Saturday, 17 September 2011

Have you ever had cycle rage?

Source: Pinkerest
Have you ever had cycle rage? I’m not talking about car drivers against cyclists, nor cyclists against car drivers, but instead cyclists against cyclists. You see, I am ashamed to admit it but every now and then I get the rage. Of course I don’t act on it, but when it happens I stew inside often for the duration of my bike ride. Let’s take Friday night as a recent example:
Tired and exasperated by working late on a FRIDAY night (puh-lease!), I set off on my usual route cycling home. Thinking that I had missed the evening rush hour I had high expectations of a pleasant, smooth ride in the golden autumn light. These expectations were thwarted when I headed northwards up the hill on Amwell Street, Angel. It was unusually congested and cars were stationary in traffic right up to where Great Percy Street meets Amwell Street. I ploughed up the hill using the cycle lane and started to approach another cyclist who had overtaken me previously. He was cycling at a slow speed because he was stuck behind another cyclist who was cruising at what I would call walking pace. Sandwiched between the stationary traffic and the pavement, I found myself on the SLOW TRAIN to FRIDAY NIGHT DISAPPEARING. And this was a train I did not want to be on.
Now the issue is this, I know the exact time it takes for the lights at the junction to Pentonville Road to go green and usually it changes when I am approaching from about 20 metres away. But because I was on the SLOW BIKE TRAIN I watched the lights go green and then back to red before my eyes. Cue the anger pangs in my belly. The rest of my cycle ride was then tarnished. Every pedestrian decided to cross at a zebra crossing, every traffic light turned red and to top it all off, a car cut me up when I tried to turn right.
Now, I have preached before that us cyclists should stick together (see post), after all, we are a traffic minority with a collective consciousness, sharing the belief that cycling is a better way to get around. We have consciously made the decision to cycle and that is what we have in common. But when the rage kicks in, these ideals go out the window and I join the taxi drivers and the van drivers in their permanent traffic fury.
My cycle rage did not manifest into aggressive behaviour, nor even rude body language, this is not my style. It did however make me frustrated and miserable, when really I should be patient and pleased that there is another cyclist on the streets on London. Indeed, I feel this now, but not then. So please don’t get me wrong, this is a rarity and I love seeing other cyclists out and about. It’s more like the feeling of when you have picked the wrong queue at the supermarket. I am frustrated because cycling connotes freedom and mobility (apart from the traffic lights!) and being able to skip the traffic. Nothing can stop you, but when it does on a Friday night when I am tired and have worked late it is hard to shake.
So, am I alone in this cycle fury? I googled ‘bike rage’ and just had the typical incidents of car drivers attacking cyclists, like this one. There really isn’t much press about cyclists getting angry with other cyclists. Maybe I’m alone with this one. Have you ever had cycle rage?


Mr Birch said...

I get a lot of cyclist-rage and just like you, I tend to stew on it and it spoils my entire journey. My sources of rage are generally cyclists who pull out without looking, don't stop at red lights (often weaving in and out of pedestrians using crossings) and those who are just generally aren't 'team players'.

Iainecg said...

Want to get me wound up? Squeeze past me when I'm waiting behind a car or two at the lights to hold a better road positon, then dither off, slowing those cars and me... Then do it at the next light... Still, being the patient cyclist can work out well - some motorists actually respect you for it and give you the room to nail the lot of them! the slow rider who squeezes past time and time again when you're getting all the loights... And don't get me started on poltergiest-equipped lights (change for no one...)

Iainecg said...

anothr one - ninja cyclists - in dark clothing with no lights... I nearly ran into one this morning on CS7

Jemma said...

I've not come across the ninja cyclists yet! I'm sure it won't be long until I do when the morning and nights get darker.

Mr Birch - One of my biggest bug bears is cyclists pulling out without looking too, I think that it could make for a post of its own! Although after my moan post, I think I'm going to write something nice about cycling next :-)

ndru said...

I tend not to get road rage - I am a very relaxed person and if I see someone doing something stupid on a bike it usually makes me chuckle. Riding usually at less than 15mph (slowly but surely) I have ample of time to predict and react to situations on the road, so hardly ever have near misses or people pulling out in front of me (had cars doing that though).

Hannah said...

This morning on CS7 a cyclist I had overtaken whizzed past me when I stopped at a red light and shot past all the pedestrians who were crossing (on a green man), making them dodge out of her way. So selfish. When I caught up with her, I was sorely tempted to tell her to lower her fat anchor next time, and to let pedestrians cross. Instead I just overtook her stewed the whole way to work.

DH said...

There are some folk who just don't look or think, or do things because 'they should be done that way'

Pacing a Bike Friday (I think it was a Brixton Cycles connected one) with a female riding it we came onto London Bridge alongside a bus just starting from the stop (Northbound) I stayed in the second lane but this lady seemed to think the bus driver HAD to overtake her on the outside practically forcing him to anchor up to avoid running in to her - I looked at him (alongside) and we did the roll your eyes upwards non verbal comment "Some people!"

The at that Kings Cross junction I had pulled up at the island to answer the phone, and having finished the call went to set off - not really worth stamping on the pedals because the lights had just turned red on Euston Road, and space behind to just roll up to the line - less than 5 metres. Woman on fixie comes hammering up with plenty of sighting distance and gives me a filthy look despite then having to wait with me at the line for around a minute for the green light.

Oh and that van that hit the b/f remember that 60-100Kg of bike & rider can make a lasting impression on the bodywork of most modern cars. My most serious altercation - hit from behind at 40mph saw the car written off and thankfully I went down the side rather than over the bonnet (not wearing a helmet also saved my neck, and I escaped with a chipped vertebra and big bruise on my backside).

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