Two Perspectives

Here’s how she probably described it when she got into work:

‘Oh my God, I was almost knocked down by one of those demented cyclists this morning! I was crossing the road and she screeched round the corner and almost went right into me. If I hadn’t cried out, I’m sure I would have been killed. Bloody cyclists.’

Here’s how I would have described it:

‘Oh my God, some stupid woman almost killed herself under my wheels this morning. I’d just turned left after Lambeth Bridge and I was swinging round so I’d go round the outside of her when she suddenly noticed I was there, stopped dead in her tracks and just screamed. I had to end up on the wrong side of the road to get round her. If she’d just kept on walking she’d have been fine. Bloody pedestrians.’

So who was right? Well obviously, I think I was, but as she had started to cross the road before I started to turn, she did have right of way. On the other hand, I had seen her, signalled my turn, and planned my line so that – had she only kept going – she need never even have noticed I was there. I was going fast – it’s only safe in London if you can keep pace with the traffic – but not excessively so. I could round corners at a more sedate speed and perhaps I wouldn’t startle so many pedestrians (except by the yellowness of my jacket) but I’d probably end up as the hood ornament of a taxi if I did.

Whatever the rights and wrongs of it though – and the floor is yours in the comments box – I’m fairly sure of one thing. If you’re a pedestrian and you suddenly see something coming, be it a bike or a car or a runaway bear, and the thing that is coming is not between you and the pavement you were heading for, keeping going is the safest course. Stopping and screaming is not.


12 responses to “Two Perspectives

  1. a sight to see, i’m sure

    the bare vision is comedy

    well, not so much for her, or you, or both….

    I had a point, but it temporarily escaped my mind.

  2. Not all pedestrians stop and scream. I’ve seen on keep on walking despite the bike actually having collided with her. The poor old cyclist (who had right of way, and had been shouting at the woman to move before slamming on the breaks) had to try to untangle his bike while she strode off and then got a mouthful of abuse from the rest of the pedestrians.

  3. well its common sense not to cross the road near a junction. so it’s her fault.
    i take my hat off to you for riding in that mad place nearly every day.
    cheers john

  4. “…end up as the hood ornament of a taxi…”
    Hood Ornament? HOOD ORNAMENT!
    *calm again*
    Do you mean bonnet mascot?

  5. if you read the high way code, she was crossing so she was in the right, you shoul dhave stopped.


    Why to pedestrians do this, the number I’ve nearly mown down with the car…

  6. LLD – you’re right, she did have right of way, so technically I should have stopped, but I was going round her so she wasn’t impeded in any way…
    chaotic – I know, I know but ‘hood ornament’ works as a phrase and ‘bonnet mascot’ simply does not.
    John – I think the madness is beginning to wear off onto me
    TMC – did she have headphones on?
    LCS – it was actually quite funny, although had there been a car coming the other way it wouldn’t have been so amusing.

  7. I thought pedestrians always had right of way? Something to do with cars and other road users having the potential to inflict more damage (using their vehicles, car or bike) and thus an obligation to stop?

    If I were you I would have run her over though.

  8. I guess you always have to expect the unexpected. You can be sure that when you think you have been seen, you haven’t and vice-versa.
    Just remember, they’re all out to get you!

  9. I think she did have headphones in. I was too busy watching the whole thing unfold to be taking much notice (it was also a few years ago).

    As to right of way, I seem to remember (although this could just be urban legend) that if I take 3 steps onto the road then I have right of way. Regardless, I tend to like to check if there is anything bearing down on me as you can’t really argue the minutea of road law if you’re lying dead on the tarmac.

  10. I agree, I find with cars and pedestrians they always assume cyclists are either psychotic or stupid and incapable of riding properly and foreseeing and avoiding hazards. It’s their eratic actions that cause the problems in the first place. Cars at roundabouts are the same, no need to be timid or act like I’m going to cut across you, I know how to go round a roundabout, dumbass!

  11. From my understanding of the highway code, pedestrians have right of way when using a zebra crossing, or when they’ve started to cross a road, and a car is turning into that road after they started to cross. I don’t think you have right of waywhen when simply stepping out into flowing traffic, although obviously drivers and cyclists should still try and avoid you if you do.

    I think you should try and credit all your fellow road users with some common sense and non-psychopathic tendencies (the exception being French drivers) but be prepared to be proved wrong at any moment…

  12. re: Blue Soup’s point, I tend to think the opposite for the same reason. People are stupid to get in the way of multi-tonne road vehicles because in a collision chances are they’ll come off worst. This is one of the reasons I refuse to learn to drive – I know I wouldn’t stop when some idiot walks into the road expecting me to stop for them.

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