Confessions of a Jag driver - an apology
18 August 2008 16:47
Hello all, Er yes that’s right, I drive an old Jag so you’re probably wondering what I’m doing here but hopefully you can hear me out as I have a brief (if fairly tedious) story I felt the need to share, about a recent run-in with a big chap on a green sports bike.
But before I start I just wanted to say that I have nothing against bikers, in fact generally admire and respect them, and were it not for my tepid middle class university upbringing would probably have got a bike by now. Not so many years ago I actually took and passed the CBT, although like some witless Hugh Grant type character I did manage to wind the throttle on and break the bike, much to the annoyance of the old fella taking us out; I had to complete half the test on a 30mph scooter (“It’s no good leaning over the front wheel lad, it won’t go any faster. Even downhill”).
Also, I am always one of the first to pull aside to let bikers through, if only because I am a bit of a saddo and enjoy that left-handed wave of acknowledgment for my assistance as they roar away. Anyway, to cut a long story short (ish), your man on the bike overtook me on a busy roundabout in the rush hour, first drawing alongside at the line and obscuring my view as I was about to pull out, then as we went round together, both going straight on (only 1 lane) he cut in front as he pulled across to avoid the inevitable queues of traffic turning right onto the bypass. I
say cut in front, that was a real exaggeration, because there was room for the two of us had I backed off a bit. However, in my defence (m’lud), I was tired, irritable and at the end of a long commute at the end of a long dull day in the office and was in no mood to allow the ruddy Green Goblin to take up MY SPACE at the roundabout. And I needed a pee.
So, I waited until I was almost on top of your man before standing on the brakes and sounding the horn from about 3 feet away. “There!” I said to myself, “That’ll learn you for overtaking on a roundabout!”. However, my sense of smug self-righteousness evaporated rather quickly as the big guy calmly glanced over his shoulder and pulled to a halt, neatly blocking the road off the roundabout. Oh dear, I thought, not such a bright idea of mine, looks like I’ll be doing the rest of my commute in the back of a North Yorks ambulance. On a morphine drip.
As the scale of the man mountain storm trooping towards me became clear, I toyed with the idea of leaping into the back seats, cowering and waving a white flag, but my aching bladder forced me to stay put and prepare to take my beating like a man. I wound down the window dreading the forthcoming ‘polite’ conversation.
The big guy proceeded to tell me, with outstretched finger and in no uncertain terms, that “YOU! Had better calm down mate, I’m the one with the bike, you’re in the car, exactly where do you think you’re going to get past me?! [A fair point indeed] Carry on driving like that and ‘someone’ will flatten your f**king face!” As I pitifully tried to explain, in a suddenly rather high pitched voice, that he had obscured my view by pushing in at the roundabout, the Yorkshire Giant, having made his point, ignored the blithering idiot in the Jag, and with a ferocious twist of the throttle tore off towards the next traffic lights. A
lthough being told by a massive, fuming, red-eyed colossus of a man with a strong northern accent to ‘calm down’ was kind of grimly amusing with hindsight, at the time the cold wave of fear washing over me was easily drowning out the laughter. Suitably reprimanded I sloped off home via the backstreets, grateful when I woke up the next day to see all four wheels on the car, and no sign of a horse’s head on the bed!
Anyway, joking aside, I would like to take this opportunity to apologise to the big fella for an annoyingly bad piece of driving on my part, it was an anally retentive act of zealousness, trying to uphold some irrelevant petty textbook guideline that I have flouted myself on several occasions. And because I like my nose where it is. Don’t suppose he’ll ever read this, and I doubt I’ll be on his Christmas list now, but I will take away the lesson that there is NO NEED to race a motorbike round a roundabout, especially as about 3 seconds later he/she will be 16 miles ahead while I sit in the usual queues, green-eyed with jealousy at the disappearing spec.
However, I did think that in my own misguided way, deep down a part of me was actually trying to offer some friendly advice, albeit unwanted and unhelpful. Who amongst us hasn’t seen the ubiquitous Sunday driver blithely going the whole way around a roundabout in the left hand lane, no indicator, until they are rudely sideswiped by a Volvo, or worse, a two wheeler.
Anyway it sparked a general curiosity to see how bikers viewed overtaking at roundabouts, because that was probably the first time in 13 years of driving in the UK, Europe and even Japan, that it has happened to me. (I had a few ‘ideas’ below, which seemed ‘funny’ at the time, just to let you know I am not trying to offend, but perhaps if I shut up that would be the best thing).
For my part I will in future be rolling out the red carpet and offering a glass of chilled Krug to whichever biker appears on either side of my mobile stately home at a roundabout. Well, realistically I’ll just calm down a bit and try and drive more sensibly, even on an ‘off’ day. I am over 30 so should know better, and I don’t hate bikers and I hope they don’t all hate me. There’s enough room for all of us on the roads, even caravans. Well maybe not that much room…
Happy riding to one and all. Regards Guilty of York Gordon Alexander
PS Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to justify my overreaction, I was wrong and I put my hands up and say I was wrong, I am not the Highway Code vigilante, BUT does anyone really know if overtaking on roundabouts is:
A- Dangerous & illegal (never stopped me).
B- Not illegal but not advised.
C- Not usually a problem, unless you are next to a headcase and he makes it one.
D- A right wheeze, swerving in and out of the traffic, plus the cars are normally going slow enough that you can kick their wing mirrors off should the four wheeled f**kwits get uppity and piss you off (I am a case in point)
E- Why bother as you have already overtaken everything before you got to the roundabout?
F- Roundabouts? I thought they were just government sponsored tight bends for getting the knee down, that’s what the black and white arrows are for… (ok now I am being cheeky and stereotypical, I know not all bikers are thus, oh look there goes my other reader…)
G- Overtaking on roundabouts? Who gives a shit?! You’re a bit effing boring, you are mate. You need to get out more. Or get a bike. Either way don’t come anywhere near me…