Any cyclist will have encountered various dangerous types of motoring. These are some of the worst that I have experienced from time to time.
Overtaking a bike and Coming to a quick Stop.
Last week, I was descending Boars Hill at about 30mph. A white van overtook, and as soon as he had overtook, he came to a complete stop to make a right turn. I had to come to a complete stop in the same distance as the car. However, for bikes it is often difficult to stop as quickly as cars. The Car driver was probably unaware of the danger he had created for cyclist. (I did stop but the braking was so sudden, my back wheel skidded before I could bring the bike to a sudden stop. It was an unnecessary overtaking manoeuvre because as soon as he completed the overtaking he stopped to signal right.
According to research conducted by GreenRoad - 43% of fleet drivers deemed ‘sudden and extreme braking‘ to be the most widespread risky behaviour.
Cutting Left after Overtaking.
I see this maneouvre quite often in Oxford. A car overtakes cyclists and then shortly afterwards turns left. Some cars signal left and correctly check the inside for cyclists. Others, overtake and then turn left with scant regard for the other road users, they have just overtaken.
This cyclist had to be well aware of a car cutting in. Fortunately, he was aware and able to stop.
The U Turn in the middle of a road.
In an urban environment, you often come across taxis doing u-turns in the middle of the road. This is mainly inconvenient. Though I doubt people would be so patient, if a cyclist took up a whole lane to do a sudden u-turn.
But, a sudden u-turn can be dangerous. I was once descending the hill from Brill (easily doing 30-35mph). But, as I came round the corner, a car was horizontal across the road in the middle of a u-turn. Fortunately, it completed manoeuvre at the last second, leaving a narrow gap for me to squeeze through. Today I was descending when a car reversed out of his drive on to a hill. When he saw me descending at 30mph, the car driver just froze and the only option was to squeeze in between the car and grass verge. Another close miss!
Overtaking without giving sufficient space
On the roads of Oxford, I have been overtaken by a bus so close, that my elbow touched the side of a bus. When cars pass within a few cm, I like to give a ‘gentle tap’ on the side of the vehicle. Once an irate van driver pulled came to a stop and started shouting, how dare you touch my car? When I explained he passed within a few cms, he was actually quite repentant.
Sometimes, motorists are fully committed to driving at 50mph on a country road. If they come across a cyclist, they just find a way to squeeze past (even if double white lines). Often this results in cars coming the other way beeping the overtaking car (because they cross the white line). But, also it is dangerous for the cyclist, who has a car overtaking very close, at high speed.
One of the things that irritates me the most is coming across a car driving on the wrong side of the road. Motorists cut corners and you see a car heading straight towards you. If you express any annoyance, the motorists don’t seem to understand why it’s not pleasant to have a big box of metal hurtling towards you.
Sharp cornering was considered the second most common but risky manoeuvre behind the wheel (39%
Driving With Mobile Phones.
I never trust cars where the driver is using a mobile phone.
There is a difference between going 10mph over speed limit on a motorway and going 10mph on a windy country lane with Max Speed of 50mph.
At high speed, any mistake is magnified and more likely to result in an accident. Also as speed increases, accidents are more likely to be serious and fatal.
What Can a Cyclist do To Protect Himself?
Not much really, but these will help
- Have good brakes that can stop you pretty quick.
- Always be looking ahead. Expect the worst and keep alert.