A True Knight of the Road

November 20, 2012

I had an encounter with a wonderfully courteous lorry driver today.

No, really.

In fact, it was even a quarry lorry driver. They’re a bit of a bugbear around here, quarry lorries. Our road and Nearest Village form a massive shortcut between the local quarry and Big A Road. Technically, the quarry lorries aren’t supposed to go down our road because in many places it’s basically as wide as a quarry lorry (if the hedgecutters have been past recently) and it’s also made out of tarmac about as durable as cheese. Unfortunately, human nature being what it is, the lorries still take the shortcut and so this morning as I set off in the rain for a conference on marketing sustainable travel, musing that probably lesson one was going to be ‘don’t turn up all wet and bedraggled from coming on your bike’, I wasn’t surprised to hear a lorry coming up behind me. I was just whooshing down one hill preparatory to tackling the next, and it was a point where the road does actually widen out enough that a lorry could pass a bike. Unfortunately, it was also at a point where an enormous puddle had spread out halfway across the road. I knew what was going to happen next. Lorry sees cyclist. Lorry *must* overtake cyclist. Lorry overtakes cyclist just as cyclist has choice between cycling through the puddle and cycling under the lorry. I was gritting my teeth and preparing to plunge through the puddle when I noticed something odd. The lorry was not overtaking me. Not only that, but it wasn’t accelerating to overtake me. In fact, it was dropping back, giving me loads of room to pull out around the puddle, and pull back in in time for it to – safely and courteously – pass me before the road narrowed again. After I’d picked my jaw up off the floor, I gave him a grateful wave and got two cheery toots of the horn in reply.

So thank you, quarry lorry driver, for making my morning. Although really, you still shouldn’t be using that road …