Monday, 28 September 2009

All cyclist are existentialists

Cyclists are existentialists because there are regularly key life choices to be made.

Here on the A112 this morning there is complete gridlock. The lights are at green but the traffic isn't moving the way I'm going (north).

I have five choices.

I can use this gloriously wide cycle lane to undertake the heavy goods vehicle. But then if it suddenly starts off and moves into the lane I may end up dead. Bad idea. Even if I succeed in getting past alive I may then collide with a pedestrian crossing the road from the other side, who won't have considered the possibility of an undertaking cyclist.

I can go round to the middle of the road and try and overtake it. There I risk being hit by a motorcyclist roaring up behind me in the middle of the road, who won't be expecting me to pop out. Or I may encounter an oncoming motor cyclist, bus or heavy goods vehicle. Splat.

Or I can cycle on the pavement and then re-join the cycle lane, confirming the impression of pedestrians that cyclists are louts and the biggest menace around.

Or I can dismount and push my bicycle past on the pavement and then rejoin the cycle lane.

Or I can sit on my saddle and wait with the rest of the traffic.

(Obviously I made the only sensible existentialist choice.)

Background notes

The clock in the background says 4.35 pm. It always says 4.35 pm. Like most things in Waltham Forest, it's not working.

I wonder what yellow thing is dangling from the back of the lorry? Some sort of reflective patch, it looks like. Could this be a sign of a poorly maintained vehicle?