Apologies for the rant but …

The other day began with disappointment.

On my journey to work, which that day was by car, I had the misfortune to come across “one of those” bikers. By that, I mean the ones that appear determined to give the rest of us a bad name.

Maybe he had got out of the wrong side of bed, or maybe his pride and joy had failed to start first time and just put him in a bad mood, either way I don’t care.

What am I wittering about? Swearing, that’s what. Call me middle class, call me a big girl, I don’t care (okay, less of the big. I do care about that). But I really hate being given the bird. By anyone. Much less by a fellow biker and doubly so when I have done nothing wrong in my car.

“The scenario?” I hear you ask, ready to correct me that I did in fact deserved the foul (or should it be fowl) signal at the end of someone’s arm.

Okay. I was about to join a motorway, fairly standard stuff. I was gaining speed on the slip lane (quite rapidly as I can’t stand those who pull on at 40 and wonder why they cause issues for everyone else travelling at 70). Anyway, as I am doing so I see in front of me the end of the slip lane fast approaching but to my right is a massive articulated lorry going past me on the motorway, and I realise he is double the length I expected him to be 😯 . My options? brake briefly and join behind him, or continue on course and drive straight into his middle.

Oddly enough, I went for the first option.

Now, while I was doing this, the biker who I had already clocked in the other slip-lane to my left evidently got bored in his lane (which incidentally becomes a dedicated lane in the motorway with no need to merge) and decides to ride across a wide hatched hazard area encased by solid white lines and come in too close behind me and have the same difficulties with the lorry.

Less than half a minute later I am happily toddling on my way having joined the main motorway throng and passed the lorry, only to have the biker overtake me and very aggressively thrust a finger up at me as he does so. Go figure!? This annoyed me (clearly, given this online rant 👿 ) for two reasons: firstly as I felt it makes it look to the other drivers around like I have cut up this chap (which I hadn’t), but also because it adds another string in the bow for those holding the image that bikers are rude and aggressive.

This is an image I am desperately trying to get away from. It truly grates when people hear I ride a motorcycle and instantly form a different opinion of me. It annoys even further when they then start on a mini lecture about how all bikers are dangerous idiots, the authors of their own misfortune, and how they cause all the accidents on the road, etc etc etc. I have to bite my tongue to stop a rant back about how car drivers get lazy and don’t check their mirrors and how police have done a study showing that non-biker drivers can look and not see what is right in front of them as their brain does not properly perceive hazards to be just that. Sometimes I manage to stop myself, other times not. More fool anyone who starts that debate with a motorcycle lawyer!!

Now, don’t get me wrong, when I am riding I am all in favour of making a car driver realise I am present or that they have just caused a near-miss; my favourite it has to be said is the big (I always think of it as quite French) lifted arm gesture as if to say “what on earth are you doing”. And yes, I use my horn, generally on roundabouts it seems, and if I could find the button in time I would probably flash my lights too. But I do only reserve those gestures for when I haven’t screwed up myself, and I honestly think it is important to act courteously and with decency, even whilst looking like a leather-clad ninja on what I still believe to be the coolest looking sports-bike in town 😎 .

Posted by Jamie Wilkins. Posted on: August 7, 2010 at 12:00 am