I headed out to Richmond Park last night on my own but thought I’d add a few km’s round Regents on the way. I started off fairly gentle and then warmed up a bit on the second. I bumped into one of the guys from the Thursday morning Rapha rides and had a bit of a chat for the rest of the lap, two abreast. We then came round the bottom corner (clockwise) heading back towards the Royal College of Physicians when a grey VW Golf came past quickly and then pulled in to push us into the kerb. I little evasive action was required but no great shakes and nothing out of the ordinary.
What I wasn’t quite prepared for was the guy behind me on a bike, who we had passed earlier riding two abreast, come to the right of me. I was expecting him to give the usual “I hate it when that happens” and the usual exchange of rolled eyes and a smile. What I wasn’t prepared for was the verbal abuse this guy dished out.
Guy on bike: You’re pissed off with that car aren’t you?
Me: Yeah a bit. He came a bit close and could have waited really until it was safe to pass.
Guy on bike: Well it’s entirely your fault.
Me: I’m sorry?
Guy on bike: Yeah it’s your fault for riding two abreast.
Me: But it’s legal to ride two abreast when safe to do so.
Guy on bike: You’re not allowed to ride two abreast where there’s double yellow lines.
Guy on bike: I’m a traffic officer.
Me: Shouldn’t you know know the highway code then?
After this I had got pretty wound up and told him to do one. It’s pretty shit being cut up by a car but we all get used to it. Being berrated by someone else on a bike is just maddening though. Now I’ve put myself in stupid situations before, accidentally and also through adrenaline, or just being a bit stupid when I was younger. I wasn’t being stupid on this occasion, just riding along, chatting, minding my own business in what should be one of the safest places in London to cycle. It’s a park with a 20mph limit and wide roads. I don’t think drivers are always at fault but in this occasion the driver could have waited 5 seconds before carrying out a safe pass.
This whole incident shook me up no end. I’m pretty sure he wasn’t a traffic officer and I’m pretty sure there’s no such rule about riding two abreast on double yellows.
Riding round Richmond was far more pleasnt, if a little un-nerving in the pitch black with the deer!