The Short Story:
I think I found the ‘missing link’ today. Truly the most stupid taxi driver I have come across all week. He was sooo wrong (obviously), I was right, an argument ensued, I won (of course, yey me).
The Long Story:
My missus and I cycle the same route to work every week day and then we split off at a junction in Shoreditch to go our separate ways – see image from Google Maps below:
There are two lanes approaching the junction, the left hand lane is for those turning left (the Missus – direction in pink) or those going straight on (the taxi – direction in yellow) and the right lane is for those wanting to turn right (me in green). The other road on the right is one-way only for oncoming traffic. Oh, and just before the lights there’s a green box with a bicycle logo in it. That’s for bikes. Really, I didn’t think these points would need explaining but after this morning I have been proved worryingly wrong.
Anyway, the lovely M approaches the junction on the left side. I need to go right, and to do so I have to get in the right hand lane, which means at some point crossing from one lane to the other. I feel the need to stress that until they provide some kind of teleportation device for bicycles THIS IS UNAVOIDABLE – to get from the left lane to the right lane I HAVE TO CROSS THE MIDDLE.
At the time I started moving to the right there was NO traffic, except one lone black cab too far behind us to matter. I looked back again, signalled and made my move. I was now in the right hand lane approaching the lights (on red). Fine. Or so I thought. Apparently the cabbie took offence at us for some reason and when we were nearing the ASLs (green bike box), he drove into the narrow gap between us. We came to a halt at the lights with only a couple of inches between us and the cab. I looked at the Missus, signalled at the taxi and gave her the ‘shaking head’. She agreed. He didn’t. He drove into the bicycle box and spat: “Have you got a fucking problem?” From then on the conversation went as follows:
Me: Yeh, what are you doing?
Taxi: What’s your problem? You were all over the fucking road!
Me: Excuse me? All over the road? I don’t think so. Why are you in the box? You’re committing a traffic offence, you know.
Taxi: No, I’m not. You are.
Me: Of course you are, you need to read the highway code, mate. I’m the only one that’s got the right to be where I am. I’m meant to be here. You’re not. Simple as.
Taxi: No, you need to read the fucking highway code, you committed the offence!
Last time I checked, being in the middle of the road to turn right wasn’t breaking the law, in fact, the highway code agrees with me, which instructs cyclists to move to the middle before turning right:
If you are turning right, check the traffic to ensure it is safe, then signal and move to the centre of the road. Wait until there is a safe gap in the oncoming traffic and give a final look before completing the turn. It may be safer to wait on the left until there is a safe gap (from here)
They also agree that no-one else is allowed in our box:
Some signal-controlled junctions have advanced stop lines to allow cycles to be positioned ahead of other traffic. Motorists, including motorcyclists, MUST stop at the first white line reached if the lights are amber or red and should avoid blocking the way or encroaching on the marked area at other times, e.g. if the junction ahead is blocked. If your vehicle has proceeded over the first white line at the time that the signal goes red, you MUST stop at the second white line, even if your vehicle is in the marked area. Allow cyclists time and space to move off when the green signal shows. (from here)
Me: Oh really? I’ve done nothing wrong and I know that for a fact. But if can you tell me what law I just broke, what offence I just committed?
Taxi: Yeh! You – you’re the offence.
Me: You’re obviously an idiot. You’ve just broken the law, not me. Look it up. ‘Junctions’ and ‘ASLs’ – look it up and feel like a prick.
Taxi: Ring the police then!
Me: The police! What are they gonna do? Nothing, and you know it. You think I’m that petty to ring the police over this? You’re wrong and you’re an idiot.
Taxi: No, you’re the fucking idiot. Where are you going now then? I suppose you think you’re going straight on do you?
Me: Nope, wrong again. I’m turning right, which is why I’m in the right hand lane. Prick.
Taxi: [Lowering his voice slightly as he knows he’s wrong but still wont admit it] Well just make sure you do.
Me: [Laugh]. Totally lost it. What an idiot.
Taxi: No, you’re the fucking idiot!
At this point his circular argument and parroting is really starting to grate, so it’s just as well the lights turned green and we went our separate ways (not before he swerved at me before driving off like a lunatic).
Complete case of cabbie’s BMI being higher than his IQ. Love it when I’m right though.