Outta my draft

28 October 2005 at 16:02 (General)

On the way home tonight I overtook a bus (see point 1 on map below) that was pulled over on Grand Junction Rd. I continued up the hill and turned left onto Tolley road. A few hundred metres along Tolley (see point 2) I could feel the bus looming along behind me. I wasn’t pulling any extraordinary speeds, he could have over taken me easily but he just sat there.

My route is in purple, starting at the bottom

I was wondering what was going on. Kent and I have debated about the worse things cars can do and I agree now that tail gating a cyclist is most off putting, the only thing that I like less is when they don’t indicate.

So I have this bus hanging off my back wheel. I take a peep over my shoulder and see that he has his indicator on to pull over. Okay, maybe he has to pull up at the next stop I’m thinking, so I hang off for a bit, probably rolling at about 30kmh-1 now, ample if he wants to pass me. I didn’t mind if he was going to cut me off, I didn’t have the energy to fight him.

But still he sits there. We pass a stop yet he’s still sitting in my draft (lol). So I step on it a little, I have to make a right hand turn anyway. I throw an arm out and cruise up probably into the 40’s (my speedo sensor is on my other set of wheels).

As I turn into Toovis avenue (see point 3) I hear someone yelling what sounds like obscenities at me. I don’t know, it’s hard to understand anything in that situation. I look back again and sure enough I see the driver pulling his head back into his window. I ride for another 50m and decide I want to know what the hell all of that was about.

I spin around and cut through the traffic back onto Tolley. The bus is out of sight but I know he turns down Smart road and it isn’t far to the interchange, there’s no way he could get away from me. Now I really step on it, through the roundabout, and I can see he’s pulled over at the curb again (see point 4)

I go around the front of the bus and the driver, who is all smiles, opens the doors. “What (pant) was that about?”
“I was just saying you were breaking 40 mate! You’re doing well” he chuckles to me in his thick Italian accent.
“ahhh, cheers mate, have a good evening”

Extremely strange outcome. I guess, after a few years of chasing down busses and sitting in their draft karma will occasionally have them play games with me as well.



  1. nimeton said,

    very cool outcome from the bus driver…. pity you didn’t erase that sensis logo when you were editing the map. sigh – they own both ubd and gregories now :(

    as for tailgating cyclists… i guess it would be pretty unnerving having something sitting behind you and you not having a great idea what they are actually doing. still i’ve found myself on many occasion sitting behind cyclists simply because it isn’t safe to overtake them.

  2. Kent said,

    The thing is, Nimeton, from the outside, it’s blindingly obvious to cyclists that the vast majority of drivers have absolutely no idea where the edge of their car is.

    So often cyclists get a car stuck behind them when there is plenty of room for the car to pass even without leaving the lane. The cyclist therefore knows that this driver doesn’t know where the edge of their car is – and isn’t confident enough to pass. The cyclist gets understandably nervous: what’s going to happen if – or when – the driver gets frustrated and DOES decide to pass?

    The only solution is to get more drivers onto bikes, so they realise just how much room there really is on most roads.

  3. nimeton said,

    Of course they don’t know where the edge of their fucking car is! Would you rather over cautious drivers that sit behind you or ones that underestimate the amount of room there is and side swipe you as they pass? I think I’d rather sit behind you until I know it is safe to overtake rather than take a gamble on secondhand information that i have no god damn way of actually verifying.

  4. Kent said,

    I’d rather neither, I’d rather confident drivers who are therefore safe. But if dangerous and inexperienced people have to be on the road, I suppose it’s better for them to stay behind.

    It’s a fine line to tread, though: to drive safely you can’t always drive timidly.

  5. Kent said,

    Bah. I’m so going to get done for saying something like that.

  6. matty said,

    I have no problem with people sitting behind me, as long as I don’t feel intimidated (i need my personal space). Some people try to get as close as possible in order to scare the other cyclist/corolla out of the way. This just doesn’t work on me but it is dangerous and uncomfortable.

    The other thing I didn’t like about the bus was that he was acting unpredictably. His indicator was on but he wouldn’t pass me and then when I tried to get some room he stuck with me.

