Cycling home after a brief trip to a supermarket in Mile End the other day and riding at a very leisurely speed I had been quite enjoying the sunshine. On reaching a set of lights an immense lorry cab from an articulated truck pulled up behind me. On the lights’ change I made certain to get a good head start, ensuring the lorry driver could see s/he would be driving behind me further up the road as it was unlikely the driver had seen me from his cab sitting at the lights.
Another 200 yards up the 30mph road on which I was cycling, there are constantly cars parked either side. This road sees a lot of traffic on a daily basis and is on the route of around 5 buses but it is still single-lane, still in a residential area. The lorry decided to pull past me, just as the slight incline for the canal bridge started. Now, this driver pulled past barely crossing into the other lane. It also passed with oncoming traffic.
Way, way to close to me I was uncomfortable and the proximity pushed me slightly off-balance but I knew it was a large cab and stayed straight the best I could. But, he pulled so close I had to come to a screeching halt lest I collided, face-first, with the wing mirror of a parked van that I reached. The lorry continued to pass (too fast, as well) and it turned out it was also towing a double-decker. I had to pull my bike, body and feet right into the body of the van and wait for the lorry to get by.
I was absolutely infuriated and not just a little shaken up. I’m daily passed with too little breathing space but this driver had taken it too the extreme. I tried to follow the truck to give the driver a piece of my mind but, breaking the speed limit as he already was, I wasn’t able to catch him before s/he jumped the next set of lights.
I know s/he couldn’t see me as he passed me but that means s/he shouldn’t have passed. S/he was turning at the next junction and should have waited. A rushed, poor decision like that costs the lives of cyclists too frequently.
Watch out, out there. Don’t pass HGVs on the inside, demand the centre of the road when they’re behind you to lessen the chance of a nasty inside collision with a stationary object and remember that if you can’t see their mirrors, then can’t see you!