The James Bond mentality in too many drivers

©Barry Sandland/TIMB - Man sitting on a park bench next too his Granville bicycle

©Barry Sandland/TIMB – As cars reach maximum capacity, the risks on the road are increasing.

“For the police, save the police on bicycles, cyclists are a distraction. They do not notice us. And people change when they are in their cars. When you meet them walking, they are the nicest people. Then they get in their cars and they become monsters. I do not watch the cars. I watch the drivers. If they are attentive. If they are distracted. The right hand priority right now is a little like James Bond. It is a license to kill. They have the right of way and they arrive so fast.”

Photographer’s notes: We agree on this aspect. Well, we agreed on much of our chat. In Belgium,, unless the road is otherwise marked, vehicles coming from the right have priority.  The problem its, that liberty means too many drivers come into the corner at exceptional speed. On a bike, with less speed in the first place, it is almost impossible to clear the intersection. Cars race straight at you and it is a moment of fear.

As for priority when you are on a bike, oh please. These are cars. Huge pieces of steel. They have dominance, if not priority. Cyclists might have the right of way, but the repercussions to flesh and bone are considerable. I always consider intersections where i am coming to a main road to be obligatory stops. Orit at least a severe reduction in speed.

I have seen the intimidation first hand on numerous occasions. I have seen the police stand nearby and just let it go. I complained once and the officer asked if I had been hit. Since that was a no, he considered it all unnecessary. There has never been an instance, yet, where I have seen a police officer stop a driver for their aggressive conduct towards a cyclist… But I have been stopped four times now for (legally) turning right on a red light.

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