Category: Car

Vrooooom!

Bad Motorist

You couldn’t make it up.

One day after berating a bad cyclist, I have the perfect example of how to be a bad motorist.

Part of my commute crosses a small, narrow, humpback bridge. It’s an old bridge, with high solid stone walls. Visibility is nil from either side.

Obviously this is the perfect place for an oncoming car to try and overtake a cyclist on the road. He was a couple of feet across the white lines, so how I missed him on one side, and the wall on the other, I have no idea. I did, out of the corner of my eye, see the cyclist wobble a bit as the car cut back in so I’m guessing he almost knocked the cyclist off too.

Stunningly stupid, dangerously reckless.

Cyclists 1 – Drivers 1!

But no, this will not be a theme of posts as, frankly, I could probably start up a separate blog on this topic alone! Instead I’ll give you the top two links you get when searching for “Bad cyclists bad motorists”.

  • Bad Drivers – a list of examples compiled by a user called Cycling Addiction
  • Bad Cyclists – a montage of examples compiled by a user called StoryOfBike

Which prompts the question, if cyclists are calling out other cyclists, where are the drivers calling out other drivers?

Bad Cyclist

I was driving to work this morning and witnessed a minor incident that irked me.

As I approached a pedestrian crossing the lights were changing back to green and by the time the car in front got to them, they had been green for a couple of seconds.

That didn’t stop a cyclist, cycling on the pavement and across the road at the pedestrian crossing almost getting taken out as he only started crossing the road when the light changed to green. I saw it happening from a distance and braked but the car in front of me had to slam his brakes on (there were others cars in the left lane, likely blocking his view).

The cyclist, once he’d gotten across the road. Stopped, turned and started shouted at the car in front of me as it drove off.

As, by that point, I was level with the cyclist I had half a mind to have a go at him!

Now, I cycle, not as often as I should, but when I do a lot of it is on busy roads. I have cycled to work and I think I have a fair grasp of roadcraft. I’m not the best cyclist, but neither am I the best driver.

I also know that this incident is probably not that common.

Unfortunately I think it’s this type of thing that sticks in the minds of the (pro) drivers and the (pro) cyclists. The driver probably drove away thinking “bloody idiot cyclist” and the cyclist was probably thinking much the same about the driver (despite being in the wrong!)

To all drivers, please be vigilant. Not every road user will use the road properly and you are in a large hunk of metal that can hurt and kill. Be mindful of that.

To all cyclists, please try and obey the rules of the road. I realise that jumping that red light, or using the pavement and a pedestrian crossing to cross the road is an easy option, but it’s dangerous (and I’m pretty sure it’s illegal).

A wee bit of give and take and the roads can be usable by all of us.

(I really don’t like writing this kind of preachy bollocks, I know it won’t make an ounce of difference, but it pissed me off!)

Happy New Year (almost)

It’s snowing. Again. It’s the middle of March and I’m getting really bored of this weather.

That said, as ever, there are worse things that could be happening. Given the recent events in New Zealand and Japan it does feel somewhat churlish to complain about some snow.

That said, life continues. Mum is doing really well, and has definitely entered the final stages which will result in her getting home. She can stand, walk with a cane, and the movement in her right arm is slowly coming back. She’s getting stronger and stronger (you can hear that in her speech) and is her usually, bubbly, giggly, cheeky self for the most part. The house has had extra handrails installed and tomorrow she will be visiting the house, alongwith the Physio and Occupational Therapist, to see how she gets on.

My own little flat is getting there as well. Just waiting on my new sofa to be delivered and it’ll be as complete as it can get (it’s rented). Alas my car is a different story…

About 5 weeks ago (7th of February) I drove through a puddle that was deeper than I expected and managed to flood the engine. It was a stupid thing to do, and entirely avoidable if I’d been paying full attention. But I wasn’t.

So the car got towed off to the repairs garage my insurance firm use. After a couple of weeks with no updates I phoned them and was told that the garage had been ordered to strip the engine to check for damage and they were waiting on the results of their investigation. A further week passes and I end up speaking direct to the garage who, apparently, didn’t receive the instruction to strip the engine until about 8 days after the ‘incident’. He said that they’d stripped the engine and recommended a replacment engine be ordered.

A further week passes and, again when I phone them, the insurance company tell me that they’ve ordered the engine to be further stripped down so they can see if the water made it all the way to the sump. The findings of that were passed back to the insurance company on Friday last week. I am awaiting a final decision today.

Nicely, the terms of my insurance state that I get a courtesy car. For two weeks.

So I’ll take a moment to thank my mate Stuart who kindly offered me the run of his car for a couple of weeks as he was on holiday in Australia (and hadn’t been able to drive it as he broke his arm), and to my mate Ian who has now kindly let me use his car for the next few weeks (he’s got a hire car from his company for the next few months). It’s been a weird few weeks of driving, from my car, to a base model Toyota Aygo (courtesy car) to Stuart’s car (Mini Cooper S convertible) to Ian’s car (Jaguar XJ6). I’d really really like my own car back though (Ford Fiesta batmobile).

Mind you, there was a period where I thought my car might be written off and, as it’s less than a year old, it would actually find me ‘up’ in monetary terms. I had a nice wee second hand Audi TT all picked out too… oh well.

So, all in all, the next few weeks should see the ‘beginning’ of this year. My Mum will be home, my car returned, my sofa delivered and a raft of gigs (music and comedy) are lined up, oh yeah, and I’ll be getting divorced (amicably).

Maybe THEN, 2011 will start to behave and be the year I was expecting it to be!

56

I’ve been gamed.

Or rather, I’m gaming myself.

I’m fully aware this is happening, and yet I’m actually enjoying letting my behaviour be dictated by the simplest of mechanisms, a number displayed on a screen.

The premise is simple enough, the higher the number the better.

I started at about 44 and slowly rose, week after week until it hit 55.3. It peaked there for a while and then crept up further, plateauing at 55.5.

I thought that would be it, and if I’m honest I almost accepted it for a while. 55.5 would be the highest it would go and there wasn’t much else I could do if I wanted to influence it.

Except that’s not true.

With such systems it’s always possible to eek a little more from the working set of parameters, adapting in finer and finer increments until you get a perceptible gain.

It’s been a long time but in the past couple of weeks 55.7 was reached, then 55.9 was touched, all too briefly. The last week saw the number fluctuate, 55.8, 55.9, 55.8, 55.9.

Such torment!

And then, finally, on Sunday the display read 56!

I know I’ve been gaming myself, using the number to adjust things, changing this and that to keep it rising higher and higher. I could probably keep going but at some point there must come a balance and I’m happy enough with things as they are.

Yes, 56 is a good number. I’m happy with 56.