We've all thought about doing this. Ever since we heard of Confessions of a Call-Girl, though then we realised our topics were sooo less sexy, so we stopped.
Well, not today. I am apparently going to plough on through...
I'd like to think I'm a relatively safe and experienced cyclist. I check my blind spots, I watch out for cars (not) signalling, I avoid lorries and buses like the plague, and I (almost) never skip red lights. I even wrote a piece on cycling for beginners in London...
Riding the 5 point something miles (10k-odd for us metric users) into work and back home gives me ample time to observe a lot of stupid. When it boils down to it - Cars are stupid, buses are (less) stupid, lorries are terrifying and stupid, scooters are stupid, motorcyclists can be stupid, pedestrians are really stupid, and other cyclists are stupid.
It's a philosophy I've lived by since I first started driving and I quickly adopted into all aspects of my life.
People are stupid.
Don't trust them UNTIL they've earnt it. That way, you're never disappointed, but can be pleasantly surprised!
But EVEN THEN, people can shock you with their idiocy. The other day I saw some muppet in front of me on his bicycle swerving all across the road. We then came to a bus, which had tried to get past a parked lorry unloading building stuff to a construction site. The bus had gotten stuck, because a car refused to move forward to let it into the bus stop just ahead.
So, we were all casually overtaking the bus before the oncoming traffic (about a hundred or more metres away) blocked the entire road. It was all going well, until Mc-Swerve-a-Lot panicked (for no reason), slammed his breaks on at the most exposed over-taking point (read: in the middle of the oncoming traffic's lane), and caused a pile-up of cyclists. One girl lost her balance, and stuck her foot out to the right to stop from falling into the path of the on-coming traffic.
Instead of slowing down, an on-coming black cab just veered slightly towards all the pedestrians who were walking on the road to try and get past those going a fraction slower than them on the path. His wing-mirror clipped some woman's handbag, ripping it from her grasp and into the street (she ran after it into traffic, somehow magically not being hit...) and his bumper grazed the other girl's outstretched leg.
All in all, a bruise, a broken bag, and a little bit of shock.
It should have been a lot worse. That was the only pleasantly surprising thing, in this case. But it just goes to show how one act of stupidity can have terrible repercussions. Two or more people could have been badly injured by Mc-Swerve-a-Lot's cascading run-off of idiocy. It could have been yet another headline of people being injured on the roads of London...
Where was I? I saw this going pear-shaped and had pulled in behind the bus, sheltering myself from the prevailing wind of moron.
So, really, this is less of a confession of a cyclist, and more a herald-call to people.
Think, don't just act.
Because the consequences of your moment of 'air-headedness' could, at best, cause a pile-up (be it in traffic, on stairs, at entrances and exits to anything), or at worst, get someone killed.
Moral of the story: Don't be a knob.