Stop Me if you’ve Heard this one Before

I do hate to repeat myself, but sometimes I am driven to it. Indicating. Why do drivers find this so hard? Do you have to put a coin in the slot every time you use them, or what?

There I was, waiting to cycle across Black Prince Road on my way to the station this morning. An oncoming truck was turning right into the road I wanted to go down  – it hadn’t indicated it was turning right in any formal sense, but the fact that it had mounted the pavement to do so had tipped me off, a bit. Behind it, a car was waiting, indicating neither to right nor to left. The lorry finally made it round the bend and the car paused. I think it was kindly waiting for me to cross the road because it was intending to turn left into the street I was in but that was just a guess. You see, I’m a cyclist. My special powers include squeezing through impossibly narrow gaps, accelerating away from you (briefly) at the lights, and having an astoundingly loud air horn*. They do not include mind reading. So I had to wait at the foot of the road, unsure exactly whether the car was pausing in order to let me out or to lure me out into the road and run me over properly. Caution got the better of me and I stayed where I was, just as the car got bored of waiting and turned left. Everybody held up, and for no good reason.

Look. There’s a little stick thing by your steering wheel. Sometimes on the left, sometimes on the right. Push it up or down and it makes an entertaining ticking noise and some flashing turn signals come on. Try it, one of these days. Trust me. You’ll be amazed how effective it is at helping people guess where you are going.

*no, babymother, I didn’t. I only just remembered it now.


12 responses to “Stop Me if you’ve Heard this one Before

  1. Don’t look at me, I always indicate! It annoys me too when other drivers don’t.
    One minor problem is that my car’s indicator stick is on the left, and the van I regularly drive is on the right. Yes you guessed it, I often flick the wrong one and watch the windscreen wipers instead of hearing that entertaining ticking noise!

  2. One wipe for left, two wipes for right…

  3. From what I have seen, driving these days is no longer about absolutes. Traffic lights, pedestrian crossings, roundabouts, these are no longer things to be obeyed and more gentle hints to the driver. The same goes with indicating. If they feel you need a subtle hint about what they’re going to do then maybe they’ll indicate, but it’s purely optional these days. Look at it from the drivers point of view though. These days they are getting hounded more and more for trying to excersise their God given right to drive at 80 in a 20 zone and park wherever they please. It’s hard to remember to indicate when you’re trying to make sure your 4 wheel drive, 7 tonne, 15 litre Chelsea tractor doesn’t get nobbled by the next speed camera.

  4. I nearly got run over yesterday because a woman was indicating left but turned right! Then she had the nerve to honk her horn at me. I waved my fist and grumbled.

  5. I always indicate and it really annoys me when other drivers don’t. It’s downright rude! And when they do make the effort, there’s a chance that they still don’t know what they’re doing.

  6. Just remember – They are all out to get you!

  7. Here here. Bloody, bloody irritating, 10 kilos of Plastique detonated against the posterior. A few times I’ve nearly been flattened by drivers, and 4/5 times it was a lad of maybe 18-25, showing off. Indication, like grammar, is something the young rebel against (the stroppy little shits).

    But with my new RPG-firing TankBike (TM), things will be so different.

    Well, until the police/army corner me.

  8. Right, so that’s all non-indicating car drivers up against the wall when the revolution comes. I’m glad we agree on somehting

    Mike – won’t your RPG firing tankbike propel itself backwards with the recoil the minute you fire? Just asking, because if not, I’d like one…

  9. Thanks for the technical tip. Well spotted.
    I’ve offset this hitch by setting the firing mechanism to launch rockets fore and aft, at the same time.
    Anybody behind – that’s just too bad.

  10. O-level (oops showing my age here) physics is a wonderful thing…

  11. OK. I think that I have found the problem of why you became nervous cycling on the road. You TRUST indicators.

    Little preamble here. I’m a reasonably hardcore cyclist, my London commute is about 12 miles and I do it for fun as well. I’ve also done Advanced Driving and various other driving (and fast driving) related things.

    The key to getting about safely is awareness of what’s about on the road and making sure that – as far as you are able – if there is a dangerous situation in any place you are somewhere else. That applies to cars as well as cycles. Now indicators are just that – a useful indication – and the more consistent your actions are with them, the better. Mirror, Signal, Manoeuvre. Same on a bike, only you need to look or at least listen instead of the “mirror”.

    Now people just very often just don’t do that in cars. On a bike I will look at an indicator, but I won’t risk my neck against what it says. When other signs point to what’s going on, that’s different. Say someone’s indictating left, I’ll move to the centre or offside, but I won’t depend on them moving until I see them doing somthing else. Equally, a bendy bus signals right to move out, I’ll pull in behind and stop if need be.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying your a bad rider or commenting on your riding skill, just that there are ways of taking your safety more completely into your own hands, even on a bike.

  12. Ham – I think you’re probably right – the main problem is that I find the need for constant vigilance quite wearing, which is why I stick to the routes I know well & the quiet streets…

    Eventually you grow a sixth sense, I suppose

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