The Day I Almost Killed a Cyclist

Breigh May 1, 2011 31

Rant incoming!

It’s about people, and how they suck… and the rules of the road in the Netherlands that I just don’t understand!

Today my husband and I were driving to the supermarket, and he nearly hit a biker with the car.  We both instantly thought that the guy was in the wrong, and apparently he thought the same about us.

Here’s the scene:

biker

We were driving along the street when we came along one of these weird dremples (speed bumps) with the pole next to it.  The reddish lane is a bicycle lane, but this old-ish lady in a schooter was sat in that lane chatting with her two friends (the two on the right in the blue).

The biker WAS in the bicycle lane, but because the woman was blocking the way, he swerved out to go around the pole on the OTHER side, then I don’t know if he realized he knew them or what, but he stopped – DEAD, like, on a dime.

Xander, assuming he was continuing on was driving along like normal behind him and had to slam on the break, just stopping in time before hitting him, and the guy was REALLY angry.  He came to the window giving Xander crap about how he is supposed to stop AT ALL TIMES if someone is at a crosswalk, on and on and on.  The old bitch in the scooter kept giving her two cents as well, the entire time she was yelling and getting in the middle of it all.  The biker was at my window, so I had him and Xander yelling at each other on either side of me, far too fast for me to follow properly or get my own two cents in, so all I could do was yell at her to STFU and let them sort it out.

Here’s the problem.  He was NOT stopping to cross the crosswalk, he was on a bike and the crosswalk leads to the tram on the left.  He stopped dead because he recognized the people and started talking to them… so he wasn’t in the cross walk because he was going to use it, he stopped in a cross walk to talk to the people who were next to it.  He was also still ON his bike, and if I’m not mistaken that’s not supposed to be the case either.  If he is crossing a crosswalk as a pedestrian he should be getting OFF his bike and walking it across.. OR continue on and cross at the intersection.

Everyone around him (ie… his FRIENDS) were telling him oh yes you were right you were right, but I don’t see how this is right at all!

First of all, he should have stayed in the bike lane where he belonged.  By coming out onto where we were he was essentially switching lanes and you don’t switch lanes and then stop DEAD in front of the cars behind you.   This all goes back to the old bitch sitting in the middle of the bicycle path and not moving.  It’s her fault really…

Anyway, he was convinced that it was Xander’s fault basically because “I am on a bike and I am at a crosswalk therefor whatever happens it is your fault!”, surely that can’t be right.  I mean I know the law falls largely on the side of the cyclist but it can’t be that cut and dry, can it!?  Wouldn’t the fact that he not only swerved out in front of traffic, leaving the designated bicycle lane and was ON his bike stopping in a crosswalk he wasn’t even going to USE, rather just to chat to people on the sidewalk matter?!!

UGH sometimes I hate people.  As we drove away I fantasized about all the things I would have loved to do, like pushing him off his bike and then beating mouthy scooter bitch with it, throwing him in front of a tram, you know… the usual in need of anger management type of stuff you feel after those kinds of situations.  I swear, if I had been more confident with the language and a little less shocked about the whole thing, he would have wished Xander just ran him over and killed him to spare him the pain of my wrath.

So, what is your opinion?  Was Xander totally at fault here simply because he was the one in the car, or does the cyclist also have some ownership in the situation?  I’m really curious what would have been decided by the police if Xander actually HAD hit the guy… the fact that Xander could have been found to be completely at fault BAFFLES me. BAFFLES!!

31 Comments »

  1. Monica Van Maanen May 1, 2011 at 3:29 pm - Reply

    Sounds pretty obvious to me. I think you’re right. But then I’m Canadian, not Dutch…

    • Breigh May 5, 2011 at 8:49 am - Reply

      Yeah I wasn’t sure if it was just my Canadianness that was making me feel differently about it.

  2. Renee May 1, 2011 at 3:45 pm - Reply

    I am a bicyclist, but I’m one of those idiots you see alone, waiting for a light to change to green, or staying on the right when I’m cycling so as not to hog the whole path or, you know, the ones who actually signal where they are going?

    the law says the bicyclist is not at fault. people’s common sense should tell them otherwise. cyclists who act like they can do whatever the fuck they want deserve to get into accidents (and I know that sounds horrible but I’m seriously so sick of a-holes on bike paths). I can’t tell you how many times a day I shake my head in disbelief at the way cyclists behave in traffic. I’ll stay the one who “looks like” an idiot, thank you very much.

    oh and sorry can I say fuck here? LOL

    • Breigh May 5, 2011 at 8:49 am - Reply

      You can totally say fuck here :P

  3. amy May 1, 2011 at 3:54 pm - Reply

    It’s a tricky question. I bet the decision would be “yes, the cyclist did something incredibly stupid, but he was in a protected area and therefore the driver is at fault”. I think it makes sense that laws favour cyclists, because the driver always has the much bigger and more dangerous vehicle, but I wonder if it makes cyclists a bit cocky.

