Sharing the roads with behemoths

This morning, at 7.10am on the way to work, I saw what was easily the most terrifying and dangerous piece of driving I have seen all year.

I was cycling up Amersham Road, about to turn left on to Lewisham way.

As I was turning, an HGV did two things:

1. Decided to overtake me and turn left simultaneously, forcing me on to his inside as he was making a left turn. (I have no idea if he’d seen me – fortunately I was just able to accelerate away.)

2. Stopped at traffic lights less than a minute later, the HGV was directly behind me and the driver edged it forward until the front of the cab hit the back of my bike. When I turned around and shouted to him, he gestured to indicate that I should get to the side of the road.

When visiting the website of the owner of the vehicle, Norbert Dentressangle, to make a complaint, I was struck by the folowing:

These vehicles may well an efficient form of international transport. But why on earth are they polluting our cities with their oppressive presence? TfL try to tell me that the problem is my fault:

But it isn’t. Where the driver chose to overtake me, there must have been a point where I was ahead of him and he either didn’t see me or opted to undertake the manoeuvre anyway. Where he rolled into me, he could clearly see me, as his response demonstrates.

The problem is cultural. Norbert Dentressangle drivers are basically unaccountable. They’re almost certainly both employed and residing outside of the UK.  The British police are not going to pursue them for intimidating or inconsiderate driving towards cyclists and they know it. They no doubt have tight deadlines and are desperate to avoid London’s rush hour as much as possible – so why on earth should they care about me?

People have commented that my use of pictures borders on the extraneous. Here’s another one for you in the form of a Venn Diagram:

I have reported this incident to the police and complained to Norbert Dentressangle. I’m not holding my breath.

2 Responses to “Sharing the roads with behemoths”

  1. Paul M Says:

    Sorry to hear of your experience. Norbert Dentressangle is in effect the Eddie Stobart of France. You see their artics everywhere over there.

    Funny thing is, having cycled a lot in France I have never encountered the aggressiveness, hostility or sheer inconsiderateness displayed by drivers in the UK. There would statistically be a good chance that the “camionneur” was a cyclist, although of course most cycling in France is road racing, not commuting.

    Sounds to me more like a british driver who picked up the trailer unit at the ferry port

  2. rabbi z Says:

    Not just bikes m8. About 18 months ago I was traveling up the m6 and a slovak artist w Irish trailer pulled out into me, punted me 200 yards up the road at 70mph, terrifying, its wheel-nuts scored circles in my near-side and ripped up my car. Fortunately I had the presence of mind to accelerate off his bumper and there was a witness.

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