I’m going to go completely off theme today and not talk about my short story or the promotion side of things and take a look at another thing dear to my heart.
I have always at heart been a rock chick, leather and bikes. The reality is I wear textiles, hi-viz and ride a 125cc scooter (a temporary measure- over four years so far but who’s counting!).
Every day I go onto that road I have someone cut me up, not notice me (despite the sexy hi-viz) or think that I should ride at the side of the road as a cyclist. Guys my bike has an engine. On A & B roads, I can keep up with you and the flow of traffic. You have no need to rush to get in front of me or to try to bully me to the side of the road. (Stubborn as hell – I will not move!) If you meet me on a motorway with my L plates, then I can understand your desire to get past me but the truth is I am not allowed on them so you won’t see me there.
I’m riding down a side road: I leave room between the parked cars and me because if I don’t and they open their doors without looking. I’m going to wear that window as a necklace…a very unflattering one. May mean the end of me! So please stop trying to bully me across the road, slow down, maybe we can share that space.
You’re coming out of a side road; you have a give way sign. I’m coming down the main road and have priority. Look and look again…pulling out without looking is not smart and not cool. I have a son, a mum and dad, brother, sister, three nieces and a nephew, lots of extended family and friends. They all care that you are pulling out of that road without looking or thinking “Hey it’s just a bike, they don’t go fast!” Think of them if you can’t think of me.
I’m riding along the road, you are following behind me, please give me some space. If I have to brake suddenly, you may get a dent on your bumper…I may not make it!
Adverse weather conditions, it’s raining, you are dry, I’m getting wet. You have windscreen wipers, I have to wait until it is safe to wipe my visor or when I pull up at traffic lights…my visibility may be awful. It will take me longer to stop in those conditions. I will leave a bigger gap between me and the vehicle in front in case I need to brake suddenly that is because I have judged my braking distance so stop trying to bully me into going faster. The extreme wind can take me out of my lane into the next one, if I slow down its because I need to do this for my safety…don’t bully me. If you want to overtake me do it safely, give enough room, don’t skim along the side of me.
When there is traffic, I do filter. I do it slowly and safely, I know this must be frustrating for you as you sit in your warm car because you are stuck. I may be getting wet as mentioned before visibility really bad. I may be freezing cold despite all the layers and biker gear; my fingers inside my biker gloves may start to lose all sensations soon. It may be hot, the sun is beating down on me, I have my biker gear on, so I am melting. I could choose not to wear it but if I come off my bike I lose layers of skin and maybe bone so not really a choice for me. So do you really begrudge me the ability to filter through the traffic? Do you really need to move over specifically to block my way?
There are many hazards on the road that you don’t need to worry about in a car. I may slow down because I see something that may be potentially hazardous to me…is that a reason for you to get angry and tailgate me? Grit and stones dropped by the builders could take me out, a wet drain cover or white lines on the road. I am continually making decisions on what is safe for me…all, I ask, is that you consider bikers and stop bullying them. One day you might take one out…it might be me.