    Oh, and I left the sensis logo there just for you Nimeton. Yes, the amount of self-promotion on whereis.com is a little sickening. Though, they still don’t own my fullers (which is superior anyway).

  7. Deirdre said,

    I think it’s funny you chased down the bus and the driver only had good things to say to you.
    As for passing cyclists… I don’t even know what the road rules are. Are motorists supposed to treat you as they do other cars? Are you entitled to have the use of the whole lane, in other words?

    I’d be one of those drivers you hate. There’s no way I’d pass you within the same lane, and not because I don’t know where the edge of the car is. I’d be worried you were going to wobble or swerve or get sucked over towards the car by the wind or hit the rough edge of the road and fall. And just as you’re worried by motorists who don’t indicate, I’d be equally worried about your possibly-unsignalled intentions. In other words, I’d be sitting behind you until there was room to pull out into the right-hand lane and overtake you with heaps of room to spare. Annoying, maybe, but not timid, cautious.

  8. Deirdre said,

    And I’ve just thought of something: the bus driver probably had his indicator on to prevent motorists overtaking the bus and finding (too late) they couldn’t pull back into the lane in front of the bus, because you were there.

    Nice bus driver :)

  9. matty said,

    I have a feeling the bus driver may have had both indicators on, I don’t know, he was kind of whacko. Anyway, if I’m behind a bus that is indicating to pull over, I’m encouraged to pull out and overtake the bus. This would have been particularly bad, especially when I was pulling out to make my right hand turn.

    I didn’t know what the bus driver was saying… I was confused and at least wanted the right of reply. It was a good thing I remained open minded.

    Cyclists have to keep as far to the left as is safe and reasonable. I’m not sure how this applies when there is glass, rocks, parked cars and busses lining the ‘bike lane’. Or when passing an odd car or two which are moving slowly on roads with multi lanes, I normally try to do that on the right.

    I really hate that stupid perception that some motorists have that they must fear cyclists, that we are going to act in stupid ways or just suddenly lose control and fly under your wheels. But then I watch some of the idiots on bikes and I think it probably isn’t bad to keep your distance. I don’t know what the best tactic is when following a bike, but sitting on their wheel for a few hundred metres and then screaming encouragement probably isn’t it.

  10. Deirdre said,

    “Stupid perception”?? Get real. You people are scary.


  11. matty said,

    One morning I was shaved twice on the way to work. When I arrive this chick starts trying to tell me how scared she is when she sees a cyclist on the road. HELLO! we aren’t scary, car bonnets and bull bars are scary :P

  12. D said,

    Oh, really? Is the cyclist or the motorist who feels the need to be encased in metal, then?

    Get away, you… you… cyclist!!

  13. Kent said,

    Motorists seem to think cycling is more dangerous than cyclists do.

  14. Kent said,

    And the road rules are pretty explicit. Cyclists aren’t entitled to the use of a lane, they’re supposed to keep as far to the left as is practicable as Matty says. Quite often, especially in the country, the single lane is easily wide enough to accomodate the cyclist and the car in the same lane.

    For some reason a lot of motorists think that cyclists are likely to swerve dramatically all the time. You don’t get nervous when cars pass you coming in the other direction, why should you be so panicky about a cyclist going the same direction?

    It’s perfectly legal to simply overtake a cyclist in the same lane. Sure some cyclists are hopeless and swerve stupidly and get offended when you do that, but frankly they’re not likely to be cycling anywhere but in the city, where there are often multi-lane roads and this isn’t as much of an issue.

  15. D said,

    Yes, agreed, most cyclists aren’t wildly swerving all over the roads, and it’s probably safe to pass them with less room than I usually think necessary.

    And I thought I was joking about being scared, btw, but now I realise it’s actually true. The cyclist is right there in the open, a human body, limbs moving, not swallowed up and hidden by a vehicle the way the rest of us are. It’s just more obvious that you’re passing a person. I know that’ll seem ridiculous, but passing a car, I’m thinking about the car, not the people in it. With a cyclist, you can’t ignore the fact you’re passing a living, breathing body, who could get very hurt very quickly if you do anything wrong on the way past.

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