OK, I think the title says where this is going, so let me get started. First off, this little picture. Edited to make my rant about today, easier to understand.
So let me explain. This morning I was travelling to work past Lewisham Hospital, in the same direction at this lovely cyclist as shown on Google Maps, in fact, in almost the EXACT same place when it all started.
Where shall we begin. Bottom left of the picture is a turn right lane which filters from the main flow of traffic heading towards Catford. As pointed out by the 4 red arrows, this is an AMBULANCE ONLY entrance. Usually boxy looking vans, yellow in colour, with lots of flashing lights on them, and generally have a sign saying AMBULANCE on them. Glad I got that bit covered!
So, this morning as I rode alone, just like the guy under the three red arrows, I saw a gold Honda Civic pull into the turn right lane. Happy that he had seen me, and was now stationary, I continued to pedal. As I entered the box junction, to my amazement he started pulling forwards. I hit the brakes and swerved hard left, just clearing the front of his car safely. As I passed, I heard him shout something. Now stationary myself from the emergency manoeuvre I decided to go and make enquiries.
Walking into the AMBULANCE ONLY entrance, I found him stopped diagonally across the area, ready to drop someone off. So I walked over and asked what he wanted to say, and ask him why he had just done what he did. To which he replied, "you jumped a red light".
So back to the picture for a moment.
Mid left, you can see traffic lights on green, with a blue arrow pointing at them. To their right, you can see another crossing, which for obvious reasons (being on the other side of the road) you CANNOT see the lights for. Divided by a zig zag island, these crossings are NOT connected sequence wise, they are independent crossings.
When the Civic driver informed me I had jumped a red light, it turns out he was using the crossing on the left as guidance to what the crossing on the right was doing, and decided it was his right of way to enter an ambulance only entrance.
Worrying enough as it is, but then add to it that he felt he was at liberty to run a cyclist over because in his opinion, they had jumped a red light. I wonder if the same attitude would have been taken with a fully loaded dump truck?
The moral of this story is simple.
DON'T assume! As either party, proceed with caution as you can never tell what the other party will do next.
Thankfully, since I started commuting by bike, I have really started to understand the plight of the careful cyclist more. Sod the light jumping, lane hopping, jackasses who make others look bad. But there are some serious dangers out there. Something I will cover soon in another entry.
But for now, I'm still here, the Civic drive is still as obnoxious and convinced as he was earlier, and hasn't learnt a thing from this morning, other than some cyclists are happy to have a polite word (didn't swear once!) when someone behaves like a dick and endangers them.
Link to the actual road so you can see the full layout via Google StreetView
Data from the moment he pulled across me... Nice speed to stop from. Thank heavens for SwissStop !