A while ago, I got fed up with the reliability of Lothian Buses and, after a particular nasty episode in which I and all other customers were thrown off a bus with no explanation and no refund, I decided it was time to find a new mode of transport. So in March, I took my CBT and got hold of my first bike. A Honda Lead Scooter. Now I can get to work in no time, cheaply and efficiently. Awesome. The only problem is, other drivers aren’t always very friendly to bikers on the road, that was until election time though. Now I have no problem!
In my first few weeks on the road, I found myself constantly receiving reports from car horns and other drivers wanting to out do my acceleration by racing past me in dangerous overtaking procedures. It was a little frightening. In a typical scenario, I would arrive at a red light and find a number of cars already queued ahead of me. Now in this situation, I will pass the stationary traffic and wait at the front of the queue. This is correct behavior for a biker, it lets you all see where I am and also, due to the fact that my bike (yes, even my little scooter) has a much faster acceleration than you, I will be far ahead of you when the light turns green meaning I’m well out of your way.
Some drivers don’t like this though. I’ve heard it before, car drivers hate bikers for “weaving in and out of traffic” as they call it. From what I can tell, it’s actually mainly based on some form of jealousy, that the biker is getting ahead of them. What reaffirms this belief to me is that the people who sound their horn and complain the most when I pass them at lights (as was taught to me by my instructor), are the ones with the flashiest cars. They don’t like having their fancy cars being out-done by a scooter. Now sure, I’m a learner and I do make the odd mistake but there’s a difference between hooting at me because I’ve made a stupid mistake and not looked over my shoulder to notice you coming, and hooting at me because how dare I overtake your stationary Audi. There’s also just the idiots who think it’s funny to try and give me a fright, people who will sound their horns for absolutely no apparent reason. In those situations, I’ll often turn to see the driver sniggering to himself in his car, thinking he’s performed the most hilarious practical joke. Never mind that I’m braced to perform an emergency stop if necessary and having to look behind me to make sure everybody and myself is safe.
So what changed at election time to make this go away? What did I do that would stop the horns? Stop the shouts and idiots trying to race me? Simple. I put SNP stickers on my bike! It was coming up to election time and I wanted to show my support for my party. On went the stickers of the most popular party in Scotland and suddenly, the amount of idiots on the road shrunk substantially. It seems that people give a look of “who’s this biker stealing my lead… oh he’s SNP, I’ll forgive him then.” It’s actually made my drive a lot safer.
Unfortunately, arseholes are not exclusively voting SNP, it’s just that that happens to be the most popular party in Scotland, whether you’re an arsehole or not. I wish I could pacify the rest of the electorate by having Labour, Tory, UKIP, Green and Lib Dem stickers alongside my own party’s, but somehow I think this would not work so well. But indeed, the conclusion for those biking in Scotland, if you want safer roads with less arseholes, plaster on the SNP stickers! It may work for all drivers, cars and pushbikes too. Trust me on this one 🙂