A Note To Those Who Use Their Car As A Weapon
All of us experience frustration as an emotion. It is said the greater the obstruction, that greater the frustration. Therefore, by the nature of roads, they will be littered with obstruction, traffic lights, pedestrian crossings, traffic congestion, speed limits, elderly and learner drivers and of course cyclists. Obstruction frustrates me too. Some days I have the ability to handle it better than others. Thankfully I, like 99.999% of the population, understand that simply feeling frustrated does not give me permission to act in any manner I see fit to express my displeasure at feeling…. Frustrated. For the remaining 0.001% this is for you, I hope some of you get to read it.
I would hate to think over the years how many drivers I have frustrated, thank you to each of you for showing me care and patience. I know your pain, I get frustrated driving too, it could be stuck behind a caravan on a narrow road, or a horse float taking care of precious cargo by driving with care. I, like the millions of people whom I have frustrated, simply get over it, the sooner you move on the sooner you are not frustrated. Unfortunately, not all of us have this basic ability, there are some who appear to have an aggressive response to the emotion, you know who you are. This is not about the odd finger in the air, or a gesture to show frustration, I don’t like getting them, but I take them with the territory. This is not about genuine mishaps and poor judgements. No, this is about you rage heads that make the roads dangerous for all users.
I would like to think that you are a great driver, that your judgement on how close you can skim me is based on years of professional stunt driving, but we all know it’s not. I would like to think your frustration fuelled rage heightens your reactions and skills, on the strong chance I or my fellow cyclists move on the road or take fright, but I know they are not. I would like to think it was a genuine mistake, but I know by how you immediately check your mirror for a reaction, it is not. I do know you are a coward, brave in your ball of steel momentum and because when you do get it wrong, with drastic consequences, many of you run from the scene.
In our society, taking physical action with any form of weapon is not acceptable. Your inability to handle emotions that can lead to rage does not grant you permission to find the closest weapon at hand and take aim. You are using your car as a weapon, because the day you get it wrong my life will change for ever, and sorry, we all know it wasn’t an accident.
I would like to know what you tell your partner and kids who are often sat next to you in the car? How do you explain your behaviour, is it the example you want to set for the next generation? Or if alone, when you get home do you mention it, are you honest? or does the story need some embellishment to justify your actions. Do you see me as a person? Or to you is it a faceless crime, are we not sons, daughters, mothers, and fathers?
When I get home and my wife asks how was my ride, I would say “great, until some ar#sehole tried to kill me” Yes to me it is a crime, not a traffic offence, it’s time it is treated as one.
To the 99.999%, thanks for sharing the road with me, I appreciate it. I am committed to being part of any solution that keeps all road users safe. To the 0.001%, you have the problem, the risk you take with our lives has nothing to do with cyclists on the road, but everything to do with your inability to control your emotions. You should suffer the same consequences regardless of your choice of weapon.