Now, here I’m not talking about kids on Heelys – although whoever thought mounting children on wheels was a good idea must surely have never met one – but fully grown adults who for some reason (excess of front teeth? don’t look enough of a prat yet?) think that going about on a pair of rollerskates in public is a valid form of transport. And not just on the pavement, where they can mow down other pedestrians, but on the roads, in the bus lanes and – the trigger of today’s rant – in the bike lanes. You would have thought that London’s potholed roads and uneven pavements would be enough to keep these wheel-shod loonies from our streets, but no. All that has done is weed out the few with any sense of self-preservation at all. Meaning that when you do see someone rolling down the road as though it were Venice Beach, you can be certain that they are a fully-qualified, grade-A, USDA Certified nutter.
Take this morning. There I was on the Chelsea embankment, cycling along the lovely one-way clearly marked, green-tarmacked on-pavement cycle lane, the one with a big raised ridge along the edge to tell all those pedestrians who don’t know what the picture of the thing with two wheels and pedals is that this space is not for them, the one with a lovely wide pavement alongside it for the pedestrians to use, getting up as much speed as I could given that it’s uphill. Ahead of me, in my lane, I saw a person skating towards me. I held my line. It was daylight, I was in my own, dedicated, just for me the cyclist, lane, wearing my hi-visibility jacket. He held his line, in the wrong, going the wrong way, using MY lovely not-for-rollerskaters lane. We were closing fast. He was saying something. Something that was not something explicable such as ‘Help! Midget aliens have parasitised my brain forcing me to behave like an idiot 8-year-old’, or even ‘Help! Mischievous leprechauns have superglued my feet into these rollerskates so I am forced to use this lane until a friendly cyclist rescues me’ but was in fact, ‘Get out of the way’.
Get out of the way.
I was so surprised, I did. Do you think if I had hit him, I’d have got away with it?