Worrying Behaviour

19 December 2012
I witnessed an incident which occurred on Saturday as the touring group was riding up Tully from Portglenone.I observed a dark blue car overtaking quite slowly and noted that the passenger was leaning out the near side window and filming the cyclists as the car drove past. I wondered what his reason was for doing this. It quickly became evident, as the driver revved the car engine to its maximum to totally engulf us cyclists in a cloud of thick black diesel fumes.This isn’t the first time that this has happened but it is the first time that I have noticed the actions being filmed.I later "Googled” the practice to find there are numerous websites on YouTube devoted to home movies depicting this "amusing” practice. One is aptly named "Coal cam”  I spoke to a senior PSNI traffic officer about what had happened and he said the actions of the driver could "in certain circumstances” be deemed to be an assault.He advised that any cyclists who have been subject to this type of behaviour show no retaliation, either vocally or by gesture, but simply note the car registration number, time of day and location of the incident and then report it to the local PSNI station. This advise should be followed for all types of "road rage” type incidents envolving motorised vehicles and cyclists. Remember you will never win an argument with an irate driver. Most road cyclists worry about getting hit by motor vehicles. They imagine themselves sustaining any of the various types of injuries known to be produced by the trauma of colliding with a vehicle weighing several tons. To that end, cyclists learn how to ride defensively and how to position themselves to minimise their risk of getting hit by the cars around them.This type of danger is foremost in cyclists’ minds because it is visible, as it represents immediate pain and, occasionally, imminent death.Certain vehicles tower over cyclists and inspire fear by their sheer magnitude. Included in this class are large trucks and buses. Few cyclists survive crashes with these vehicles. For that reason, experienced cyclists do their best to steer clear of them.Cyclists rarely talk about the hidden dangers posed by vehicles. For instance, one of the most harmful substances humans can encounter on the roads are the toxins produced by diesel fuel — spewed into the air by buses, trucks and heavy machinery used in farming and construction.Even though diesel fuel has been "cleaned up” somewhat in recent years, by reducing sulfur content,” it still produces microscopic particles which are known to be toxic and carcinogenic. Diesel fumes can cause cancer. "With this in mind we don’t need some prankster putting us in harm’s way just for a cheap thrill, go get a life.”