Unusual experience this week as I was cycling into work in Manchester, I was tailgated.
It’s not that unusual as a cyclist to notice that vehicles get a bit too close, but the periods of tailgating in ’stop-start’ traffic are fairly short as it is just a result of cars and other traffic vying for position in the rush hour jam.
But my experience of this was different as it was a bus, in a bus lane. The bus lane was clear with at least a 200 metre stretch of clear lane ahead. But rather than overtaking me as soon as the driver realised that realised he’d come a bit too close, he carried on for the next quarter of a mile with the front of his bus no less than about a foot away from my back wheel.
I’m no slouch on a bicycle if I do say so myself. I average somewhere between 15 – 20 miles per hour over the flat where I know the lanes are narrow and my presence is slowing the traffic, I’ll get up to about 25 miles per hour just stop the drivers behind getting irate about being stuck behind a cyclist.
But this bus driver did his level best to stay no more than a foot from the back of my bike regardless of the speed I was doing.
On the one hand you have to admire this guy’s commitment to his tailgating. As tailgating goes, it was some of the best but more worryingly it was some of the most dangerous I have ever encountered.
I am not entirely sure why he chose to do what he did or what, if anything, I had done to offend him, maybe he was just bored. But what I am sure of, is that had he hit me, it could have been fatal.
So to any driver reading this and guiltily remembering a time when they have tailgated an annoying cyclist, I would remind you that not only could this sort of behaviour lead to a costly civil claim, but it is now quite possible to serve a custodial sentence for causing death by driving without due care and attention.
I suspect however that this particular bus driver never gave that part of his journey a second thought.