    • Breigh May 5, 2011 at 8:50 am - Reply

      I think it does make cyclists cocky and that’s so dangerous. It’s like a get out of jail free card for them!

  4. Elf May 1, 2011 at 4:16 pm - Reply

    Tammy, I’m sorry to have to say that you are in the wrong here, and I figure you guys misunderstood what the cyclist was about.
    As far as I can make out from your diagram, there are people at the kerb on the zebrapad ( where the foot passenger crossing is), drawn as the blue stick people to the left of the zebrapad, who were trying to cross the road.
    To me, that’s clearly what the cyclist stopped for and that is what he was trying to tell you and your husband you should have done as well. If you hadn’t stopped you would have hit those people and the cyclist.

    • Breigh May 5, 2011 at 8:50 am - Reply

      Already answered this on FB but for those just reading here. They weren’t crossing they just came over from the tram stop to see what was going on.

  5. MissNeriss May 1, 2011 at 4:42 pm - Reply

    This makes me so cross!

    Sadly I think the cyclist was in the ‘right,’ but only because cyclists are ALWAYS in the right. Maarten’s dad hit one on Thursday. The cyclist came from the left and Maarten’s dad had right of way, but because it was a cyclist the car driver was in the wrong by default. Stupid shitty law that gives cyclists God complexes.

    Oh. And I don’t drive. I am a cyclist and I still want to beat some of them to death with their bycicles.

    I could also go on for years about idiot drivers, I’m almost hit at least once a week by a driver who doesn’t care to look and I’m totally anal about following the rules of the road as a cyclist. Does nothing for my blood pressure, let me tell you.

    Ahem. Sorry, got a bit ranty there :S

    • Breigh May 5, 2011 at 8:51 am - Reply

      I don’t blame you, being on the roads here in any way is a bit frightening!

  6. mmichele May 1, 2011 at 5:02 pm - Reply

    I hate those kinds of confrontations. Whether or not you are in the wrong, it is dumb to stop dead in front of a car.

    • Breigh May 5, 2011 at 8:52 am - Reply

      Yeah, I hate them too because I have some serious anger issues, especially if someone is being rude / mean to my husband. It really gets my back up!

  7. Marie-Claude May 1, 2011 at 5:31 pm - Reply

    Hmmmmm… The cyclists are not ‘always in the right’, despite what they think. They have to obey traffic rules, period. For sure though, the car drivers must always protect the weakest users of the roads, like cyclists and pedestrians.

    Looking at the diagram, IF the two pedestrians on the left were showing any signs of engaging to cross the road at the crossing, you guys HAD to stop. The drempel was probably placed there to actually slow down drivers who obviously never stopped…

    However, the cyclist had no business stopping for no apparent reason without giving any signal, causing you to slam the breaks (IF the pedestrians on the left weren’t going to cross, obviously, because if they were, you would have stopped already) – but even then, if you HAD hit the cyclist, YOU would have been responsible (see first paragraph above). And you are right, he’s not allowed to cross a pedestrian crossing ON his bike.

    But seriously, this whole thing was caused by scooter dummy, who had absolutely no business blocking the bike lane, endangering the life of other road users because they have to take the car lane instead. Tw*t.

    • Breigh May 5, 2011 at 8:53 am - Reply

      Naw they weren’t crossing they just came over to be nosy. He gave no sign at all and he stopped SO suddenly! I’m just glad we didn’t hit him, because it would have been so unfair to make Xander be responsible given the circumstances.

  8. Susan May 1, 2011 at 7:01 pm - Reply

    Almost exact DITTO of Marie-Claude above. Several people were not paying attention and playing by the rules. Namely the Scooter Idiot and the Bike Dolt, both not alert enough to their surroundings, terribly inconsiderate if they were and quick to blame others for their shortcomings. Not OK. And I disagree with the Bikes Are Always Right, also. They are right if they are following the R & R, which was not happening here. This is one of those situations where I would say in English, “You are very rude and bringing bad karma on yourself. Enjoy that.”

    • Breigh May 5, 2011 at 8:54 am - Reply

      I still think the lady in the scooter is to blame, if she wanted to chat she should have gotten off the bicycle lane and up onto the sidewalk, it wouldn’t have taken much energy on her part. She could have caused a potentially dangerous situation.

  9. calliope May 1, 2011 at 9:23 pm - Reply

    I’m with Marie-Claude and I believe her interpretation is what would happen in Belgium. Bikers here have a lot of protection and right of way when it comes to cars as well, but if you are a cyclist using a cross walk you are supposed to get off of your bike. And come on, not even pedestrians, who have the most rights of all, ever just stop dead in the middle of the cross walk for a chat. Plus yes, scooter lady blocking the bike lane was also at fault.

    Any time I’m out with my husband and there’s any sort of confrontation, the first thing we do is offer to call the police to straighten things out. You’d be amazed at how fast people shut up when you get out your cell phone and start dialing.

