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.