There’s an advert on local radio at the moment that goes something like this:

‘Do you ever look at your watch and not register the time?

Do you ever read a page in a book and not take anything in?

Do you ever stop at a junction and take a quick glance…?’

CRASH! SMASH! BANG!
(These are my words – on the radio all you here are the sounds of tyres skidding on tarmac and crashing metal).

‘Do you look but don’t see?’ continues the voice. ‘A quick glance is not enough. Every year fifteen hundred motorcyclists are killed and injured by motorists pulling out of junctions into the path of a motorcyclist.’

Palmer Tyres

Palmer Tyres

The same thing could be said for cyclists. Just the other day I was cycling into town and approaching the junction to the local school. A smoked-glass Landcruiser pulled up at the junction. The woman driver glanced left and then right, towards me. Yet despite being broad daylight and wearing fluorescent yellow bands around my ankles and a bright reflective top, I could see she hadn’t seen me. She looked beyond me even though I was within spitting distance of her tank door. I knew what she was going to do next and she did it. She pulled out directly in front of me, intending to turn right. I was so close I could bang on her driver’s door. Which I did – in no uncertain terms. She saw me then. And she looked very surprised. Almost shocked. As if I had just fallen out of the sky. But no, funnily enough, I had been here on the road, ten foot from her door, all the time. It’s just that like motorcyclists and other cyclists, I apparently have this knack at turning invisible at just the wrong time.

In a voice loud enough to be heard behind her sealed window, I said ‘Could you please try looking next time before you pull out!’

To give her credit, Mrs Landcruiser was very sorry, throwing up her hands in exaggerated apology and screwing up her face in mock repentance. Then we both went on our separate ways..