The real rules of the road

March 22, 2014 at 11:10 pm | Posted in cycling | 6 Comments
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It’s clear that many motorists ignore much of the Highway Code. However, the reasons for this have been obscure until now. As my teenage neighbour sloped out of her driving instructor’s car yesterday, a dog-eared scrap of paper fluttered to the ground in her wake. I picked it up, and realised I’d stumbled upon a top-secret document of extraordinary importance, which supersedes the Highway Code in all circumstances.

The Motorist’s Rulebook

1. Get out of the GODDAMN way.

a. Stopping or going slowly? Move over as far as possible. Up the pavement, preferably. Pedestrians? They’ll shift.Dorking Dene Street

b. Park quickly. Come on, it’s not a bus. You can get it in there. That’ll do.

c. Move quickly when someone lets you out, even if it means simultaneously steering, changing gear and doing that left-right-left thing with the indicators to say ‘thank you’.

2. No holding ANYONE up.

a. No indecision, particularly at roundabouts. Go, damn you. Go!

b. Overtake immediately. You don’t need to see round the corner. It’ll be fine. Go on. Go ON.

c. Speed limits: stick to them if you must, but NO driving at 30 in a 50 zone. Or 40. Or even 45. We have places to GO.

d. The faster vehicle has priority. Like, DUH.

3. Life on the road must be FAIR.

a. Let someone out, but not EVERYBODY, fgs. One car, or two if you don’t mind us assuming you’ve stalled. Then drive on. Think about all of us, waiting. Places to GO.Traffic Queues - geograph.org.uk - 1288920

b. Take turns. If you’ve already had to wait at three pinch points, it’s OK if you force your way through the fourth. We understand. When it’s your turn, it’s your turn.

c. No CHEATING. No driving up the bus lane. No forcing your way into queues. If you do this from a motorway slip road, expect us to pretend we can’t see you.

4. Driving is a SERIOUS business. Absolutely NO enjoying yourself.

Eagle-eyed readers will spot that this explains a LOT of driver behaviour around cyclists. Here are some cyclist habits that irritate motorists:

i. Travelling at less than the speed limit

ii. Zipping up the inside/ outside of lines of trafficCyclists on Killyclogher Road, Omagh - geograph.org.uk - 584320

iii. Moving off slowly from lights/ at roundabouts

iv. Taking the lane

v. Wanting to turn right

vi. Riding two abreast

vii. Chatting, laughing, smiling, having fun

viii. Getting to work before them

Note that item (i) violates Rule 1a (get out of the GODDAMN way when moving slowly), forcing the motorist to obey rule 2b (overtake IMMEDIATELY). Item (ii) is in direct contravention of Rules 2d (faster vehicle has priority) and 3c (no cheating). And item (viii) flouts both Rule 3c (no cheating) and Rule 4 (no enjoying yourself). I’m sure you can match the rest up on your own.

This is, of course, the clearest argument yet for separating cyclists from motorists. We operate according to different rules; we’re simply not compatible. So I propose the provision of safe, custom-built, off-road tracks. Here, motorists can overtake, intimidate, scold and generally hassle each other, leaving the roads for the rest of us to go about our business slowly, calmly and happily.

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