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My cycle to work this morning.

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flip-flop | 10:01 Wed 10th Jan 2007 | Motoring
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When I cycle to work in this miserable weather I have flashing red lights on the back of my bike and on my rucksack, I also have my front light on and a light on my helmet miner style together with a hi-vis jacket - basically I'm lit up like a christmas tree and, if truth be told, look a prat, but at least I think it makes me visible.

Anyway, on the way in this morning I was approaching a mini-roundabout and making all the right hand gestures when a car didn't see me until the last minute and slightly clipped my rear wheel making me come off.

It was my right of way and I was on the roundabout long before he was.

After I'd got up and checked that the bike was OK I looked at him and pointed to my eyes in a gesture that he should look in future - I was going to leave it at that.

With that, he started mouthing w4nk3r at me and doing the hand signals.

I saw red I'm afraid - I picked up dobbin sideways and gouged a dirty great big scratch across his bonnet with a pedal, he started to get out so I went to meet him and told him that if he really wanted to get out and have a go I was now in the mood to rip his ******* head off - he got back in his car and went on his way.

I may have been a little OTT but this was the straw that broke the camels back - I am fed up of car drivers having no awareness of cyclists, or for that matter motorcyclists (I also ride a motorbike).

I am not a militant cyclist - I just want car drivers to open their eyes occassionally.

So, my Q is - was my action justified? I am not a violent person by nature other than the odd handbags when palying rugby.

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First of all let me say that I am a cyclist and a motorist.

What you did was very extreme and whilst his actions were very foolish and dangerous, you should have not reacted in the way that you did. You would have been better off getting his details in case you suffer any injuries as a result.

You commited criminal damage to his vehicle and were aggresive, which is not always the best way to deal with things. These things often escalate into a brael in the street. If the police had seen your actions you would have probably been arrested. You would have been able to claim on his insurance, but he would also been able to claim from you for the damage you did and that would come out of your own pocket.

I agree that a lot of drivers don't use their eyes and look for cyclists. Equally I see a lot of cyclists with no lights and others who don't look over their shoulder before pulling across the road to turn right. I always give cyclists plenty of room and I respect their right to use the road. However, there are a lot of them who have no road sense at all.

Did you have a constant red rear light? It is a legal requirement and whilst I can see the sense behind flashing lights, you need to cover yourself and have a constant rear light.

Question Author
I should add I'm not proud of my actions - it was very out of character.

I dont ride a cycle but i really do understand where you are coming from. I see it daily where motorists have little or no reguard for cyclists who have as much right to be on the road as antone else. The only bad thing i can say is cyclists with no helmet or lights on the road. Whist your actions were harsh the person who was to blame did start with the abuse and if i am honest i would have done the same if not worse than you did
I think you know the answer to that as well as we do.

Especially as you said you were going to let it go until it descended into a war of hand gestures.

Sounds like criminal damage with mitigating factors of impusive action and provocation. - recommendation level C fine (a week and a half's pay)

Just as well there wasn't a police car there eh?

Welcome to the criminal classes
If you had kept your temptation in check, you could have made a complaint against the car driver of careless driving. It's not really an option when you have just caused hundreds of pounds of criminal damage to his property. On investigation, your complaint might have been upheld, and if so might have been mitigated by evidence, including how visible you really were. Were there steady lights fixed to the front and rear of the cycle? What had been done (although not a legal requirement) to make the cycle visible from the side? Was there too much reliance on lights on the rucksack and helmet, which would have been swinging from side to side, and not necessarily visible to the car driver? At what point did it become obvious that a collision was likely and what avoiding action did you take? Of course if it had not been for the 'eyesight' gesture, the car driver might have been intending to apologise.
No i dont think you were justified in damaging his car although I appreciate how frightening and enraging his driving and behaviour was.

Did you get his numberplate? Someone I know was verbally abused by another driver and she reported him to the police and they went to his house and had a word with him.

Although it would be too late in this instance, you could try it next time and it would at least make the driver realise that he cannot persist in behaving like this
Good for you flip flop,

I don't ride a push bike but I do ride a motorbike, most drivers willl never admit anything was there fault, perhaps his experience will make him think and take more care in the future.
It works both ways. Yesterday I was driving along a main road, No one coming towards me and no one behind me. To my left there was a road with 4 cars waiting to come out, headed by a cyclist. He looked right, at me, looked left and pulled out about 15 feet in front of me. I had to swerve up the inside, towards the kerb, to avoid knocking him off. Silly sod was completely oblivious.
Don't worry, if he makes a claim your insurance will sort it out. Oh sorry, forgot that cyclists are not insured.
Question Author
Wrong - houshold Public Liability Insurance would cover incidents involving cyclists.
Don't worry about being lit up like a Christmas tree. I get fed up with cyclists that I see with no lights on at all. When I say "not on", I mean there are no lights present on the bike or on the cyclist!

Then if I was to mow one down one night, I would get absolutely slammed, no doubt.

A few months ago I was driving at night and there was such a cyclist not using any lights. I shouted out of the window that I couldn't see him and he told me to eff off! Little bar steward.
Apologies flip-flop I answered without thinking too much but I still think that cyclists should beware.

What you did was deliberate (if understandable) and I am not sure what view an insurance company would make of it.

A cautionary tale here:-

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/moneybox /4363771.stm

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