the police for that kind of behaviour. You should also tell his employer that you have reported him to the police.

I haven't yet reported anything. I'm still re-writing the letter to his employer. My key witness wouldn't give a name, I don't yet have his name, so nothing will come of this. Nothing came of a car driving into me and driving off, underneath a CCTV camera for which I had the plate and 3 witnesses who could describe the driver in detail. Forgive my cynicism, but his employer is going to be a better route to sorting him out.
This is definitely a case for the police, that driver should not be on the roads, how would you feel if he did the same thing to some else next week and actually hit them? Serious take it to the police.

To misquote Burke "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing".
 

Jezston

Über Member
Location
London
I haven't yet reported anything. I'm still re-writing the letter to his employer. My key witness wouldn't give a name, I don't yet have his name, so nothing will come of this. Nothing came of a car driving into me and driving off, underneath a CCTV camera for which I had the plate and 3 witnesses who could describe the driver in detail. Forgive my cynicism, but his employer is going to be a better route to sorting him out.
Don't know what happened last time, but that's pretty shocking - I'd imagine that last case warrants a referral to the Police Complaints Comission.

You might get someone less lazy this time. You have the name of the company. Their employers will not want to be seen to not be cooperative with the police, so all it will take for the cops is for someone to turn up at their offices, ask them about it, and they'll tell them everything they need to know.

Seriously, go to the police. You don't just owe it to yourself, you owe it to all other road users who have to share their space with this dangerous lunatic.
 
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