An everyday story of London aggro

The first junction on my London commute is not an easy one – it’s a stop line, downhill onto a main road with a zebra crossing on the right and a bus stop on the left. Some mornings I am bright, with-it and can spot a marginal gap and whiz straight over. Some mornings, like today, I am tired and dopey and need to wait for both lanes to be clear to avoid becoming roadkill. This means that the cars behind me, who like to bully their way across the first lane and then mow down any pedestrians on the crossing, get impatient.

So this morning, I’m waiting for my opportunity, and the driver of the car behind starts to honk his horn at me. I give him the universal hand signal. He gets out of the car, walks up to me and spits in my face, shouting “learn some manners.”

Which would be ironic, if it wasn’t quite so disgusting.

There are three morals from this story.

The first is, always ride with your visor down.

The second is, don’t reciprocate when faced with aggro – David Hough is absolutely clear on this in Proficient Motorcycling, a book I like a lot, and to which I should clearly pay more attention.

And the third is that, thanks to a very kind and concerned man who let me use his bathroom to clean up, I may no longer covered in someone else’s saliva but the man who thinks it is OK to gob on lady bikers (or, indeed, bikers in general) is still a tosser.



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5 responses to “An everyday story of London aggro

  1. Yeuch! Disgusting!Mind you, be glad that you are a woman and that he twigged that you are a woman, because he undoubtedly was intending to chin you when he got out of the car and stormed up to you. Don’t be giving the finger to small ginger twats with an anger management problem unless you aren’t going to have to sit next to them in traffic for very long! In fact, whisper it quietly, I’d recommend that you don’t be giving people the finger at all, since it can’t actually make any situation better. This bloke wanted to chin you but satisfied himself with ‘only’ gobbing in your face. The next bloke might decide to knife you, and the bloke after that might be so enraged by you giving him the finger that he just floors the throttle and drives straight through you…Road ragers are funny like that. Ha ha…I have three levels of response for other road users that I tend to apply when I’m feeling rational. I have the cheery wave, which can be made to look a little apologetic if I’m holding somebody up who thinks they are more important than me, but isn’t confrontational enough to provoke a violent response in the same way that a one finger salute is. I have the pitying shake of the head designed to indicate to a motorist that they really are a twat who should park their car and get on a bendy buys for the safety of themselves and others. This is a more in sorrow than in anger’ gesture, and again conveys the message without being confrontational.Beyond that is war, and not for the faint hearted or done lightly. Direct action. If somebody is squeezing me into a traffic island in London and I’m about to die if they don’t stop then sod knocking on the window, I’ll take their door mirror off; it’s a far better attention getter. I’ve only done it once myself, but I’ve seen couriers do it two or three times in front of me as drivers close gaps on them, but needs must and it is effective at waking the dosy twats up and stopping them snoozing as they smear you up the road. Sadly in my case the mirror didn’t break or come off its mountings, but I did survive. Couriers are wont to take them off with a raised motocross boot, which makes a very satisfying mess!Finally there’s the nuclear option, which is to reach in, pull the keys out of a drivers ignition and toss them as hard as you can as far as you can, into a river or a sewer if possible. Then get the hell out of dodge.Again, I’ve never done this, but I know several people who have. Normally to people who are clearly and obviously pissed but who the police aren’t around or haven’t got time to deal with, or in one case, to a woman who was convinced that it was illegal for motrorcycles to filter and therefore not just legal but a civic duty for her to try and knock my mate off his bike as he pulled alongside her in London, recklessly breaking the law. Her Mercedes last seen jamming up Knightsbridge traffic while she phoned hubby in tears to complain about the nasty man who didn’t like being deliberately run over by a mad woman and ask him to bring her the spare keys to the Merc…

  2. Oh poor you!I have had two instances of road range riding a bike (some erhemm years ago) both within 100yds (although on different occasions). The first one I managed to ride into the back of a police dog van – no big deal but the copper went ballistic and almost throttled me. In the end he decided that the paper work would be too much bother. The next incident on Crystal Palace Parade involved a Thames Trader driver who took great offence at my warning toot as he cut across my right of way. He hopped out of his cab and socked me one on my nice new Shoei chin bar. Meanwhile all his papers blew away out of his open cab door… haha I thought.

  3. Anonymous

    get his number? Spitting is serious assault and clearly prosecutable!

  4. that’s really an awful way to treat anyone, but especially a woman. just one more reason to wear racing gauntlets, i feel, as the “knuckle duster” design is quite handy for spidering a safety glass window if necessary (and then speeding off!).

  5. I’m sorry to hear about that. There really are some right morons about. It’s totally inexcusable and I really feel for you over what’s happened.

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