Near Miss

What is it with cars and country lanes!

We have been having a spell of glorious weather lately and have made the best that we can of it by going out as often as time allows on our bikes. Yesterday was no exception and we did a bit over 20 miles on our tandem, ambling along enjoying the scenery and the sunshine, much of it down lanes that were new to us or which we have only used once or twice before.

When out on the bikes we do try to avoid the main roads as much as possible, only using them as linking sections to a variety of country lanes. These lanes are generally quiet, scenic and a safe place to ride, being relatively free of any traffic. Mostly these lanes are little more than wide enough for one car and you do occasionally meet vehicles coming towards you or maybe catching up behind. Often it is almost impossible for those behind to overtake and so they have to creep along patiently behind us until we find a gateway or wider stretch where we can pull over. Most such drivers are extremely considerate and we always make a point of thanking them. Similarly many of those coming towards us do wait where the road is slightly wider if possible when they see us, or they at least slow down so that we can safely pass in a controlled manner. Again we always thank them.

Sadly to say, however, not everyone is so considerate. There seems to be a percentage of drivers who consider that country lanes are their own personal speedways, after all no-one else uses them do they? They are quite and empty aren’t they? Let’s face it this is their own short cut through to avoid traffic on the main road so why should they have to drive slowly and carefully? We met one such yesterday, coming towards us in a 4×4 with nowhere for us to pull off. Did he slow down? Not a chance! He came hurtling towards us regardless, so we had to jerk to a sudden halt and ram ourselves into the narrow stretch of grass verge while he hurtled past a hairbreadth away from us, without so much as a glance in our direction. We were lucky not to have been knocked off.

This set me to thinking. Whilst out on the ride we also passed first two people riding horses,  then a group consisting of mum and dad with two small children being led on ponies and later another group of about six horse riders. I dread to think what might have happened had said 4×4 driver hurtled round a bend and encountered any of these! The lead horse of the larger group actually shied and nearly stumbled onto his knees at the sight of us. Had we been a hurtling 4×4 it could have been fatal, the car might even have ploughed into the following horses, which were actually filling the width of the road as they came towards us (though they did move over and single up as we passed).

I’m sure none of you would be so inconsiderate, but just in case…. think about it and please always take considerable care when driving down narrow, twisting country lanes, you never know what obstacle might be round the next bend, after all other people are just as likely to consider the lane to be a quiet traffic free zone and themselves not be paying full attention or expecting speeding vehicles.

Incidentally large tractors and other farm vehicles also totally fill the width of the road in narrow lanes, but I have never felt unsafe when encountering a tractor. They are working vehicles and their drivers seem to be well aware of the risks they pose, they do not travel at excessive speeds and are high enough up that they can see far enough ahead to react accordingly. Being large they can also be seen in plenty of time thus allowing bike riders, pedestrians or horse riders to wait at a convenient gateway or other passing spot.

Country lanes are not the place for driving at top speed. The only problem in country lanes are speeding car drivers!

Advertisements

Knee-Jerk

The horses jump, I jump.
I can’t help it —
knee-jerk reaction!

Neptune’s Horses

Neptune’s horses sweep across the bay,
whipped into carefree canter by strong winds,
with only mewling gulls for company
across the backdrop of a grey sky.

Site content copyright of Elizabeth Leaper (Libby).

Supporting the Printed Word

Read the Printed Word!