“I will squash you flat, I’m in a great big bus”

TIM DEADMAN (his real name), an Inside Croydon reader, has asked that we post this open letter to all road users

Every day I cycle from my home in Kenley to my office in East Croydon, there are a few points I would like to raise as standards of driving is so bad lately that I’m considering getting back in my car.

A few pointers for all road users:

1. My hi-viz tabard is not a target, it is to help you see and avoid me. Incidentally, “avoid” does not mean missing me by two or three inches, it means leaving at the very minimum one foot between me on my bike and you in your car, van, bus or lorry.

2. Size and power have no bearing on right-of-way. It’s a simple fact, yet one that escaped the driver of a 250 bus in South Croydon, who after having nearly run me over, shouted at me to mind out of his way. After I pointed out to him that he should have given way to me as I was on a straight bit of road and he was turning right on to my road, he said, “No, you have to watch out for me, or I will squash you flat, I’m in a great big bus.”

3. If there isn’t enough room to get past me, there isn’t enough room. Don’t think you can squeeze me out, if I’m overtaking a parked car and there isn’t room to pass us both, then you should sit behind and wait. At most it will cost you 10 seconds and you will easily make that time once I’m past and pulled in.

4. The lane with the picture of a bike in it is a cycle lane. It is not a “cycles can use it if I don’t need it” lane, nor is it a “someone’s turning right in front of me, I’ll just pull into this” lane. It is a cycle lane. It is there for cycles to use.

5. There is no point 5

6. Pedestrians, please please stop just walking out in front of me, if I hit you it will hurt us both and as you are probably not insured, any days off I take will have to be compensated by you.

7. That thing on the side of my helmet is a helmet cam, have a look at some of the footage I have taken and try to avoid being a star of my little gallery…

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7 Responses to “I will squash you flat, I’m in a great big bus”

  1. The view from your helmet cam quite clearly shows the white van indicating left. If you had any sense you would not have squeezed up in between. You had already made an obscene gesture when the van cut across the cycle lane earlier. Maybe if you showed a bit more road sense yourself you would be in a position to lecture others about it. (I am a cyclist and not a driver.)

    • mraemiller says:

      I saw that … also having complained about the cars leaving “the very minimum one foot” when he overtakes them on the right hand side he then attempts to overtake stationary vehicles on the inside in a gap clearly less than a foot. Now the cars should not be taking up the cycle lane but does that mean it’s a good idea to squeeze into that gap?

      Also is a cycle lane marked next to the white van by the traffic lights … does it actually extend into the bus stop area you need to traverse to get to it…? Anyway, while it might be your right of way to overtake on the inside in the cycle lane … is it really such a good idea all the time…? This is like doing one of those hazard perception tests again.

  2. cyclegaz says:

    1ft of space as a vehicle pass? You’re joking right…
    The DFT suggest that vehicles passing at 30mph should leave 2.5m from wheel to wheel – http://www.croydoncyclist.co.uk/passing-laws/

  3. blath8 says:

    I’m also a Croydon cyclist and would respond to Tim as follows –

    1. Yep, agreed.

    2. Hmm, yes again, though I do try to keep out of their way

    3. I note the application of heaps of commonsense here on your part – yay! How do you think we can make drivers grasp the simple laws of physics/space/capacity or whatever it is that means that only 1 of us can fit in that space around a parked car at one time?

    4. I’m afraid that I just have to say ha, ha, ha,ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha,ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha,ha, ha, ha. Good luck with that one.

    5. No need for point 5, nuf said.

    6. Here I would use the phrase “haven’t got the sense they were born with”. I continue to be amazed by those who sally forth across the road without looking, and the ones that look me in the eye as I hurtle towards them and step out anyway!

    7. I want one of those!!!! Well, suppose I should get a helmet first (no ticking off required)

    and additional material from me –

    8. What about when they swerve round you at the exit on the roundabout when there isn’t really enough room because they don’t want to slow down to let you past first?

    9. Potholes, sunken drains – I think they warrant a mention, even though not strictly driver-related. Drivers sometimes don’t understand (to be charitable) that us cyclists need to cycle AROUND these menacing obstacles or else we will end up in a heap on the road. They could perhaps be a little more understanding.

    Best of luck Tim

    Grace Onions (my real name)

  4. mraemiller says:

    I almost crashed a red light at a pedestrian crossing and knocked down a woman and three toddlers the other day. Fortunately I braked in time.

    Now, of course, I should have started to slow down a way back… but …the sun was in my eyes … there was parked traffic obscuring the lights and loads of other distractions on the road around me and it’s a straight bit of road with idiots walking out into it and everything from everywhere and stuff without looking.

    All excuses, yes. And yes I shouldn’t have nearly crashed the light but then she should still have checked it was safe before she stepped out into the road – not just relied on the green man who is, after all, little more than a light bulb.

    Most accidents are just down to lapses of concentration after all and if I hadn’t been relatively alert and driving relatively slowly and carefully I could well have splatted one of her kids. So… “No, you have to watch out for me, or I will squash you flat, I’m in a great big bus” sounds like good advice to me. After all it isn’t just the size of the thing he has to worry about … there are a lot more gear problems with a larger vehicles. If it’s easy for me to almost hit someone in a car…

    You had “right of way” may have been literally true… but the world is unfilled with many people who find that point difficult to get across from their slab in the mortuary.

    In short – Always assume that ALL other road users are retarded.

  5. barbsomers says:

    I think david cavanagh that you are missing the point. Mr deadman only went up to the van to explain that he had just missed him by a hairs whisper… It had nothing to do with him turning left at the lights!! And I don’t blame mr.eadman for being upset when the van “cut across the cycle lane” get with the person who is in the right here!!

  6. anncreighton says:

    Mr Deadman and his fellow cyclists have every right to comment on dangerous and bad practices by drivers. However, I find cyclists terrifying. Often they jump red lights; don’t stop at pedestrian crossings; don’t bother with lights; and those that ride on the pavement (unless riding very slowly) are a positive menace. Perhaps both cyclists and motorists could follow the highway code and show a bit of courtesy.

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