    • Breigh May 5, 2011 at 8:55 am - Reply

      Yeah we probably should have just offered to call the police, I would have been SO curious to hear what they had to say!

  10. Judith May 2, 2011 at 5:04 pm - Reply

    Well if the people on the left side really were at the zebra and wanted to cross it, yes than the cyclist is right. Otherwise he wasn’t right. I am a cyclist, but never do such things.

    • Breigh May 5, 2011 at 8:56 am - Reply

      Nope, not crossing just nosy. Either way the guy was still a total dick about it. Even if we had been in the wrong he didn’t have to get all aggro.

  11. Gaby May 5, 2011 at 11:29 am - Reply

    It looks like the guy did wrong. How is Xander ever supposed to know he’s going to stop, anyway? And if there’s a bike lane, then don’t go on the car lane. And that bitch blocking the road, WTF is up with her? Get off the damn way for the other people to use it.

    It sounds like Xander should have hit him, spare the world of one ass. :O

  12. Invader_Stu May 6, 2011 at 12:49 pm - Reply

    What an idiot. Even if it was true that you had to stop the way he suddenly stopped still puts him clearly in the wrong. The man’s logic is flawed.

    I think you should call this post ‘The day I failed to kill a cyclist. It sounds like he would have deserved it.

  13. jozien May 9, 2011 at 1:46 am - Reply

    okay, i will try to read this and give my opinion, being Dutch living in Canada

  14. jozien May 9, 2011 at 2:01 am - Reply

    :) All i see is a tat of road rage in all parties involved, so what i am going to say ; You know often i miss the crazyness of Dutch traffic (as a car diver, and bicyclist) And when you see me here on the lazy streets of Whitehorse making fast moves totally unneccesary. It’s because i miss the sliding in and out, traffic everywhere, high speed and slow pedestrians intermingling, where it almost always amazingly well flows without an accident. i love it

  15. Anita May 9, 2011 at 5:15 pm - Reply

    Let me tell you it took me 4 times (2+2, IV, quatre, 2×2, cuatro) to take my driver’s license. I was many times just paralyzed to see how “brutaal” the bikers could be. They just cross in front of your car pointing quickly to the other side, they cycle in pairs or three side by side… I was too cautious many times and classified as “insecure”. My village and also Zaandam are super busy with bikers and they think they are in the most safe place on Earth.

  16. pat May 10, 2011 at 10:40 am - Reply

    I guess there’s no use in telling who is right or wrong. All that matters is that no one got hurt and everybody is safe. Let us thank God that everything is okay.Take care always.

  17. Cat May 24, 2011 at 9:27 pm - Reply

    Long time reader first time poster just to say hi!! And dude I sympathize, after living in NL for so long, being a driver (and pedestrian) those bikers can be pretty cheeky! Hubby and I (He’s Dutch, I’m Canadian) accepted long long long ago that it’s always our fault as drivers, no matter what. The cyclist could pick up their bike and chuck it at the car and it would still be the drivers fault. Welcome to the land of nonsensical rules and regulations, there are a billion and one of them. Good thing the men are so damned cute ;) You are the first Canadutchian I’ve talked to!! Cheers mate, love your writings and photography and will be back often to visit. Take care!!

  18. Duncan June 6, 2011 at 5:05 pm - Reply

    FUCKITY FUCK ANGRY MODE! KILL RAMPAGE DESTROY!

    P.S. If you let Xander and I finish our robot project we could have sent one around to exterminate all of them…this is a by product of your own sanity.

  19. wijnand July 22, 2011 at 5:09 pm - Reply

    The joys of holland, basically you were wrong regardless of what the idiot was doing. Eventhough his cycle path was blocked that does not mean he has to stop this is a bijzondere rijomstandigheid as they so aptly put it in the dutch law meaning he can just go on the normal road. Although the person who stopped the car on the bicycle path will have some form of blame aswell (as this is under no circumstance allowed)

    But in holland we have the lovely WA rule that indicates that the bigger animal on the road is always wrong this to cover the insurance of the injured person.

    Pedestrian > Bicycle > Car

    Busses and trams generally do not count as you always have to give those right of way in most cases a very simple rule to ensure the goverment is not going to have to pay excessive damages.

    This however gives cyclist their current balsy attitude which is flatout annoying sometimes i wish i could get a hunting permit to start running over cyclist who piss me off

  20. Alisha July 23, 2011 at 2:01 am - Reply

    The illustration just made me piss myself with laughter. I love it.

    What a douche. Really… what kind of an idiot does that on a bicycle without at least looking over their shoulder. If you’re walking or on a bicycle, it’s your own dumb fault if you swerve your ass in front of a car. That’s what common sense tells me… who knows what the law would be. Sometimes laws are anti-common sense.

  21. Adam February 23, 2012 at 1:48 am - Reply

    I may be seeing this different but the other two “spectators” on the left may have been the ones crossing the crosswalk. Maybe the cyclist was stopping for them. Just another perspective.

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