A video of what a cyclist described as a “bizarre sequence events” including a driver calling 999 to complain that he hadn’t pulled over to let her past on a narrow rural road has gone viral on YouTube, racking up nearly 50,000 views on the video-sharing site.
The incident happened last month in northwest Kent. Stuart, who filmed the footage, told us: “I was cycling along Rye Lane between Otford and Dunton Green near Sevenoaks; it’s a very narrow winding road.
“I was aware of a car behind me for a couple of minutes, but there was nowhere to move over without stopping altogether, and a car can’t go much faster than a bike there anyway.
“Also, if I’d let it pass and another car had come the other way, they’d both have had to stop, and so would I. I knew the road was widening out shortly so I kept going.
“When the road widened the driver pulled alongside me and accused me of ‘ignorance’, apparently for not jumping into a hedge to let her pass immediately.”
It seemed to Stuart that the exchange had ended, with the motorist heading off up the road, but he said that “as I came round the next bend she had stopped her car (in the road, impeding traffic, ironically) and was filming me.
“An increasingly bizarre sequence of events included her calling 999 to complain that she thought I’d been a bit rude, and flagging down another driver to have a mutual rant about uppity cyclists, all while ignoring the distressed cries of her children.
“Eventually, when it became clear that the police didn’t fancy coming out to intervene on matters of courtesy, she went on her way.”
“This is all quite funny, but cyclists shouldn’t have to endure this sort of thing, and she also made some nasty insinuations about my having scared her children, or that the situation was that a man was threatening a woman (this the week after Sarah Everard’s tragic death),” he added.
“In fact she’d started all this, and I’d deliberately restrained my language and kept my distance to avoid distressing the kids. It’s all the more galling because there’s a main road going exactly the same way, which I avoid because of speeding drivers; now I’m being hassled on the alternative route too.”
One commenter to the YouTube video said, “The very worst part of all of this is that she will not ever realise she was wrong, and will rant to her friends about this ‘idiot rude cyclist’ who so upset her children with their actions - thereby entrenching more negative views of cyclists in general. Over something that was entirely her fault.”
Others suggested she should be reported for using her mobile phone while driving, while another said, “I pity her kids.”
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.