Friday, 1 October 2010

Entering The Red Mist

Red Mist: a feeling of extreme anger that clouds one's judgement temporarily.

I really lost my rag with a motorist last night. I was sorry almost as soon as I did it - not because what I said was factually wrong or it didn't correctly express how I felt, but because what I said was only ever going to inflame the situation and give the motorist the excuse I was just a yob. 

It was 21.00hrs. I was cycling in secondary along the inside lane of a 30mph dual carriageway, fully lit up and wearing my hi viz reflective jacket. There was no traffic in front of me as I approached some traffic lights. A third, left turn only lane, began about 50m before the lights and this is where I was aiming to be. So travelling at 18-20mph I moved into primary within said lane as the lights changed to red. Next thing I knew a small car overtook me with less than 12-15cm room, it barely passed me when it moved into the gap between myself and the lights, forcing me into the gutter. It then stopped at the junction. 

Within a couple of seconds I was level and began attempting eye contact with the driver - something she wouldn't do until I banged on the nearside window. I asked if she knew how close the overtake had been? whether she had seen me? and so on. She said she had seen me from some distance behind and stated I should have been "against the kerb" and not "in the middle of the road". I made clear I had every right to be where I was and irrespective of my position her overtake was highly dangerous. She would not concede or apologise and I just got angrier. I asked if she: was an Advanced Driver? knew the Highway Code at all? had any cycling experience? I answered my own barrage of questions by shouting she obviously did not. And then I did it. The lights were changing to green and she was getting ready to make her escape and so I ended my rant by calling her a stupid cunt with as much venom as I could muster.

Like I said I was sorry almost as soon as the words left my mouth - almost! I blame the fact she had almost seriously injured or killed me a few seconds prior. She made it quite clear she had seen me, didn't think I had the right to be in that position and so it seems had no compunction in driving as close as she could. I would certainly not apologise to the driver if I had the misfortune to meet her again. However, I have renewed my personal vow to keep my cool when dealing with some of the prats on the road. It is just very, very difficult sometimes.


  1. My own philosophy is that as long as I speak the truth it's OK.
    In this case you quite obviously called her exactly what she is, so there shouldn't be a problem!

    On a slightly more serious note, we all have lost our rag when we shouldn't have, or even if we should have, when it would have been more diplomatic to restrain ourselves.

    She sounds like one of those lost cases where it is pointless to even bother arguing with, so perhaps it's just as well you managed to get an accurate descriptive in before she drove off.

  2. Hello there! Found who Darrell is =)

    I know what you mean, but in all cases I'd really try to keep your cool, your argument is thus stronger! It makes the motorist feel like a real idiot when you calmly point out that for gaining half a second on the road they were close to kill another human being.

    When things like that happen to me I find that the rage unfortunately ends up making me shake like a leaf for a long long time. But I have learnt to find the strength to politely ask (you'll be surprised of what a calm voice while threatening to report them to the Police does) whether they know the highway code and if they are so inclined in not realising of the danger they've put me under, I would be more than happy to call the Police and see who they think is in the right.

    Polite and informed reprobation seems to go a long long way rather than insults, honestly. I am not making this up, promise! :) Coupled with a red face an a shaky voice also seems to help...

    aaaand relax! Like Ian says =)