This morning I looked forward to cycling to work as it was a beautiful, clear spring day. Little did I know at the outset that I would end up witnessing a particularly ugly road rage incident directed against a London cyclist…
I reached Millbank junction at about 8.20am (it’s the roundabout outside the Mi5 building, here). I waited with care for an opening, looking to my right at the traffic flying down over the bridge. However, it became rapidly apparent that an incident was unfolding directly ahead of me. I looked up and saw a male cyclist in his 30s (white guy, black hybrid, high vis vest, helmet, track-suit type clothing) who was stationary but with a car directly up against him – i.e. the car’s bumper was pressed up against the cyclist’s back tyre.
I don’t know exactly what happened. It looked like he’d been ‘bumped’ or knocked by the motorist (silver saloon, LX51 something I *think*, driver was white middle aged man in his 40s, suited).
They were shouting and the cyclist was extremely distressed and banging on the bonnet. The motorist got out of his car – the hand brake was NOT on and the car started to roll! I thought there would be a punch up. The motorist jumped back into his vehicle to put on the brake. The cyclist was still shouting (they both were) and, dropping his bike down, moved to the driver’s side to pull open the door. The altercation continued whilst traffic (including other cyclists) manoeuvred around them…
The next moment (this all happened incredibly fast) the cyclist was picking his bike up and still shouting, he turned round to the motorist and then… as my jaw dropped open in disbelief… the motorist revved/forced his way into the cyclist. Not enough to run him over, but the car was 100% definitely manoeuvred into the cyclist, and he did it twice, and it’s certainly the worst incident of road rage by a motorist against a cyclist that I have yet to witness (and I’ve seen a few). I was having to keep an eye on traffic moving around me and this was all happening very fast – but I had an extremely clear view and couldn’t quite believe what I’d seen. The next minute the car was racing off and the cyclist was getting on his bike and he too sped off, looking very shaken. Thankfully, I don’t think he was hurt, but it was an extremely unpleasant incident. By the time I was over the roundabout myself, I’d lost sight of him.
I bet it won’t even go reported. A while back I was knocked off by a black cab at Millbank Junction and I didn’t report it (which I now regret, a lot).
How many incidents like this – with various degrees of seriousness – are taking place every single day in this city, and going unreported? The vast majority I would hazard. The incident/accident stats produced by TfL are simply the tip of the iceberg I have little doubt.
I remain sickened by the way many cyclists are treated on the roads in this particular city. Infrastructure is critical, of course, but the attitude of many road users (and yes – that includes cyclists themselves at times) seems an even bigger obstacle to overcome.