Keeping Your Head Cool And Attached
Friday evening, and despite the rain I was looking forward to a weekend with Lil Boo.
I kitted up and got on my bike, carefully taping on my new MD80 micro DV camcorder to test it. I wanted to see how the footage of the cheap £15 version compared to the £65 Veho Muvi Pro that arrived the day before.
A few minutes later I was cruising down the dual carriageway, following happily behind a BMW that was lolloping along at 100mph.
As he passed traffic in the left hand lane which was moving at almost the same speed, I followed him through.
As I neared the back of a small red car (let’s call him “Mr Twatbastard”), his indicator flicked on, flashing his intention to move to the right to overtake a car ahead of him.
I clocked this just as he swung directly into the lane where, well… I was!
This happens occasionally because most idiots are blind, ignorant and probably drunk. Usually, they spot me as they move, and sheepishly move back into their own lane, disaster averted. Not Mr Twatbastard.
Mr Twatbastard swung ALL the way into my lane.
I reacted and swerved hard right, straightening out as close as I could possibly get to the edge of the road. I’m talking literally centimetres before the tarmac ended and it was gravel pits that you REALLY wouldn’t want to hit at walking pace, let alone 100mph – with of course razor sharp metal Armco barriers separating my lane from the oncoming traffic.
Now, I’ve seen a lot of crashes where the bike didn’t need to crash. Most cars drive leaving some kind of gap between them and the curb or any traffic alongside them or oncoming. In my experience this is usually a big enough gap to fit your bike in if you don’t panic. If I’d have panicked here I’d have just ridden straight off the road into that barrier…
Instead, having gone as far as I could go, as calmly as I could, I reached out with my left hand and knocked on his drivers window.
I imagine he jumped out of his skin and I hope he died in his sleep that night, but sadly I couldn’t really look at him at that moment – either way it had the desired effect and he fucked off and gave me a bit of room.
Catching it all on the helmet cam would have been better, because you’d have seen my gesticulations and exaggerated clapping at him, but at least I got most of it on camera.
Despite all this, you have to let things like this go. Well, I say that, but I did think of following him and smashing his stupid face in so badly that even Jimmy Nail would have been sick, but if you’re not going to do that there’s no point staying mad about it. It’s done – you survived – get over it. In this case he refused to even look at me after or acknowledge my existence, staring straight ahead and not even glancing at me!
If you don’t let it go you make mistakes…
Thirty seconds or so later I filtered through traffic approaching a busy roundabout. As I got to the front I had to squeeze past a filthy great big truck. You have to be careful here, because if they move off and turn you can very easily get squished. Normally I’d have held back and waited, but still having my Murdering Face on, I chanced it.
As we were both at the front (with him completely blocking my line of sight to approaching traffic), I heard his engine revs rise as if he was quickly pulling away, so I gave it a big handful to beat him and get clear.
As soon as I did this my Spidey Senses were tingling. I slammed the brakes on just before I cleared the front of the truck (which had now stopped dead again), and of course saw a car heading straight for me.
As the camera is mounted on the handlebars, you can see I used a fair bit of opposite lock as it all slid sideways, and stopped inches before the car sped past:
What more can I say? That was totally my mistake – and luckily I got away with it. Keep it safe out there, kids!