20 May 2010

Shight Rider!

Geddit? Like the great Hoff's Knight Rider, only shite. That's it. You've probably heard of the Knight Rider's computer brain thing called K.I.T.T. Well, in Shight Rider's case, there would also be an onboard computer thing, a sort of Garmin prat nav contraption called...you guessed right...S.H.I.T.T.

OK, we're veering into La-La lad here. Why this sudden obsession with an 80's TV show starring a young, non-swimming trunk wearing and hairy-chested Hoff?

Well, because one bright but wet morning as I was making my way to work, I was called one. No, I wasn't called the Hoff (surely, I'm not as good-looking as him).

I was called a Shite Rider. Not to be mistaken with the above-mentioned Shight Rider but it rhymes, and that's about it.

You see, it's coming towards the end of spring and heading into good old summer. And with less rain (I wouldn't classify the Irish summer as dry), the roads are suddenly beginning to be filled with strange beings not normally seen in harsher weather: Amateur Cyclists.

Not the normal lycra-wearing variety you see in all types of weather. These professional/hardcore-type cyclists  actually know the rules of the road, they just refuse to abide by them. No, the ones I'm talking about here are of the chubbier variety. Yes, some of them do wear ill-fitting luminous lycra but most if not all of them ride almost new bicycles they only bought because of that Bike To Work scheme that's been offered at the office.

So, because these cyclists think they're doing their bit for the environment, they think they're entitled to road-hog, cycle on pedestrian footpaths and beat red lights. That's all fine if they don't annoy anyone else. It's even fine by me if they decide to go plunging to to their deaths into the side of a forty foot lorry. But, when these same cyclists complain that this car cut them, that pedestrian shouted at them or in my case, almost ran them over, it just gets that bit more too much.

It does. There I was going into a roundabout. I knew I was going to take the second exit i.e. to go straight. Like a good scooterist, right after the first exit, I indicated left. As soon as I made it into the second exit I heard someone shout behind me.

I looked back. There he was, Mr. Chubby Amateur Bike to Work cyclist. He was going to cut me on the left (at a roundabout?) and got angry that I didn't slow down or stop to make way for him. Seriously, WTF man?

He didn't fall or anything so, I went on my way. I felt a bit confused at first and then, a tad bit pissed off. Honestly, if it was just the one idiot, I'd be forgiving enough. The thing is, there's just too many of these idiots in spring/summer that it becomes as dangerous as riding a Vespa on  an ice-covered road in the middle of winter.

Yeah, it's great that the powers-that-be are encouraging people to cycle to work and all that but there's a big difference between cycling for fun in a park or around your neighbourhood and actually cycling on congested city centre streets. A big difference.

Maybe some sort of start would be to make appplicants for the Bike to Work Scheme sit some sort of mandatory rules of the road test. It won't get rid of the more hardcore idiots on the road but at least it'll reduce their numbers.

So, until this idea gets implemented, ride safely people and beware the chubby idiot on a bicycle coming behind you...

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