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Tuesday, June 06, 2006

 

Cyclists bloody cyclists

I just don’t get it. I really don’t. They don’t pay road tax, they have no VRM (Licence plates), no insurance, no nothing. They slip below my (Often very cluttered) radar with ease, yet why do we get such crap off them? It’s not as if I can book them for anything. Anything motorised and licensed by the DVLA, yes. Bicycles – no.

You get all sorts; from the half witted “You’re not going to book me are you?” Prurient curiosity to the bellicose “Effing Traffic Wardens.” Abusive approach. We can’t do anything to them, so why do they bother?

Take for example this little incident which took place some time ago. Yours truly is standing in a corner of the Municipal Parks car park, having patrolled and found everyone to be legal, decent, honest and truthful re parking. I’m just making a couple of notes when a cyclist; male, early thirties and about my height, cuts so close to me that he damn near knocks my notebook and pen out of my hands. I ignore him (Apart from a brief glance of irritation) and finish what I’m doing before moving on to the next point on my beat.

To better understand the thought processes about what happened next, I’ll do the best I can to give you an idea of what was going through my head at the time.
What was his problem?
Right, out of here. Right yeah; traffic looks okay.
No queue’s. Double yellows clear.
Better pay Allenby Road a quick visit just in case.
Cut through on the footpath so I can cover the school run on those double yellows on Peterloo Street in an hour or so. Better keep them on their toes.
Sod it, too far out to get a tea break. I’ll log off for a short while on that bench at the top of Wilson Meadow on my way through.
All up to date and - bloody hell!
Same cyclist damn near runs me over on the footpath. I’ve been so lost in planning the next phase of my afternoon patrol that he almost knocks me down. He shouts something short and Anglo Saxon in my direction about comparisons to female front bottoms. Yeah, and you pal.
What’s his problem? This is a footpath, not a bloody cycle track.
I allow myself an internal joke “Cyclists and skateboarders should not annoy the enforcing officer, as an elbow in the throat often offends.” With a brief smile. Not that I ever would, the resultant paperwork would reach half way to Australia. No doubt a P45 would figure somewhere in the proceedings too. Hang on, he’s coming back. Sod it, no peace for the wicked.

This time I’m alert and side step as he comes chasing back at me. Cheeky sod! Well I can play this silly bloody game all day. He just wants to pick a fight and I’m not having any of it.

Cyclist slews to a squealing halt some fifty yards past me. I’m approaching one of those double half gates to stop cyclists pelting down the footpath and frightening old ladies. Okay, here he comes again. Emergency stop, turn around theatrically checking belt pouches. This’ll drive him crazy. Cyclist goes whizzing past as I side step through the half gate, casually up a couple of steps over the footbridge crossing a muddy ditch that passes for a stream. Make it look like he’s being ignored. Cyclist has stopped on the other side of the half gate. He knows he’s been rumbled and will have to make a special effort to come and get me. Is he willing to up the stakes? Not this time. Stop casually and take out hand held computer and take the briefest of sidelong glances. He’s still there glowering at me. Bloody hell, it just isn’t my day. Log on to the next street as if I’m not in a hurry.

Nice and easy down the path which connects to Allenby Road. Aha, a couple of customers on the double yellows, no disabled badges. Book ‘em Danno. I get busy.

“What are you doing!” Oh no, it’s the pedal pushing pillock. I look up briefly.
“My job sir.” I carry on and ignore him as best I can. The best way to really screw with this type of annoyance is to get literal.
“What, being a c**t?” Yes, very witty. Now push off, retard. I ignore the insult and carry on. He keeps on trying to get in my way, but I keep on positioning myself so he has to go right round the cars to get anywhere near me. I can’t be arsed to play his game. Mine is far more fun.
“You ain’t going to book them cars.” Hah, a challenge.
“I just have sir. Now if you’ll excuse me.” Slip slap slop. On the windscreens, snap, snap, grin, grin; that’ll teach ‘em. I move on. Oh no, the dickheads following me like a lost puppy. Hasn’t he got something better to do? Why is there never an annoyed motorist when you really need one? Right. School run here I come. Bit early, but that never hurts.

Four hundred yards later I plant myself on the corner opposite the Junior school and do my ‘Street presence’ routine. Bid a couple of parents I recognise the time of day. One lady comes up to me and fills me in on certain people who have been clogging up the street. She sees the bicycling bozo lurking at the end of the street and gives him a sharp look; that’s it. He sidles off rather than risk having a potential lynch mob of paranoid parents on his case for being a suspected paedophile. Apart from that, everything’s fine. No one takes the mickey and they all behave (More or less). The buses can get through and apart from an offensive hand gesture by one person (Male) in an ageing Ford Escort, most of the parents seem happy to see someone in a uniform paying attention (Or rather not booking them personally) while their little darlings run amok. This is also when you find out which Mums are wearing sports bras (See yesterdays blog entry).

Back at base, I recount the story to a couple of the other guys who have similar tales to tell. Word is that the cyclist in question is just one of those right royal pains with a bee in his bonnet about parking enforcers. Not that he’s ever had a car you understand. Just hates us because he’s got little else to occupy his time. A pain, but not enough of one to justify calling for help. We were still swapping cyclist stories fifteen minutes later when our shift clocked off. Oddly enough, I haven’t seen that particular cyclist since. Maybe he went off and got a life? Nah, that's too much to ask.

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Exasperated expatriate expostulations all the way from British Columbia, Canada. As if anyone really cared. Oh, I also watch Icelandic Volcanoes and seismic activity. Don't ask me why.

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