A rather strange scene happened this morning as I walked in. On busy High Street Kensington, a SUV (these things seem to always involve SUV) started to turn right to take a small side road. A cyclist riding at decent speed came in the opposite direction. Apparently not a good enough reason for the car driver to wait, who carried on crossing the opposite lane. As the bike didn't appear to be willing to slow down and give away his right, the SUV eventually stopped, completely engaged in the opposite lane. But with enough space for a bike to pass in front of it.
The cyclist started to pull slightly to his left to go around the front of the car. But oddly straightened up at the last second and went straight into the SUV's front wheel, from its side. I was a bit confused by what had just occurred. The cyclist could have gone around the front of the car. Maybe he thought the car wasn't stopping and tried to pass it from the back? The cyclist shouted at the driver, who was probably happy to be secure in her big SUV, a window away from all troubles: cyclists crashing, people shouting, ... The cyclist eventually cleared the road and went a bit further to check his bike. Everything looked fine, and when I asked him whether he was alright he answered positively with a big smile! He had clearly headed straight into the car to show the driver that she was wrong.

A couple of years ago, as I was working in Grenoble over the summer, I used to cycle to work every day. I had a mountain bike, which means high position, good breaks and decent stability. That allows you to ride fast, as you can take quick decisions. The trouble being that car drivers don't realise you ride as fast as them if not faster. Or they just don't care. Many times I got my priority denied. Several times I shouted at the drivers, but this hasn't obviously the slightest effect. My frustration grew higher and higher every day. At the end, I thought that the next time I was denied the priority in a roundabout I would ignore the car and just go straight into its side and break its mirror. This never happened, but today I noticed I wasn't the only one which such thoughts.

At the end of the day, many drivers don't care about cyclists or at least don't realise how fast bikes can be. There is no easy way to change that, shouting and lecturing is useless. When people simply don't care, a bit of physical contact (even if it's only between two vehicles) helps them remembering there are other human beings out there. That's why bumping into the car seems a decent solution, if not actually the only option. Eventually careless drivers will realise. If not because they feel guilty, at least because they'll have to pay for their mirror and/or scratches. Which will be much more expensive than the average commuter bike (*). The essence of an individual revolution...

Ultra radical cycling style

* And as they were legally guilty, their compulsory third-party insurance must pay for the damage on your bike.