A few seconds into the above video we hear:
“Get in the f***** cycle lane you t***”
Charming. The video by Cycle Gaz paints a fairly bleak image of cycling in London. Fortunately, this isn’t representative of all cycle journeys in London.
But how should you respond in situations such as this?
Being sworn at for not being in the cycle lane
As a cyclist Gaz has every right to be cycling where he is. It can often be more dangerous to be in the cycle lane. As the taxi driver was driving dangerously close, at least as a cyclist you would be able to swerve into the cycle lane if you felt in danger. Whereas if you were already glued to the kerb you’d have nowhere to move.
This is a common occurrence, especially during rush hour when the world famous English queuing patience evaporates into the smoggy London air.
There’s little you can do here other than keep an eye out for vehicles that look like they are going to make a move. Having your wits about you, as Boris raves about, is crucial.
Vehicles pulling into your lane too soon
Later on in the video we can see a Superdrug truck pulling into Gaz’s lane. This is a hair raising experience for even the most seasoned cyclists amongst us.
Once again Gaz’s road position away from the kerb is what protects him. Not only will the lorry driver have had more of a chance of spotting Gaz but Gaz also has the ability to move to the left if the truck is coming too close. In a situation like this you should be glancing behind your shoulder so you are not surprised when a huge lorries pulls up. Gaz could also contact the company to complain of bad driving. His comments should be taken seriously but in reality that isn’t always the case.
See also: Helmet camera reviews
Later on in the video we see Gaz pulling up at a traffic light and a taxi driver squeezing past two cyclists.
There’s an altercation and Gaz promises to report the driver to the Public Carriage Office. It helps with these reports to have evidence such as video and ideally an independent witness.
Time and time again in the video we see drivers who expect a cyclist to be glued to the kerb. There’s a clip where a car beeps at the cyclist and points towards the cycle lane. Another shows a cab driver complaining that Gaz touched his cab and stating “I was nowhere near you”. When Gaz casually explains how else could he have touched the cab, the logical argument is lost in a sea of abusive shouting.
In situations like this you need to stand firm in your road position. It is dangerous to be pedalling too near the kerb and many drivers unfortunately are unaware of this.
If the situation becomes intimidating then it is often better to stand down and take action later by reporting the driver.
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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.