The other day I took a taxi home. At one point, we had to wait for a cyclist to pass on the inside before we could make a turn left*. The cyclist was on the bicycle lane, and they had the right-of-way.
Now, I’m used to taxi drivers talking about cyclists in less than flattering terms. But this time, the driver immediately started telling me about how he had to be careful around cyclists. I perked up, thinking that this might be an exception to quite a depressing rule. This was not to be the case, though, because the driver went on to say that the reason that drivers had to be careful around cyclists was because cyclists purposefully try to make drivers knock them down, so that they can sue them to make money. He said, in all seriousness, that cyclists would happily take a broken leg, or lose a limb, for the sake of the money they’d get from the people who hit them.
Can I have a WTF, please?
Now, I didn’t say anything. I was a few minutes from home, I didn’t want hassle, and to be honest this guy had already been making a lot of really dodgy ‘complimentary’ comments on my appearance and I didn’t want any hassle, or any more communication than necessary.
But here’s what I would have said:
Are you kidding me? Are you fucking kidding me? Being a cyclist in the city is great, but it’s also scary. You’re small and squishy and practically defenceless, and you’re surrounded by big, fast-moving metal things with engines that are fully capable of mowing you down and turning you into a people-pancake in seconds. You’re constantly on your guard. And the people in those fast-moving** things are entirely likely to pay no attention to you, to pull up in front of you, to drive you either off the road or into the middle of traffic, to make a turn right in front of you without indicating, and if any of those things happen you’d better hope to hell you can get out of there in seconds, if that, or else that’ll be the end of you.
And this guy has the gall to say, from the comfort of his driver’s seat, with his seatbelt on and his airbag poised and ready to save his ass at a moment’s notice, that cyclists would just plain love to be run over?
I’m sorry, but no.
Although, come to think of it, if that’s what it takes to give drivers the idea that they might want to treat cyclists with a bit of consideration? I.. I may be okay with that. Provisionally.
*yes, we drive/cycle/etc on the left here.
** Okay, so there are times of day when they’re a lot slower than you are. Which is always fun.