Friday, 17 February 2012

Cyclists vs Motorists

As a cyclist who regularly finds myself remonstrating with motorists for their dangerous and inconsiderate driving, the CCTV footage of the Bristol cyclist being deliberately knocked off his bike by a bus driver - who received a prison term today - was my cycling nightmare made flesh.




There's a full report in the Daily Mail here.

The idea that a bus driver would use his vehicle to exact such physical - and life-threatening - revenge on a cyclist he'd just had an argument with is shocking. The cyclist, Philip Mead, could easily have been killed; as it was he was hospitalised for a fortnight with a broken leg and wrist.

The bus driver, Gavin Hill, was sacked from his job and has received a 17-month prison sentence. He called it a "moment of madness".

Mr Mead is philosophical about the reckless swerve: "It doesn't matter to me what sentence he gets, it won't change what has already happened. For me what is important is that he has acknowledged what he did."

The thing that surprised me most about reading the story and watching the video was my own immediate reaction - I had some sympathy for the driver...

I have to preface this by saying that I don't know what their argument was about or who was at fault at that point.

However, having been in similar, if not quite so heated, situations, I know that blood can rise on both sides and that using provocative behaviour - attacking the bus wipers and then riding in the middle of the road - is almost certain to antagonise the driver.

As well as cycling, I often drive and realise that there's often a lot going on and that cyclists can sometimes be unreasonable in the omniscience they expect of drivers.

That's not to say the cyclist is to blame for his own fate, but it will make me think twice next time I want to have an argument with a motorist...