I was running down Lambeth Bridge road this morning when I heard the familiar wail of a police siren. I always enjoy watching the panic this causes as drivers try and work out how best to get out of the way but this time someone had kept their head and left a nice gap so the police car could get into the bus lane and the police car duly did this. I fully expected it to streak off down the road and over the bridge for there were no buses, but no – the driver stopped and waited. Why? Because there was a cyclist in the bus lane and the cyclist was clearly buggered if he was going to stop for the police. It was his lane, dammit, and he was going to cycle on it. Even as rabid a cyclist defender as myself cannot condone this behaviour. If nothing else, plain old caution dictates that you stop or pull over and let them pass.
Yet time and time again I see people not doing this – not because they’ve lost their head and can’t work out how to react, but out of sheer bloody mindedness. You might argue this was just a police car and so fair game (although you’d probably think differently if it was your house being burgled) but what about ambulances? It behoves us all to keep up our ambulance karma, surely? Yet the other day, cycling home, I saw an ambulance trying to turn into the road I was on. It had its lights going, though not its sirens (it was a residential area), and so I made it clear I was stopping to let them pull out and get past. Not so the driver of the bus going the other way. Oh no, he saw the ambulance nosing into the road and didn’t just try and bully it out of the way, he even hooted at it. Fortunately the ambulance had just enough clearance to force its way past, otherwise some poor sod might have been having a heart attack in slow motion, pausing at every stop to let the little old ladies of Pimlico on and off the bus. I know you’re supposed to let the bus pull out, but that was ridiculous. You’d think that might come up in driver training, no? Or is it all NVQs in customer service these days?